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Mission

Posts about the missions we fly and their underlying motivations

Ray

The seemingly endless stretches of farmland flew past in a blur as we headed South on I-5 through California's central valley. My wife Janet, Eddie Pippin, Canine Aviator, and I were on our way home from a road trip to Seattle to visit family and friends. This was day two and we'd been on the road for hours. I was painfully aware of how much quicker the trip would have been in my club's Bonanza. With my back and legs complaining loudly, the blue Rest Area sign up ahead came as a welcome sight.

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"Maybe I can go flying with you sometime again. You know, I don't know why but that was one of the best experiences of my life. I think of it often. So, so cool."

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"Ungh!" I grunted involuntarily as the Arrow plunked down unceremoniously on Reid-Hillview airport's runway 31R. That was supposed to be a "soft-field" landing. My session in the pattern wasn't going particularly well. While my takeoffs, airspeeds, and approaches were pretty good, the landings just were not coming together. There was no mystery about it. It had been a couple of weeks since I'd flown, and the time before was three weeks earler. For someone supposedly preparing for a checkride, I wasn't flying nearly enough.

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It was a very dark, moonless night at Paso Robles, California when my wife Janet, our friend Lena, and I finished a lovely dinner and were boarding the airplane for our flight home. Paso Robles is in a valley, surrounded by high terrain, and there would be very few signs of human habitation along most of our route back to the San Francisco bay area. Anticipating this, I had filed an IFR flight plan and prepared to fly the published obstacle departure procedure to give us an extra margin of safety.

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"So, you flew yourself down here for the wedding?" asked the bridesmaid at the reception.

"Yes, we flew down in my club's Cessna," I answered. "The weather was beautiful!"

"Wow–that's cool," she said.

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