For the last twenty-nine years I’ve regularly flown airplanes since I was eighteen. The overall goal was to get paid to do it so all the training to obtain certificates and endorsements and ratings was for that purpose. Within that flight time there were moments for just going flying and enjoying it; however, that time also went toward the overall goal:
Haulin’ ass, Gettin’ paid.
I’ve tried to finish up the tail wheel (conventional gear) sign off but each time either schedule or money got in the way. I had to actually pay taxes! Couldn’t afford to rent a plane. But now, eh, I can do it.
So I go and study a manual, learn the speeds and weights again and get checked out in the local rental plane. A safest plane ever made and a stable plane for training. A boring as hell Cessna 172. But it does have a bigger than normal motor which is great for the 5,000 foot airport altitude.
I realized I haven’t been totally alone in a plane since....my cargo days? Yes. Since then I have had someone with me as captain or first-officer or instructor for the last 12,000 hours. But yesterday, nope! Just me! And it felt really weird.
Then I took off just for takeoffs and landings. I still gotta get decent at that again! It’s tiny, and floats, and doesn’t have mammoth Boeing shock absorbing struts. It will bounce. Regardless, I arrive a thousand feet up, parallel to the runway and feel all normal again - relaxed even. Normality restored.
It was like being home by yourself. If I desired I could hum or talk to myself, whistle, sing, even belch out loud without apology! I mean, should I ever wish to do those things.
I flew an hour on my own without a desire to build time or fulfill a cross country requirement or practice a maneuver. Just me and a quiet airport and five takeoffs and landings. Only one was any good in my own book of high standards.
I was done abusing the nose wheel of this old paint chipped girl. She was solid, but not fast nor exciting. I parked and tied the ropes which I also haven’t done since 2000! But I remembered how without thought.
It was interesting. I taught for two years and I think worked fifteen students through their private license. In dash GPS units were only just a thing then and glass replacements for instruments were only for corporate planes. But now in a Cessna? Man. For some things I would prefer a sweeping hand to show RPM or oil temps.
After flying this 172, I have no idea at all how in the heck I fit or even taught in a Cessna 150.