This weekend there was a reunion for a young adult church group I used to be very involved with back in Michigan. I was excited for the good flying weather as I have served mostly as a passenger for the last few months. While I had taken the controls, I had yet to do a landing during that period of time. There was always an excuse or a reason (dog on lap, falling asleep, I don't know how to land a tailwheel...etc) but this weekend I declared "I'm doing it darnnit!" And I did.
We departed Saturday morning in what quickly became instrument conditions. Bob flew the first portion of the flight through the clouds and when there were a few more breaks, I took the controls for practice from the right seat. After over an hour of flight, the skies opened up and we were above some broken layers enjoying the sunshine.
Like our last trip to Michigan, we encountered no issues with Detroit's newly expanded class B airspace. As we neared PTK airport I thought something was missing. Looking around, I discovered the Pontiac Silverdome I am so used to using as a reference point near the airport was now missing its roof. That arena held quite a few memories, including the two times I performed there, so we circled it to get some "goodbye" shots with my camera.
Turbo slept in the back while we took turns flying, occasionally resting his head on the seat in between us. Usually, he decides to pop up and see what's happening when we pull back the power and start our descent into the airport. This time he thought it was a good idea to hop onto my lap. No buddy! I'm landing! I said. He was scooted back to his puppy platform while I put in the first notch of flaps and watched my speed. As expected, my weak arms could not put in the remaining flaps but that is all the help this rusty pilot needed. I was "in the zone" and took the Glasair in for a good landing. Turbo then decided that he's waited long enough and hopped into my lap again. So Bob taxied.
On our weekend trip, I enjoyed running errands with my mother, catching up with old friends at the reunion and then a big family brunch on the lake Sunday. Around 1:00 Sunday Bob, a tired Turbo and I with a fresh sunburn, hopped back into the humid plane ready to touch the cool sky to return home.
The ride home was smooth despite the cumulus clouds around us. We made it home in a decent time without having a big tailwind and enjoyed a circle around the Metlife blimp that was flying over Frederick before taking the plane in for landing. I let Bob do the landing. It's only fair. We gotta work on this 50/50 thing :)