Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We did it!

We finished the requirements for the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors program!

Last fall, after I got over the worst of the morning sickness, and before I got put on bedrest-- Husband and I flew like mad to try and finish visiting all 66 airports, the 4 requisite museums, and safety seminar and flyin. We almost made it. We had two airports to go-- plus Dulles, National, and the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico. We knocked off the museum on Thursday-- we loaded up the twins and took a field trip. Then, last Friday, my Dad, the awesome Grampy that he is, offered to babysit the twins so we could go flying (Husband had taken the week off).

It was great to be back in the air together. Though a little warm, it was a pretty good flying day for summer. Miracle of miracles, we even got a Bravo clearance on the way out. We don't usually get cleared into that airspace even when we fly IFR! Husband used the flirst stop at Essex to practice his short field landing as we'd need that later on for the landing at Hummel. The new airport at Essex is beautiful-- very nice and clean. Then we flew the short 25 miles over to Hummel. Good thing he'd practiced as this was a tricky landing given how lihttle we've both flown this year. 2200' runway-- right on the water. Thankfully, though the winds were squirrelly, they were light. We landed, fueled, and taxied across the grass to park next to the Pilot House Inn for lunch. Lunch was good-- much better tasting than it looked. Then we hurried on back toward home.

Flying back across Virginia, we had perfect ending for our quest: the controller offered us the East-side Transition past Dulles-- and for a second time that day, we were cleared into IAD's class Bravo airspace! The controller routed us right across the approach end of the active runways, and left us on a perfect 45 entry for Runway 17 into JYO. Very cool. On Sunday, we drove to DCA and IAD and collected the final two stamps. All that's left is to put them in the mail to Richmond!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back in the Air!

It's been a LOOOOONG winter. Not only because our area has seen record snowfall amounts in addition to our usual windy Spring weather... but also because I've been grounded. In December, I was put on "home rest" in response to some signs of preterm labor. I could still move around some at home-- but no more going out and doing normal things. In February, I was then put on strict bedrest. Thank goodness for the Winter Olympics or I would have lost my mind! In March... our new little future pilots were born! Julia and Jonathan made their arrival (somewhat unexpectedly) and immediately took over our hearts and lives! After almost 2 weeks in the NICU, we brought them home and began a new life as a family of four.

A month after the twins were born, I took my first flight as a new mom! Of course, things can't be simple with us-- we had N's brother's famnfily with us that weekend, and decided to take everyone with us to the airport (4 adults, 2 kids, and 2 infants). Since I hadn't flown in so long, we asked our CFI to come along and make sure I didn't do anything stupid! After getting everyone situated, CFI and ond circuit, I was feeling better and we went back to the ramp to pick up my sister-in-law for her first flight in a small plane. We went twice around with her-- and I think she really enjoyed it! Then we went back and picked up niece (7) and nephew (4) for their first flights in our plane. After 2 successful circuits, we went back and traded out for my brother-in-law, who is also interested in learning to fly. With him, we flew out to the practice area, did a few steep turns, and flew along one of my favorite flight seeing routes-- out along the ridgeline, over Harper's Ferry, and then worked our way back in for landing on Runway 17. We had a welcome party waiting along the runway on the ramp.

What a fun day! Maybe next time, we'll take the twins up!

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Been a While!!!

But I have a good reason!

I'll post soon about the awesome trip Husband and I had to Europe-- we got to do some really fun aviation things. In the meantime-- thought I'd let you in on why I haven't been posting lately. I haven't been flying too much-- mainly because Husband and I are going to welcome not one, but TWO new little pilots into our family this Spring!

Yup... we're having twins!

I'm not sure which discussion started first-- whether we'd need a bigger car or a bigger airplane! We are hoping to be able to fit two carseats in the back of our 172... supposedly, it can be done! Unfortunately, we won't have much room or weight left over for Flyer, so I imagine he'll be left home a little more... But Husband is already scouring the web in search of the "perfect" next plane (I think he's eyeing the C-206 and a Piper Matrix, but I've tried to stay out of it!).

