Sunday, July 29, 2012

Safety Pilot N Paws

Plane: Cessna 182 RG
Route: MGY-4G1-MGY (Approaches at 4G1, MFD, MGY)
Weather: Scattered clouds, 78 degrees, wind variable at 4 knots

Mike and I had a puppy-filled weekend. Seven little guys flew into Wright Brothers on Friday night from North Carolina. I took four of them, who couldn't have been more than 8-10 weeks old, home with me for the night and Mike fostered the other three. They were cute and cuddly, just as you'd expect puppies to be. See below for proof! :)

When we first got home, they were pretty much inseparable

Getting more cuddly...

These two loved to be close to each other

Contained in the tiled part of the house - as if I need to explain why

No sane person can say no to these adorable little faces, right?

Fast-forward to this morning, when we met at Wright Brothers around 8:00. It was time to fly the pups to Greenville Municipal Airport, just across the OH-PA state line. There we would meet another pilot who was flying them the rest of the way to their new home near Buffalo, NY.

It took a little while to load them into the plane but we were underway around 8:45. The weather was absolutely beautiful on the way up - mostly clear skies and smooth, cool air. The dogs pretty much relaxed in their carriers the entire trip and Mike and I chatted much of the way.

One of the reasons I was tagging along on the trip was to act as a Safety Pilot. For those of you who don't know what that means, it's pretty simple. Mike's working on his Instrument Rating, which will allow him to fly in the clouds. In order to practice (and this would be the same for a pilot who is already Instrument Rated) he has to wear a device that prevents him from seeing outside. Since we're flying in Visual conditions, we are responsible for "Seeing and Avoiding" all other aircraft. Long story short, if one pilot is "under the hood" the FAA requires another pilot on board to watch for traffic and monitor everything. So that's where I came in - I kept my eyes outside and made a couple radio calls whenever Mike put the hood on.

As we approached Greenville, Mike called Youngstown Approach and requested the VOR/GPS Approach into the airport. An instrument approach is basically a series of points and altitudes you fly through in order to safely arrive at an airport in low visibility, clouds, etc. So he flew us down from cruise altitude on instruments until about a mile from the airport, at which point he peeked outside again and made a normal landing.

Puppies and airplanes really do play well together

You can barely see them in there - they slept most of the flight up to PA

Charging at me on the ground at Greenville Municipal Airport

Excitedly meeting the pilot who flew them to their new home

Mike and I attempting to say goodbye to all the energetic puppies

Starting to load the dogs into their second 182 of the day

These guys were quite content just relaxing on the ramp

One final goodbye to this cute little dude

All loaded up and ready for the last leg of their journey

The dogs were all happy to get out of their cages and roam around once we landed, as you can see from the above photos. We chatted with the other pilot for a short while as he met the puppies, then loaded them into his own airplane. It was around 11:00 when we took off and headed back towards Dayton. 

Instead of flying directly home, we first headed towards Mansfield. They are known for having great controllers and quite a few pilots around here seem to practice approaches there. Today it was our airplane taking advantage of their hospitality; Mike flew the ILS Runway 32 Approach. We didn't land - just got down close to the runway then continued on our way home.

One of my favorite sights in the air - clouds reflecting off lakes

Final for Runway 32 during a practice ILS approach at Mansfield

It's always fun passing over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 

USAF Museum - with their new C-17 parked out on the ramp

Passing downtown Dayton on the RNAV GPS Runway 20 approach into MGY

One more view of the city reflecting off the wing

There's not much else to add. I got to log some time in the right seat, which is good for the pilot side of things. And it's always great to tag along on these Pilots N Paws flights and help out their great organization! If you'd like to learn more about them, volunteer, or make a donation be sure to check out their website.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 0.8 hours (SIC)
Total Time: 224.5 hours


  1. Oh my....hauling puppies can make for an easy mission fail.

    Sorry, not sure what happened to that one cute lil fella. What? of course I didn't loose him or um...maybe leave him at home.

    Nice photos and congrats on a job well done!

    1. Ain't that the truth. I've managed to get through these unscathed so far. Mike's added one more furry friend to his house, though!