What we learned, while off the grid
What a beautiful post. I never got beyond VFR training, so it's enjoyable to read about navigating the clouds. Plus seeing an aerial view of my old hometown, Cooperstown. We were farmers just out of town and my dad was the part-time police chief there. 50 years ago!
When it comes to aviation, Mr. Fallows, I would be considered an ignoramus instead of a “buff.”
Many years ago when I was writing a story about a local stunt pilot for the Oceanside, CA newspaper where I worked, the pilot took me up in his single-engine Cessna and handed me the controls once we were airborne.
I thoroughly enjoyed the sensation and he eventually instructed me to approach the airport for landing. I was still at the controls when we were perhaps a quarter-mile from the runway, and he said the following: “I'd better take over now — you're going to land it 5 feet under the runway!”
However I can certainly identify with some of your statements.
You said: “For aviation buffs: of the 10-plus total flying hours, about seven were in “actual” instrument conditions—ie, inside the clouds—because of overcast layers along the East Coast. Three of the five approaches-and-landings were also in “actual” conditions.
Being inside the clouds is stressful.”
Indeed, I am absolutely sure flying blind is stressful.
It is akin to sailing a 45-foot luxury yacht through a pea-soup fog — something I have done on many occasions.
In 1999, I achieved my certification as a skipper for Basic Coastal Cruising from the American Sailing Association.
Since then, I have skippered cruises with my friends in some of the most desirable parts of the world: the Great Barrier Reef, the French Riviera and the British Virgin Islands among them.
Boy, do I have hundreds of hours of yarns to share.
Your story about flying up and down the incredibly congested East Coast aviation corridor is a fascinating yarn, too.
Thanks for sharing it.
Love your descriptive writing!