Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A typical flying day (part two)

Once I’ve survived the barrage of insane taxi drivers and the tourists who can’t fit their cases through a gap I could taxi my Cessna through*. I finally make it to the other side of the water. Exiting the ferry terminal involves dodging behind the tourists to take the back steps out.

I wander over to the flight school and say “Hi” to whoever is behind the desk. Normally I’ve beaten Bob here, mostly due to my obsessive need to be early and a little bit because of my tendency to overestimate how long it takes me to walk places**.  If there is a line up at the desk I’ll grab my PTR and take a quick look at any comments from last lesson.
Once I get a look in at the desk I’ll find out what plane I’m in. Try to suppress a wince when they tell me it’s JES and then fill out the flight sheet.  I grab the clipboard/ key combo and then duck behind the desk to get my cushions.  I have a very specific set of cushions that I fly with, one flatish one underneath my butt and two thick ones behind my back. Apparently it’s leg length that I have the problem with more than height.

Sometimes Bob has arrived by this point, sometimes not. Either way I head out to do my walkround. Basically I start at the front of the plane and check it for anything that is leaking or falling off. You also check that the bits that are meant to move do and the bits that aren’t meant to don’t.  The 172 has fuel drain points under each wing and under the belly. You drain fuel and check that it’s the correct colour***and that there are no bits or water in it. When you drain the belly points you also check your reflexes to see if you can get your head out of the way quick enough to avoid getting fuel in your eye****. While I’m under there I try to notice if there are chocks under the main wheel. The plane taxis much better if you remove them first.
You also check the oil level. If you are tall you can do this without removing the dipstick entirely. I can’t so I usually end up with oil drips on my clothes as well as the fetching “oil ring” design you get on your wrist from tightening the cap.

The final stage involves me poking around the hanger to find a combination of milk crates suitable for checking the fuel level in the wing tanks. SAR has a missing step on one side, which means that what is an easy step up for Bob becomes a mountain climbing expedition for me. If Bob has caught up with me by this point I shove the fuel drainer in his hand and say “here you do it”.

After that it’s back into the flight school to brief for the flight. This can be anything from 5 – 25 minutes depending on a number of factors.

See ,2 posts and we haven’t even sat in the plane yet… next time we might get as far as taking off!

 * And I've tried to fit my Cessna through a bloody small gap (and succeeded), more about that if I can ever think about it without cringing and wanting to run and hide.

** This is a hangover from before I had my surgery an was incapable of walking at anything other than a snails pace
***This is not a girly requirement to colour coordinate (I’m sorry the fuel clashes with my hair!) Different grades of fuel have different dyes added so you can instantly tell if you are about the bugger up your engine.

**** I have about a 50% success rate



Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A typical flying day (part one)…

Usually starts the evening before with either a phone call or a text conversation with Bob regarding our flying schedule.  Sometimes this conversation happens a little earlier in the week. The familiar pattern is Bob asking me what my schedule looks like, me telling him that I’m fairly flexible or pleading for a later start because I’d like a glass of wine or two the night before*

Anyways, let’s suppose that I’m flying at 9:30a.m. I’ll probably surface from the bedroom at around 8:00a.m. (approx. 2 hours after RTH). I like my weekend lie ins! If I’m lucky RTH will have heard me surface and already have the kettle on. If not then he soon will have. I’m not much of a morning person but I try to have something to eat, just to keep the blood sugar going.
Next I grab my phone. I’m looking for 3 things, any messages from Bob that our schedule may have changed, and the two things below

The top picture is the current runway data, it tells me what direction the winds are blowing, how strong they are and what the crosswind component is. It is updated every couple of minutes. Occasionally it doesn’t work and you wonder why the winds have been consistently at 270° @ 8 knots for the past 3 days.

The bottom one is the METAR (current conditions) and TAF (forecast). The METAR **can be up to an hour old. It gives you a general idea of what is meant to be going on.  Like any forecast it is of dubious reliability. But it’s the best I have to hand. My final weather check comes from looking out of the window.
If I’m meeting Bob at 9:30. I’ll probably leave at around 8:45. My walk takes me along the lakefront where I get a pretty good view of the airport. So I can take a final look at the winds. If there are any light aircraft taking off or landing I can see what they are up to. If they seem to be struggling in a crosswind etc.

