Blogged a wee bit in the early AM, as has become the custom. Worked on some output screens for the software development team I’m managing – aviation safety stuff, pretty cool if we can get the kids to actually use it. SQL databases and customizable cockpit charts, who/what/when/why, etc. Has some real potential.
Then! Down to Montgomery for to wrestle 1200 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal into the air and bring her floating featheringly down to earth again. With some two-circle BFM in between. An absolute cougar in the trunk, lady of a certain age and that, remarkably well preserved. With a mebbe 30 year old boy toy in t’other aircraft, whom she wanted nothing more than to dominate.
I don’t like to psychoanalyze, so I will not. Tempting though the exercise might be.
Occasional wingman Jim did the brief while I studied for yet another Biennial Flight Review that would follow shortly after in the club Cardinal, somewhat resentfully. For hadn’t I just done one in the Citabria not two weeks past?
And yet there are two aero clubs between which I divide my time and hard earned, when not grinding it out for the Barnstormers. Each of whom insists upon its own BFR, because Certificated Flight Instructors have to eat too.
The Flight Review, not the dining. It “keeps the insurance down,” says they, coloring it a “club annual.” Still, it’s $40 out of yer pocket. Monies that could rightfully be otherwise be spent on Guinness. For strength.
The lady was far and away a force of nature, a “one person party,” as she confessed, needing nothing but her own self for to have fun. “Win,” she cried. “We must win!”
Stay right here with me, sister, said I. For I am your man.
Since I hadn’t briefed the flight, I was not surprised when she asked of me as I was pre-flighting, “What’s a good tip?”
Well, said I, scratching my head. A good two and half g nose low turn preserving energy is always a good way to start…
“No,” she said impatiently, cutting me off and all but stamping her stiletto-heeled boots. The “dufus” unsaid but hanging in the air betwixt us. Rubbing two fingers together in the universal sign language of filthy lucre she explained as to a child, “What’s a good tip?”
Oh, you know: Whatever you think is fair, although of course nothing is required. It being a privilege and all. Twenty dollars.
Aggressive as the day is long, she was, and was all in Boy Toy’s knickers quicker than you can say “Bob’s your uncle.” Landed all triumphant like, and was as good as her word in the article of gratuities. Sending Boy Toy off for to make the payments. Said she’d be back, wanted the name of a good flight instructor. Had the bug, and what’s more, had the resources.
Somewhere in Del Mar, a man with 25 years of now-broken marriage behind him is living in an apartment eating microwave dinners and paying for all of this.
A man not me.
I thanked her kindly for her generosity, before rushing over to the FBO for yet another annual biennial flight review.
Which is when I got a ring from the Kat, who had somehow found herself stranded at the horse barn, where honest hay and oats are turned into something loathsome, courtesy of an enormous animal with wee, sma’ hooves y-clept “Willow.” Who has won my daughter’s heart, the great, rough beast. On account of leaping over fences and such at alarming speeds and vertiginous heights, with my own dear daughter tenuously connected atop, everything shivering in the balance.
“Where’s mom?” cried she, severely vexed. For it had been the better part of 45 minutes, and no ride home had materialized, and no one had taken her calls. I had to confess a certain innocence of mom’s whereabouts, being not merely physically displaced, but also temporally disengaged.
“I’ll come and get you,” I replied. For elsewise I’d never hear the end of it, and in any case it was the right thing to do. BFRs being eminently re-schedulable.
“Never to fret,” replied my congenial CFI. His fees already counted upon, and perhaps already spent. “We’ll just do the thing as the sun goes down.”
In actual nighttime.
But, malgre the fact that I already have 606 hours of night time in the logbook, loth was I to add even a jot. The flesh being so very fragile, and the mountains so unyielding, not to mention invisible once the jocund sun takes his leave of the western sky. Persisting in their existence despite the fact that they cannot readily be seen, until one is right up on them, and then only maybe. Godlike, in that respect. And the Cardinal lacking any class of radar altimeter, GPS-aided terrain awareness warning system, nor even a good pair of afterburners should things go south.
“Oh,” said I. Unwilling to be a non-hack even yet. “OK.”
So having rescued the Kat and dropped her off it was back to the aerodrome, and in the event the checkride was a nothing of a thing. Slow flight and stalls as the sun faded in the west. Pump the gear down, hizzoner having pulled the landing gear circuit breaker in my plain view. A pair of landings at Gillespie, one of them a soft-field full stop. Then IFR back to Montgomery for the ILS full stop, under the hood, masterfully flown if I must say so myself.
It’s my story.
And then back home again, a mere groundling in a mass of indistinguishable groundlings.
So, yeah: Busy day, for a Sunday.