But we'll have time to figure all of that out in the next few months. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get in a few more flights before I'm too big to fit behind the yoke and also reach the rudder pedals. Leaning down to pull the lever to adjust the seat has already become a problem! Usually- that would be bad... but in this case, it's a wonderful problem to have!

Of course-- I'll welcome any suggestions you flying parents out there have for how to fly ourselves and our new little ones around safely and comfortably!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

O Is for Oshkosh!

I'll try to get more detailed accounts of the best parts... but Husband and I put together a list of our favorite (and not so favorite) things about Oshkosh! Husband is in blue, my comments are in red.

  • Canine oxygen mask
  • Fan-powered bicycles

Oddest looking plane:

  • In-line twin sea plane by Dornier
  • Stits Sky Baby (world’s smallest plane)

Best innovation:

  • electric light sport airplane (UNEEQ)
  • KindleDX Plates

Favorite memory:

  • P-51 ride
  • Flying formation into Oshkosh

Favorite airshow act:

  • Aeroshell Team
  • Matt Younkin in his twin Beech

Liked least:

  • old naked men in shower (thankfully, only Husband had this problem!)
  • More than an hour of Ford and EAA ads before fly-in movie

Favorite presenter:

  • Captain Sully and Jeff Skyles (a.k.a. "& Crew")
  • Lane Wallace of Flying Magazine

Favorite airplane:

  • Pitts S2C
  • Cessna 195

Best part of Oshkosh:

  • Ice Cream at VIP Tent (yes, we had VIP credentials!)
  • People-watching and the people you meet

Favorite places:

  • Performer’s tent during airshow (this was cool!)
  • Seaplane base (best kept secret)

Best investment:

  • Tent that doesn’t leak
  • Rented bicycles (and learning the shortcuts across the grounds!)

Favorite new gadget:

I promise more details to follow. For now... here's some very BAD poetry.

"O is for Oshkosh"

Oh Oshkosh, your runways are so beautiful- a stage on which the country’s pilots play.
How exciting to crawl each morning from my tent and behold the rows of airplanes glistening in the sun.
How thrilling to see the latest in aviation innovation loop and swirl and dive above our heads each day.
How stirring the roaring, soaring warbirds that remind of sacrifices made by so many.
I thrive in the community of fellow aviators, joined together one week each year—and count the days until I come again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Weather Dance

It's that time before a trip... the time where my stomach starts to do little flip flops and I am easily distracted from everyday tasks. I start watching the clock till when the next weather update comes out on, and trying to compute enroute times, mapping possible routes in my head against the weather map.

I always think I'm not going to do this dance this time... but somehow always seem to do it anyway. One reason-- the weather's always moving, always changing. So- even if it's nice in one area, if you're flying anywhere distant, you're likely to hit weather issues somewhere else. This time-- it looks like there's currently a low front across my route of flight... and at some point between now and when I reach that front, it may turn into a cold front. And that multiplies the worry, because I have a general idea of how cold fronts behave... and a general idea about warm fronts. But how does a warm front changing into a cold front behave? These are things that will keep me awake tonight when I should be sleeping.

The good news is: we are about 85% packed up. I just need to do the final little bits tonight-- in addition to my real flight planning. Our new plan is that I am going to fly most of the way myself, and meet up with Husband tomorrow evening after he flies out on a commercial flight. Then we'll go together to the formation flight training required to participate in the Cessnas 2 Oshkosh.

For those that didn't click the link to see what Cessnas 2 Oshkosh is... we will be flying into AirVenture in formation with 60 other Cessnas! I've never done any formation flying (and neither has Husband), so we'll spend Friday learning how to do it safely for the arrival. Pretty exciting! Last year, it took the group 11 minutes to get all 60 planes down once the first one had landed. That's crazy fast! I have to admit, I'm a little nervous-- so we've agreed that if we don't feel confident about our-- or the group's-- ability to do the arrival safely, we'll just drop out and go on our own. But I'm hoping it works out-- can you just imagine?!

