Sunday, September 2, 2007

Very Cool

I flew a plane today!

One of my husband's friends from the fire department owns two planes, a single engine and a twin engine, and was planning to take another guy from the department flying today, so he invited Adam along. Adam was committed to handling breakfast at the inn today (our Sunday ritual), so he offered me the spot. Despite having to get up a little earlier than I might have, this kind of opportunity doesn't come along often so I grabbed it.
I met Peter at his home at about 8:45 this morning. Moe and his two kids - six and around five years old - were already there. We drove to the little airport in Chatham where we boarded Peter's twin-engine Piper Seneca, similar to the one in the photo above, and took off. Peter gave us all headsets with microphones so we could talk to each other and we could also hear the information from small airports from Provincetown to Newport, RI.
Moe sat in the back with the kids and I got the co-pilot's seat. We flew past Monmoy Island hoping to see seals but there weren't many. Judging from the number of fishing boats out, there must have been lots of fish around today so we assumed they were all off feeding. Then we headed up the bay side of the Cape, getting a peek at the target ship off of Eastham, circling Moe's house, then the inn, then up to Provincetown. After we rounded the tip of the Cape at Provincetown, Peter asked me if I'd like to take the controls. Hell, yeah! I flew from Provincetown all the way back down to Chatham, made a second pass around Monmoy (still no seals) and aimed us towards the airport. The plane has a light touch at the controls, which sort of surprised me. It was remarkably easy to gain or loose a hundred or more feet in altitude, particularly while making turns, so holding steady took a little practice. Don't worry, I let Peter do the airport approach and landing!
Peter has been flying for 27 years and has been a flight instructor for 14, so I felt quite safe in taking the controls. He talked through the takeoff procedure, showing me all the various switches, levers, gauges, etc. That stuff fascinates me, someday I'd love to learn to fly.
The weather today was perfect: clear, sunny and low humidity. We could see all the way to Boston. The tide was low and that allowed us to see the old target ship off Eastham and what's left of Billingsgate Island here in Wellfleet, as well as all the flats where local shellfish are farmed. It was a terrific morning. I was back at the inn by 11:30 feeling pretty good.

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