Sunday, September 23, 2007

Highs and lows.

It was one of those rare early fall days that are so perfect, they seem unreal. The sky was bright blue and visibility unlimited. The leaves that just started to change colors hardly moved in a light breeze. The air was light and crisp and the temperature just right, not too hot, not too cold.

I drove to the airport anticipating my flight. With storms, low ceilings, high winds and everything in between, it had been a while and I was due for a nice flight. I was going through all figures in my mind imagining flying through that crisp blue air and looking at the sea of colors underneath.

The plane is tied in a grass, so I normally check gas and oil (she needed both) and then taxi to the pumps and do my walk around there. Trying to screw the fuel cap on the right wing, I realized that it felt differently – it seemed to have sunk into the wing and the fabric edge was sitting higher than usual, mixing up with the thread. At that point, I knew that something was not quite right, so I decided to do the walk around right there.

The rest of walk around went fine until I got to the tail assembly and discovered a long gash in a fabric on the vertical fin with the part of the structural frame sticking out. Staring at the tear that was close to 10 inches long I knew that I was not flying that day and probably that week and possibly that month and I still could not believe it. It was a perfect day and everyone was flying. Everyone, except me. I was talking to my instructor and snagging the plane. I hope what ever it was is easily fixable and my little Citabria comes back soon.

And going from low to high, couple of days ago, I did a night flight in a Piper Warrior piloted by a friend of mine whom I met in the ground school for my PPL. My first ever time in the low wing plane (well, aside from commercial airliners) and my buddy’s first non-family passenger. We started and received our PPL tickets within weeks of each other, but I dropped the night training in April while he persisted and finished.

Even though my buddy did all communications, I surprised myself by remembering all the frequencies at Buttonville and most of the communication procedures. My friend did the take off and landings (and did a great job at both) and I got to fly the airplane straight and level. It felt very heavy and stable, quite a difference from the Citabria.

The skies were clear and we could see the stars and Toronto Pearson planes in a distance. We decided to fly north instead of downtown tour and ended up flying circles over Newmarket where I spend my weekends and my buddy lives full time. Time flew by. I enjoyed that flight so much that I decided to re-start my night licence training next week. And now, with Citabria off-line, I it might be the only flying I’d do for the next couple weeks.