And the countdown begins...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oshkosh Dreaming... Again!

It's that time of year again. Time to dream about Oshkosh! Husband and I are again making the trek west in our airplane. I think I understand more the annual journeys that some pilgrims go on... I really do feel the call of AirVenture!

Of course, we're going through our usual cycles of trying to decide what our plan is for getting there. Originally- we were going to depart home on Saturday-- spending the night along the way so that we could arrive at Osh on Sunday morning. Then, we thought about flying straight there on Saturday. Our latest thinking is that we may try to do the Cessnas 2 Oshkosh arrival on Saturday. To do that, we need to get away from work earlier than planned... so I'm not sure if it will happen or not.

We're also debating the best method for getting us, our stuff, and a mode of transportation to Oshkosh. We haven't decided whether it's better to ship our camping gear and take our bikes, or to rent bikes and take our camping gear with us in the plane. Dilemmas!

In any case-- for those also planning their own trips, here's my detailed list of camping gear we're taking. Hopefully, I've gotten it all down. We have a lot for cooking as we tend to enjoy camp cooking. If you see something missing, drop me a line in the comment area!

Bungee cords (for strapping stuff into the plane and for strapping things to a bike)
Solar charger with tips for phones, etc.
Tent (lightweight one)
Self-inflating sleeping mats
Sleeping bags
Queen-size sheet*
Electric lantern with remote control
Camping chairs (folding)
Roll-up table
Single burner stove
Lightweight grill
Mat for under grill?
Ceiling fan/light
3 plastic boxes- food, cookware, purchases
2 backpacks
Sunscreen, bug-spray, chap-stick
Pack light on t-shirts (will buy lots!)
Tie Downs & chocks
Forks, spoons, knives
3 sizes of cutting knives
cutting mat
mess kit
extra pot
bowls (4)
measuring cups
spatula (rubber and metal)
wooden spoon
sponge, steel wool
extra rope
can opener, bottle opener
playing cards
sugar, salt, pepper
Notebook with full procedures (impt info highlighted and tabbed) and schedule, etc.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day at the Beach

Husband and I decided after the recent trip to the Outer Banks that another trip to the beach was in order. We'd heard good things about Tangier Island- and at about 1 hour flying time it was perfect for a day trip. The island is tiny- maybe a mile long and 1/2 mile wide. It sits in the middle of the Chesapeake. You can get by boat or by plane only. Most residents (about 700 total) there use bikes or golf carts for transportation. We chose to eat at a family style place that had okay food. After lunch, we rented bikes and explored before chilling on the beach for an hour. The only downside were the mosquitoes! The whole island was soggy and marshlike so they were everywhere. Husband had some many biting his legs that his legs were blood streaked. I got off easier- which is unusual. Usually I'm the magnet. We think it's because Husband buried his legs in sand while we sat in the beach. After escaping the bugs, we flew on across to Accomack, VA. Two stamps in one day!

On the flight home (my first as PIC from the right seat!) Husband took a nap. He woke up as ATC gave us vectors and told to expect new routing. Expecting a diversion or delay, we were thrilled to learn that the change in plans was to send us to the EAST of Dulles! Pull out a Washington sectional. You can see how rare that is just from looking at all the airspace we deal with here. We were routed right over Reston and could clearly see Vienna, Tysons Corner, Wolf Trap, and our neighborhood. I think I actually squealed with delight before forcing voice to a calm and professional level to tell ATC that yes we did see the Southwest jet passing 1500 feet above us. Good times. We ended following that jet and then turning to go right across the final approach for Dulles so we were on a perfect 45 for JYO. I don't know who was working that Sunday afternoon, but I sure wish that controller could know how much he made our day!