Pretty much most of my day Friday was spent in an airplane, and of course, where better to spend your time than in a cockpit? I had a lesson this morning, we practiced take offs and landings. I was actually getting pretty comfortable with it, I wasn’t really nervous, it just seemed normal after the first couple. Yesterday was really windy, and flying was very difficult, all the maneuvers we practiced were made far more difficult with such a powerful wind. Maybe that’s why I found it easier to fly today. After we landed, I went over to Charlie’s hangar to pay for the lesson, we talked a little about where I was at and what I am going to learn next. Normally, I would start soloing after 2 more lessons, but I can't solo without my medical certificate. I am supposed to get the rest of the requirements for the FAA when I am in TN at the end of February, so I will continue on with my instructor in the plane until then.
Sunday is Steve’s birthday, but his family surprised him today. I don’t know all the details, but this is the story as best as I can with the facts I know His brother, Phil, flew down last night and him and Jamie and Jesse surprised him at breakfast this morning. Then Jesse said that he had to go to the airport to meet someone, so they drove down to the airport and suddenly Steve saw someone he knew pull into the airport too. It is the guy that itec sold their Piper Cub to. A Piper Cub is pretty much a smaller version to Nate Saint’s plane. (I will post pictures of it in my album) He was going crazy trying to get Jesse to honk his horn or something to get his attention, he kept saying, “I bet he would let me fly it”. Well, what he didn’t know was that the whole reason they were there was to fly it. Phil and Steve flew down to ITEC. When he pulled up he looked like a little kid with his new Christmas present. He was going to take us all for rides, but he had to go after only giving Troy a ride.
Troy too looked like a little kid after getting out of the plane, he told me some stories about how Steve just likes to “play” when he gets in these smaller planes, such as seeing how short of a distance he can land, or take off. He was going on about how instead of using the runway so that they could take off into the wind, they just went on enough of a diagonal down the other runway to still take of somewhat into the wind. That may not seem like much, but really the diagonal was steep enough that they hardly used the runway, it was more of taking off perpendicular to the way the runway runs.
The days surprises weren’t over yet though, I went inside the offices, for just a moment when Troy asked me if I wanted to go flying. I have wondered why this question is ever asked of pilots, if we had it our way, we would never get out of the cockpit. Needless to say, I said yes, then he told me that we were going to Gainesville, GA and would be back tonight sometime. It was totally awesome. We flew up with my instructor who was taking his wife to spend the week with his daughter’s family. There was a medical emergency and she was going to help out. We flew up in the TBM 700 in his boss’s hangar. (I'll post pictures in the album.)
We left around 3 and got back around 7, we even stayed up at the airport there for a while. The TBM is an extremely nice aircraft and really fast; we spent most of the trip at about 26,000ft and traveling over 200 miles per hour with a headwind. Troy and I were in awe the whole time. We were flying with the big dogs!! We kept bursting out laughing when, after being told by radio that there was another plane near us, a commercial airliner would fly within 1,000 feet of us.
We are home now, but it was a really awesome experience. Tomorrow, Ryan and I want to go for a long flight in the 150, we are trying to pick an airport that is roughly two hundred miles away and fly there, have lunch and fly back. He is trying to build hours, I can't put the hours in my log book unless there is an instructor in the plane, and I am in the left seat, so I am just getting more experience and more familiar with flying, and of course because flying is awesome!!
Thanks so much for all the prayer support you have given me, I have really felt it this week, I have accomplished a lot, and the time I have spent in my bible have been really profitable. One thing that I am really praying for is that the article that came out about me in the Jackson Sun brings in more financial support. Thanks so much also for those of you how do support me financially, I am extremely grateful for you, for without you, this would not have been possible. Thank you, and God bless,
Your brother in Christ,