John & Anne Wiley

2012/07/24

Big Fun Review

Filed under: Aviation,Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,People,SB Region — John @ 04:25

Every two years, pilots who have developed beyond a specific level of maturity get to do a BFR. I call it the Big Fun Review, because it’s at least two hours of solid fun with a highly skilled instructor pilot. Terry Harris, whom I have chosen the past few times, is a good example. I always learn something, and it’s Pilot Fun (a specific form of enjoyment all pilots understand). Today was a good day for it.

1543 Good BFR Weather

1543 Good BFR Weather

You’re looking at light winds, unlimited visibility, and a few clouds to play in. See, I saved a lot of “flybux” by not getting the “IFR” kind of license that lets me fly in clouds. But with Terry in Anne’s seat (Anne rode in back), clouds are on the menu. Now, even tho another part of the decision against the IFR type was that we don’t want to fly in clouds (we fly to see stuff), it’s Pilot Fun (and good safety training) to do so occasionally. So every two years I’m very happy to see some clouds for my BFR. Sadly, I only got a couple of minutes in clouds today because they’re so low, so I also used “foggles” to somewhat simulate the experience when we weren’t in the clouds.

We started off with a maneuver I’ve wanted to try. Imagine you’re taking off, and the engine suddenly quits without warning (in case you’re wondering, it’s an extremely rare occurrence). What a pilot does next has a lot to do with factors like how high (s)he is and what the terrain looks like below. But often one option is to stabilize the airspeed for best glide performance and immediately begin a tight turn. It can open up different terrain options, but even better in a quick-climbing plane like Tripp it may allow a safe return to the airport. Normally I’d have gone to Lompoc for practice, but Terry knows the ATC people well enough that she suggested we ask them to do it right at takeoff from SBA. Having read a lot about it, I was surprised to need nearly 1000 feet of altitude to do it on my first try. Maybe we’ll go to Lompoc sometime and practice until I only need half that. In case all this is too technical, short translation: Pilot Fun. 🙂

Anne knows enough about flying now, that much of the Pilot Fun made sense to her too. But while I was kept very busy flying and honing my skills with Terry’s guidance, Anne was enjoying the view.

1541 Bird's Eye

1541 Bird’s Eye

I like how this pic gives the harbor an eye shape. The main campus of SBCC, the college where Anne worked, is at the right edge. Stearn’s Wharf where we’ve had so much fun and ridden the ‘Lil Toot water taxi to the harbor is also accented by the fog.

So I got to fly with two women I enjoy, and who enjoy each other, while also adding to my skills and taking occasional gulps of the view. It all adds up to a very fun flight with the gals that included this seagull’s view of Our Town. And as you may have heard, “Gulls just wanna have fun.” :}

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