Saturday, March 31, 2007

I Don't Get It

Sometimes I forget that there are people reading this that do not actually know me. So for those of you who are wondering about the name of my blog and what it has to do about me Ill tell you. After I graduated from high school (2000) I did not want to go to college so I went to flight school. I wanted to fly since 1985 give or take a year so I never really thought about college. (except for 11th grade when I was desperately trying to get into Annapolis. Even still the main reason I wanted to go there was that you could be a fighter pilot after you graduate.
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I would watch Top Gun about 6 times a month so it was the only thing i wanted to do). I had the great fortune of going to a flight school called "The Flight School at Palm Springs" so people would ask me what flight school I was going to and I would tell them The Flight School at Palm Springs. Then they would say OK I know the flight school is in Palm Springs but what is the name? It was very frustrating.
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So I did an accelerated program. Basically I went to the airport seven days a week had two flights a day and studied in between. It took me about three days to solo and 30 days to get my Private Pilot License. Looking back I now realized that I knew absolutely nothing about flying. I have about 50 hair raising, near death, kiss the ground upon landing, stories to tell about my years of flying but for now I'll tell you one that happened around day 15.
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Palm Springs is located at the mouth of a pass, the elevation from one end of the pass to the other drops roughly 2500 ft. Along with a drop in altitude there is also a big pressure differential. Basically this means that wind rushes down the pass at around 50-60 miles per hour on a daily basis. So for the Pilot and or passengers this means a bumpy ride while near the airport. Of course I has been warned several times about how rough it can get it a small 4 seater Cessna 172, unfortunately for me I had not experience strong turbulence at all. Don't get me wrong I had thought that I have felt the worst that Palm Springs had to offer. As I found out I was wrong. I had been soloing for about 11-12 days at this point so I was starting to feel comfortable by my self in the airplane. I checked the weather and there was an advisory for strong winds gusting to 40MPH and strong turbulence. For a smart experienced pilot this would mean that is was a no go for takeoff. But for the dumb rookie it meant that I was going to show the other students how to fly. So I taxied up to the hold short line and requested permission to take off and advised the tower that I was a student Pilot ( this is a courtesy to the tower so they know to keep other planes well clear of you). The controller answered with a warning about the weather. I acknowledge the I had checked the weather and I am still ready for take off. The controller clears me for takeoff but I could here the reluctance in his voice. I taxied on to the run way, throttled up and took off. Instantly I knew that I was in trouble. The plane dropped about fifty feet in a second, causing my head to hit the ceiling, the plane was yawing left and right. It was all I could do to keep the nose up let alone straight. The higher I got the worse the turbulence became. White knuckled, hands sweating I clicked on the mike and requested a closed traffic pattern for an immediate landing. My voice was cracking from nerves and I could barey talk do to the turbulence. Then the last thing I expected happened. Over the comm I heard laughing, and not only one voice but several. The Controllers were laughing at me. This although surprising actually help calm me down. The controller cleared me for an immediate landing and then ask how it was. I told him it was a bit to rough for me. Then he laughed again and sarcastically said "Really, sorry I should have warned you" I gave him the satisfaction of telling him he was right and next time I would take his warning seriously. When I got back to the flight school all the student were laughing as soon as I walked in. The tower had called the flight school and told them what happened. It took about a week before I could walk into a room with a joke on my behalf being made. Anyway I Finished up about two weeks later and became an official pilot. Then I finished my instrument certification, commercial pilot and Flight Instructor certification through out the rest of the year.

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