“Take off whenever you’re ready”

So, Saturday I drove over to Schaumburg Regional Airport and walked in with this stupid grin on my face… I couldn’t contain it. Then I found out that they had messed up and scheduled me for Sunday instead of Saturday. The grin only momentarily disappeared. I confirmed the Sunday slot and then headed to work for the rest of the day.

This morning (Sunday) I raced over to the airport after church. The stupid grin was back. Met my instructor, Wojciech (pronouced “Voitek”). He’s probably only a year or 2 older than I. We then walked out to the field and to the airplane.

The Cessna 172 in which I made my first flight

It was one of the older planes in the fleet… a bit of a clunker. I even spotted some duct tape on the rudder. I scheduled the plane with short notice, but I requested this model in order to get a feel for different aircraft as I train.

After the pre-flight walkaround and instrument checks, I was instructed to taxi the plane to the runway. So I did. Very strange, controlling something with only your feet. We got to the runway… and I was told to take off whenever I was ready. So… I gave it full throttle, accelerated down the runway, used the rudder to maintain the center line, and was pretty much speechless when the tires left the ground. We climbed for a while, I tried basic turns and learned about visual cues and landmarks I could use to orient myself. It was pretty cool seeing the Zion nuclear power station off to the north and the Chicago skyline way out to the east. After that, I did some more complex turns combined with ascents and descents. Next, we looped around Elgin and I snapped a photo of the riverboat casino.

Elgin and the Grand Victoria riverboat casino

After that, I was guided to a few more local landmarks, such as the square forest (a forest that marks the beginning of DuPage Airport’s busy airspace) and the salt and pepper shakers (a pair of large cylindrical water towers). Then it was time to land, and thankfully Wojciech took the controls for that part. We tied the plane down to its parking spot, I paid, and I headed over to work again. Flying is incredible… and a little scary.

On a different note, I took a few photos of my fish tank:

zebra dwarf hermit crab

frogspawn coral

cleaner shrimp and a pair of firefish gobies.

The macro mode on the camera is very impressive. Check out the detail on this lighter; remember that this image has been scaled down considerably.

macro shot of a lighter

2 Responses to ““Take off whenever you’re ready””

  1. eunice Says:

    wow. you’re taking flight lessons?
    and are these pic taken with your new digi cam? AWESOME quality! i want it now.

  2. semmy Says:

    yep, flying. yep, new camera. thanks. testing reply feature…