Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Silent Birdman... Nests

I've been short on flying yarns lately, although Gail and I were aloft last Sunday for a nice evening ride. We have been keeping busy making wedding plans and setting up housekeeping, and busy enjoying our own company as well. Gail has been working hard, and circumstances (and her employers) have been kind; so we will be able to spend almost all of our time together for the next few months.

The most important element of a happy marriage is ensured, though... Gail loves to fly! Commercially, of course, she being an inveterate world traveler; but my kind of flying, too. In my last entry I mentioned flying above the clouds, and we did some steep turns and maneuvering. I don't normally do that kind of thing with pax aboard; only with assurance from Gail that she was comfortable, and indeed enjoying it.

Last Sunday we went up again, and I let myself play a little more. The barrel roll is an easy maneuver for almost any aircraft, keeps everyone in their seat and puts very little stress on the airframe. Start with a little dive for airspeed, raise the nose about 20 degrees, and then full aileron and a touch of rudder for a maximum-performance roll. (5 MB video clip). Gail got out her camera and nodded ready, and I flicked around once to the left. Wide grins on each of us; "Again, again!"

Gosh, I love this girl. I continued with a series of tight rolls, the late-day horizon spinning in the windscreen, the lake far below arcing over our heads. Since the wing remains flying throughout this maneuver, there is always a downward force in the cabin; there is an element of lightness in the tummy, but the effect is mostly visual. I find it most thrilling, and so does my intended. We enjoyed some more steep turns and climbs as the daylight faded.

I leveled out and we enjoyed the sunset from the plane. We kept flying west into Wilkes-Barre airspace and shot a touch-and-go on the big runway, then headed back home for dinner and the Pilot's Association meeting; another opportunity for Gail to meet my flying buddies, and for me to share the news of our betrothal.

No flying so far this week - both of us have been busy with work, and the weather has not been too great. But you know... I've been very, very happy nonetheless.