Saturday, April 12, 2008

Goodbye Sydney and Hello again

Flight hours: 2

I have been in full swing and quite busy with the packing and related tasks for my USA relocation. Part of the preparation included mandatory festivities in catching up with friends over the last few weeks and of course getting in some last minute flying.

This particular jaunt was to be my "Goodbye Sydney" flight, a simple excursion with Wade and Andrew. As you may know, Wade has found his way into the right seat during a number of adventures however for young Andrew (21), this was to be his first foray into general aviation.

On the morning of the flight came the explicit non-standard NOTAM from Andrew "I always get sick when flying, but when I take my nausea tablets I am bullet proof and never get sick when flying". A quick glance between Wade and I ended up as a smirk.... I feel like zero G for breakfast.

The new lightspeed ignition worked quite well and kicked her over in a couple of seconds which soon saw us taxiing and flying out towards the northern shores of Sydney. The weather was near perfect with still air and cool morning conditions that allowed the 180HP Cessna to cruise around 128 KIAS with a GPS ground speed of 130 knots.

After flying at 500 feet along the northern coast of New South Wales, we headed back towards Long Reef whilst obtaining Sydney airspace clearance for orbits around the Harbour Bridge. The clearance is for 1500 feet, so we commenced the climb.

"Did you hear that?" I asked when passing 2200 feet. Andrew looking on inquisitively from the back whilst Wade instinctively adjusted himself in the co-pilot seat.

I had now climbed to around 2300 feet with the full intention of losing the extra altitude in a zero G environment. A few seconds after my comment, we were weightless. Andrew was speechless.

After levelling out at 1500 feet and heading towards the harbour with an airways clearance, I looked back to see Andrew in a fairly happy state which stayed that way as I prepared for orbits. I powered up for 2G steep turns and to provide a better views. Andrew was quiet.

After the orbits, we headed back to Bankstown only to be greeted with a comment from the back seat "I'm going to spew, where are those bags you mentioned". I told Andrew where he can find the bags and he proceeded to vomit... I didn't watch.

After he was done, I looked back to see Andrew's mouth tightly pursed around the small opening of the airsick back holder, letting go of food that had the familiar consistency of digested french fries. What Andrew had failed to do was take the airsick bag out of its instructional packaging.

He recovered with a bit of fresh air and we landed shortly later without incident. The plane was still fresh and required no special cleaning however I did open my logbook to increment my airsick passenger count by 1, which now sits at the grand total of 2.

Should my count include passengers who are always airsick? I think I'll adjust my total back to 1 next time I go flying.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Relocating to good ol' USA

Flight hours: 0

Over the last few months, I've been having discussions with the V.P and the Director of Global Infrastructure (my boss), on the decision to continue my career from within the U.S, being based in Philadelphia.

I've made the choice and will be leaving Australia on ANZAC day, the 25th April. The role will be the same and I will still manage my team of infrastructure architects who are placed around the globe.

What does this mean for my flying? Plans have been made so that over the next few years during which I will return to Oz for periods of time, I will do the planned flights into the middle of the country and various other areas.

It also means that I can blog the adventure of getting my endorsements to fly within the U.S, with the plan to find a syndicate and buy a share of an aircraft.

The adventures of an Aussie pilot, taking a long yet interesting flight.