Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Lessons Learned Part 1
Alaska vs. The Outside
For s-turns across a road in a land where there were no roads, we flew each turn of a stream; for turns around a point, why not circle the solitary moose looking up at us with some curiosity?
After landing back in Dillingham, my teacher would go back to his Air Taxi service, and I’d be left out in the bitter cold to tie down the airplane.
Was it worth it? You bet. The flying was grand. It was great. It was beautiful! Everything was crystalline and clear. Ice crystals sparkled and danced off every surface. The ceilings often were low, but the visibility was huge! Flying in Alaska gives you the feeling you’re the first person to ever be there—and after a fresh snowfall, it feels new and untouched.
My point isn’t to complain about the hardships I was faced with (I really didn’t mind preflighting, it kept me warm), but to pass on some of the lessons I learned in those early days.
I flew in Alaska, finishing my ratings, for five years before I flew in the Lower 48. I went on to fly with other instructors, some of whom not only were wonderful at teaching how to fly, but also had good judgment and intelligence in flying. I was extremely fortunate to have been taught the basics early on:
|Keeping the ball centered increases your safety margin|
• Learn to slip. I asked a famous old-time bush pilot to fly with me. We flew out to a small dirt strip, and he told me to land on a certain spot. I kept missing it, but somehow he could nail it every time. Then he taught me his secret—how to slip to a spot. Every pilot needs to learn this skill. If you ever think you might need to make an emergency landing and want to know you can put your airplane exactly where you want it, then find someone to teach you.
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