Friday, March 30, 2007

First Flight With Passenger!

On Sunday Eric G. and I flew to Charlottesville, Virginia, with a detour for a sight-seeing flight over Harper's Ferry. We were going to leave early, but the runway was coated with a thick blanket of fog. (That wouldn't have prevented us from taking off, but could have prevented us from landing if we decided we needed to turn back to the airport for any reason.) So we got coffee and breakfast sandwiches from a nearby McDonalds and waited a bit until the weather cleared -- it was a truly beautiful spring day, as you can see from the blue sky in the picture above, which was taken shortly before we took off.

Here's our takeoff:

It was great fun to have a passenger to chat with, and Eric took a bunch of pictures and short videos that I could never have taken while flying alone. Eric's generous description of my flying abilities was in the last post, leaving me relatively speechless (or the writing equivalent). Since I'm speechless (or whatever) and have all of Eric's photos and videos, this blog entry will be a media bonanza.....

This is the route we flew. The arc over the top is the detour we took to see Harper's Ferry on our way down. Eric snagged several nice aerial photos.
After flying over Harper's Ferry, we turned south and flew down the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Skyline Drive snaked down the ridge below us and to our right. The golden fields in the valley to the right is Shenandoah Valley.

In this next photo, we're a bit further to the East, Shenandoah Valley is on the other side of that ridge.
While my eyes kept being drawn to the mountains off our right wing (and our left on the way back North), the landscape below us was gorgeous as well, with streams and rivers, beautiful farms and estates, and rolling hills.

After a little more than an hour, we approached the Charlottesville airport. Eric caught it in this next video. In the first part of the video, Eric's filming our shadow crossing the ground -- it's a little hard to see, but it's right in the center of the video:

It was also fun for me to see through Eric's eyes what it was like to watch me fly the airplane. I remember all of the gauges, switches, etc., being overwhelming when I first started, but now it's nearly as comfortable as driving a car.

We landed at Charlottesville, and for the first time ever one of my landings was caught on video. The buzzing sound you hear right at the end is the sound of the stall warning horn. If my airspeed is good, the horn should come on just as we're touching down:

We tried to go exploring. Unfortunately, the nearest place to get a good meal or cup of coffee was about a mile across the airport. Due to our later start, we didn't have much time. I needed to get the airplane back for the next guy that had it reserved, so we took off and headed North, back the way we came. We navigated and landed back in Gaithersburg without incident, a fun flight for both me and my first passenger.



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