Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Flyin' off the handle...

My neighbor Bert's been planning to build a cabin near a remote airstrip in the foothills of the Alaska Range. Occasionally, he'd call and ask for help and I'd spend a little time over at his place or ride down the road with him to help stock pile the building materials. After he finished moving all the materials out to the cabin site by snow machine, he wanted to fly out to there, so asked if I would to go along . While I'd flown in small planes doing resource surveys years ago, it would be the first time out with Bert. He had completely rebuilt his plane, a Cessna 170, several years ago and it's in immaculate condition. It's set up with a ski conversion for winter flying, since the remote airstrip isn't plowed.
The trip over was uneventful and he made a fine landing on the snow covered runway. After a short time looking at his building site, he asked if I wanted to see anything in particular. Maybe a quick tour of the mountains nearby?
That certainly made the return flight interesting. We flew up a nearby creek, over a low divide and then down a river valley through several narrow canyons. Pretty spectacular.
Once out over the flats, he asked if I'd ever flown a plane. When I said I hadn't, he asked if I wanted to try.  He then gave me a quick lesson and let me take the controls. Terrified, well almost, but it was pretty amazing, after years of flying in small planes, I'd finally gotten the handle on how to fly one, even if only for a few minutes. Thanks Bert!

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