Saturday, November 19, 2011

Where two lives come together

Thanks to the magic of scheduled posts, this came online just as the organ at Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit began playing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring to signal the start of our wedding ceremony. Soon, my beautiful bride will walk down the aisle and we will be newlyweds. As she would undoubtedly say, "finally!"

We have both been looking forward to and planning for this day for over a year, ever since I proposed last April. And here we are; the countdown clock on our wedding website now reads 00:00:00. This should be an incredible day shared with family and friends.

I would be remiss not to mention how much we are looking forward to our reception at Henry Ford Museum this evening. We will be dancing our first dance together as husband and wife on a dance floor directly underneath a DC-3. The pilot in me is exceedingly happy about that... and Gina thinks it is pretty neat, too.

Thanks to all of you, many of whom I have met over the years through this very blog, who have sent us your kind thoughts and well-wishes for our wedding. I will share photos and video on here in the coming weeks as I know many of you will be clamoring for details! Until then, we are going to go start our new life together with a wonderful, luxurious week in the sun. Lobster for Thanksgiving, anyone? Yes, please!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flying solo one final time

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: 40I-I68-40I
Weather: Clear, 41 degrees, wind 200 degrees at 7 knots

Gina drove up to Michigan tonight for some last-minute wedding preparations and I was blessed with some beautiful fall CAVU weather. With the end of Daylight Savings Time there aren't many non-weekend opportunities to fly anymore so I jumped on this one. I left work a little early and drove down to Stewart to get in a little flying. Given all the things we have to do (and the aforementioned early darkness) next week this is going to end up being my final flight before our wedding next weekend.

It was almost three months ago that I took my boss and his kids flying in the 172 so I had to take the ol' Skyhawk up tonight just to maintain my 90-day currency in the airplane. Someone else was finishing up flying it when I arrived at the airport. Perfect for me since that would give me a warm, easy-to-start engine. A thorough preflight indicated that she still had a solid 18 gallons (two hours) of fuel, plenty for the hour I had left before sunset.

I figured some solid surface takeoff and landing practice would be a good way to spend my time, so I took off and flew the short seven miles to Lebanon-Warren County Airport. The pattern wasn't too busy - a helicopter based there landed and departed and one of the 150s from Stewart was also there practicing. I made three takeoffs and landings (one being touch-and-go, another a simulated engine-out) to help knock the rust off.

Well look at that - I can still fly circles around churches!

After that, I headed back to Stewart and stopped partway there to practice a couple turns around a point. The strong winds from the south made for great conditions for ground reference maneuvers. I flew them around a church I've used for similar practice in the past. They were ever-so-slightly egg-shaped but I'm pretty happy with them... especially considering it has been almost eight months since I last practiced TAPs.

So there you go - my days as a single aviator have come to a close. From here on out I might have to take a cue from Gary and start referring to Gina as my Bride! The best thing is she enjoys flying and has even taken a few lessons on her own over the past couple of years. I'm looking forward to many, many years of flying trips throughout our new life together... and even introducing our kids to airplanes one day!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.7 hours
Total Time: 209.5 hours