John & Anne Wiley

2012/03/20

Phases

As I’ve said before, there seem to be several phases in any flight. They seem to apply to life in general, but are especially clear related to flying the way we do (relatively low and slow). Again, the main phases of a flight are the one you: Daydream, Plan, Take, Remember, and Dream. So our Daydream for today’s flight was to briefly zip up and look past the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara, and enjoy the fresh snow on the higher Sierra Madre range beyond Santa Ynez Valley. The general Plan was go fairly early, before a predicted wind shift might make it somewhat bumpy. As you’ve guessed by now, the Take was different. Not just in that we left more than an hour after planned, but this rare encounter soon after takeoff.

0704 Ercoupe Encounter

0704 Ercoupe Encounter

Now if you’re unfamiliar with or uncomfortable about flying in small planes this photo probably freaks you out. Take a deep breath and keep reading. This was cropped from a zoom shot, the cute little Ercoupe was a safe distance from us, and we were both talking to ATC for extra safety. In fact, in addition to Ercoupes being rather rare the really unusual thing about this is that we passed closely enough to get pix like this. Half this distance would have been safe, but most of the time if we manage to spot other “nearby” planes at all they’re several miles away. So already we were having major distinctions between our flight’s Daydream, Plan and Take. Next came another unusual encounter.

0727 Lower & Slower

0727 Lower & Slower

It’s also fairly unusual for us to spot a helicopter. This guy can fly much lower and slower than we. Not only can such machines hover motionless or move vertically through the air, the FAA allows them to fly half as high above populated areas. Can you tell I’m just a little jealous? 🙂

0772 Distant Thrill

0772 Distant Thrill

The flight we Remember features this scene, but it looked quite different from this hazy pic. It was crisp, immediate and refreshing. Jameson Lake was brighter green, and the snowy peaks looked much closer. Plus, as always the camera only saw a narrow slice of the 3D surround experience we were enjoying. Soon we’ll sleep, and quite likely Dream the flight. Interestingly, those Dreams of flight never seem to have any sound. Just silent bliss as we dance intimately with the terrain, as if we were the whisper of wind in the trees.

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