Night flying, just for kicks

Today I flew the more modern Diamond Eclipse. It has a sleek composite body, glass canopy, GPS, a pair of leather seats, and is controlled by a stick instead of a yoke. It felt better than the Cessna did, but I do miss some of the simplicity. I do not miss the duct tape.

Diamond Eclipse

The sky was overcast, and barely legal conditions for visual flight rules, but we went up anyway. By the time I had finished the pre-flight checks, radioed for clearance, taxied, and gotten airborn, the sun was just about gone. Darkness and clouds made the start of the flight a little unsettling.

Once the sun had completely disappeared and night had fallen, the view was surreal. Don’t know how else to describe it. I started by doing some simple turns, climbs, and descents. Once I had a feel for the Eclipse, I learned about low-speed flight and the effect it has on the controls. Next, it was time to practice stalling the plane and recovering. To get the plane to stall, you basically cut the engine down to idle speed and wait for it to stop flying and start falling out of the sky… and then you give it full throttle and attempt to regain control of the airplane. I was definitely nervous as the instructor talked about the maneuver, pretty freaked out when he actually did it, and horrified when it was my turn. After a couple of stalls (and, thankfully, recoveries), I flew over to Elgin and then followed I-90 at about 2,500′ to get back to Schaumburg. Wojciech handled the landing.

Afterwards, I met up with Tito, Cella, and Byung for dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack in Schaumburg. Tito showed up wearing a cup, which he did not hesitate to employ as a percussion instrument. On the way out, Cella gave it a good thump.

Cella kicks Tito

More flying tomorrow. Tomorrow also happens to be the last day at High Voltage for my “mentor.” That blows, but at least he’s off to greener (and probably warmer) pastures. Good luck, Mike, and congratulations on your freedom. Ironically, we may run into each other more now that we’re not both owned, High Voltage style.

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