Scoutmaster Musings - Aviation

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Scoutmaster Musings

cessna flight A scouter from our troop earned his pilot's license this past year at the local community airport. Yesterday, he took me up for a ride on a beautiful, sunny early fall day. This was my first time in a tiny plane and has been something I've always thought would be a wonderful thing to do. It was!

The flight was exactly as I expected - a bit rough, loud, exciting, and fun! It was very interesting to be with someone that has only been flying a short time but was very comfortable with all the instruments, skills, and communications protocols. For me, it was a great reminder how much a scout can grow and learn when placed in a constructive environment where he is challenged and allowed to be self-sufficient. It doesn't take long to become an expert and share skills with others.

We flew from Flying Cloud airport in Eden Prairie to Red Wing airport - the town where they make Red Wing boots and shoes. We were going to land at a grass air strip in Stanton on the way home, but the air there was crowded with gliders so we skipped that. Actually, it reminded me of a WWI dogfight with planes flashing in the sun here and there. When one of them came right at us, that's when my ace pilot decided to head for home.

Here's a few pictures of my awesome day in the blue sky with a great friend...

Pre-flight inspection. There's a lot more to getting ready than I thought. A good pilot doesn't leave anything unchecked. This flying club has a long checklist that the pilot completes before and after every flight. It's a good way to make sure nothing is skipped and the plane is ready for the next flight.
The instrument panel. I now know what most of these are for - altitude, direction, speed, ... there's a lot going on all the time when flying. It's also a bit like the wild west up in the air. You need to be constantly scanning for other aircraft because anyone can fly pretty much anyplace when away from airports.
Taking off from Flying Cloud. The take-offs and landings where smoother than I expected. I guess I had an exceptional pilot! One thing that was kind of freaky is how steep the landing is. It seemed to me like we were doing a nosedive into the ground, but it was perfect.
It's also amazing how many tiny airports there are all over the place. A map of airports in Minnesota looks like someone blasted it with a shotgun. And, since many of these airports are unmanned, communications is directly between planes on a pre-defined frequency. So, there is a lot of data you need to have along in order to do things right.
It's always cool to see your house from the sky. :-) A ride in a small plane is kind of like the take-off and landing of a commercial jet. You know, the part where you drop out of the clouds and get to see things for a few minutes as you circle for approach. But, in a small plane, you're at the perfect elevation to see things for the entire flight. It's very cool!

I have a 30 second video of the take-off and approach to Red Wing if you want to see more - View Video

Thanks for a terrific flight, Bob!

Scout On
Posted: 7:50 09-10-2012 893
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