Monday, April 13, 2009

A bit about what I do when I'm not photographing stuff....

Three main hobbies/passions pretty much take up every spare second I have - my photography, my horse, and flying. I'm not only a pilot, but I'm also a flight instructor. Through some strange stroke of luck (or a cruel joke, I've not figured it out yet), my flight review and my flight instructor recertification both come due in April, every other year. Last Saturday I got part 1 taken care of - the flight review. This is required of all pilots every other year to maintain currency. I called up good friend Steve Johnson in hopes of taking our 120 out and doing some work on things I've been struggling with, but alas, the annual inspection on the plane wasn't complete yet. Not wanting to wait (my schedule starts getting crazy in oh, 3 days?), Steve suggested we take his Super Cub. This didn't take much convincing on my part, as if I were independently wealthy I'd like to OWN Steve's Super Cub.

I met Steve at Noah's Ark Airport at the crack of dawn Saturday....yes, 8am is the crack of dawn for me....and we prepared to do some takeoff and landing work. Noah's Ark is a quaint private strip in the Missouri River bottoms west and north of Kansas City - tucked at the base of the bluffs by the city of Waldron, just at the edge of Kansas City International Airport's "don't dare go there without permission" airspace. It's a rare breed of airport, seeping nostalgia from every outbuilding. You sense a real close-knit community - one where everyone knows everyone else, and summer weekends are filled with flying, socializing, and hangar flying, the way it used to be. Not a big metropolitan airport where pilots show up to fly their Malibus and Barons off to weekend getaways, to be seen 3 days later as they offload gear and family and head home - no, Noah's Ark is full of older tailwheel aircraft such as Aeroncas and Piper Cubs and people who love their airplanes and just BEING at an airport. In other words, my kind of setting.

Steve and I took off for a few practice landings on the grass runway at the airport, and I couldn't help but notice that every time I turned onto final approach a few heads would peer out of hangars, a few folks would stray out to watch. No pressure, right? Luckily I took to the Super Cub fairly quickly and had a few nice landings before we headed north to St. Joseph for breakfast. We landed at Rosencranz Field during a flurry of activity - being the first REALLY nice flying day in quite some time, there were airplanes everywhere. Pulling up to the base of the control tower, we met several friends as well as Jim, who had flown up separately from the Downtown Aiport. After stuffing ourselves full of some not-so-healthy breakfast fare, it was back to Noah's Ark and the all-too-soon completion of my flight review.

Steve, thanks for the tag-along in your GREAT airplane and it is always fun to fly. And most of all...I've now got spring flying fever and look forward to a summer of fun in our little Cessna 120, whenever I can sneak a flight into my crazy schedule!

Coming soon - a FEI Dressage World Cup update (Jim and I leave for Vegas Wednesday!) followed the next weekend by the official start of "busy season" with the William Woods Dressage Show, which I'll be photographing!

Steve and I at St. Joseph with Four Charlie Charlie (yes, the tires are THAT big!)

Four Charlie Charlie sitting on the ramp - the tires are called "tundra tires" and are meant for landing in rugged backcountry, rocky riverbeds, sandbars, etc.

Jim arriving in the Bonanza for breakfast.