I enjoy my walk down to the airport. I get a fantastic view of the lake and the city
Next I have to contend with the ferry ride. This is my least favourite part for any number of reasons. One the pedestrian access to the terminal is not existent, so you have to play chicken with insane taxi drivers. Two, the ferry only runs every 15 minutes and you inevitably just miss one. Three you have to contend with tourists and their massive amounts of baggage which they seem incapable of steering.
Once I arrive (usually before Bob), I wander on down to the flight school and then the fun starts and I’m going to save that for another post!
* Judging by our conversations, Bob must think I’m a raving alcoholic! While it is true that I enjoy a drink or several with my friends, I’m actually really conservative when it comes to alcohol consumption in that I leave it a minimum of 12 hours between even having one drink and flying. If anything ever happens, if I ever screw up, no one will ever be able to even think that alcohol was a factor.
** METAR and TAF data comes in its own shorthand language. If I’m feeling lazy I can just hit the “decoded” button at the bottom and get a plain text version. I like to practice on the raw data though. Often if I’m in a boring meeting I’ll pull up the METAR for anywhere and try to decode it on paper. It makes it look like you are furiously taking notes!

Monday, 29 October 2012

The sky is falling

If you watch the news at all you’d be forgiven for thinking that the apocalypse is about to strike in the form of Hurricane Sandy.

Meh, by the time it gets to us, it’ll merely be a “post tropical depression”*, there will be high winds and a fair bit of rain and Union station will probably flood (again!). I’m sure people are panic buying as we speak. My 72 hour preparedness kit consists of a power tank that we usually use for powering the telescope and ensuring I have enough chocolate in. If the flood waters ever reach our condo, then I’ll get worried!
There’ll be no flying for me this week. I hadn’t realised how much the winds have picked up until I saw a Porter landing sideways. At the moment the crosswind component is gusting 29 knots.

It’s going to get worse

* I probably should know what this means but to me it just sounds like what you get on returning home from Hawaii.


Never ask for advice from the internet!

 So in my quieter moments (not been that many this week!), I post on a couple of aviation boards. I post on one as localflighteast and on another with a different name (not going to mention it here. I may tell you why at some point).
I posted as localflighteast asking for advice about my impending first solo. I’ve been playing the scenario over and over in my mind and basically just wanted some reassurance that I hadn’t forgotten anything. Surprisingly enough the advice I got was mostly helpful. Things like
·         Don’t panic, your instructor knows what they are doing
·         Relax
·         Enjoy it, it’s a fantastic feeling
·         Just do what you normally do
All correct but nothing exactly earth shatteringly new, until a delightful poster named PACE posted their “story of my first solo”.
I’ve reproduced it (with their permission) verbatim underneath this post. I was having a really rushed day at work and it took me three attempts to “get it” before laughing so hard it hurt! A valuable lesson in not taking yourself too seriously.
Mine was a complete accident! at 5 hrs!! had a major row with the instructor who as soon as we landed threw the door open and stormed off leaving me sitting there perplexed.
The row was about his insistence on pitch for speed and me sitting on the end of the runway pumping the elevator up and down with no effect just to win an argument!
That was the deterioration point!
I was told by other students to look out for the first solo and likely signs one which would be a silent departure of the instructor from the aircraft!
Taking that as the green light for solo I turned around lined up and was delighted to see so may instructors running to wave me off.
The low level fly past the control tower on my first attempt was not intentional!!! looking for the curled up seat belt on the seat I realized the instructor had wrapped it around the control column on his exit which initially gave me a few control problems but they all seemed well entertained on the ground as there was a lot of waving!
When I landed five times in the course of a few hundred meters they were all so excited they were red in the face and even sent the fire truck out to meet me and guide me to the parking space. (how kind)
Strange they advised another club for the rest of my ppl I suppose when you have someone that good you have to share him !!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

I’m not as special as I thought

When I started out this flying stuff, I assumed that I’d find it impossibly tricky and would struggle with everything and would find new and exciting ways to screw up and would just generally be crap.

Turns out that this is not the case. I’m really not as special as I thought. There isn’t anything I’ve done, felt or messed up that someone else hasn’t done already.
Out of us three girls who sat together during ground school, I’m the first to solo. I genuinely am amazed at this fact.  I know that they both had to take time off for family and going home and stuff but I kind of assumed that they’d have their licenses and I’d still be trying to land the damn plane. Especially as one is on the fast track to wanting her CPL.

I’ve been reading a couple of blogs* of fellow student pilots from around the world (sort of an I’ll show you mine if you show me yours deal going on) and I’ve literally picked up phrases and thoughts from these that I could have written myself.
This actually bodes well for the next thing I’m dreading, the navigation and cross country. Maybe I’m not as directionally challenged as I think.

Maybe I’ll actually be able to do this.


*I will link to them if I ever figure out how.

I’d really hate to be teaching me.

Despite having quit that career over 6 years ago now. I still switch on to teacher mode occasionally. Given that I used to train teachers, sometimes I switch into teacher teacher mode, meaning I’m constantly evaluating the instructors around me.

I’ve mentioned this before but I really am an appalling student. After the whole solo thing I’ve realized that I never gave Bob a straight answer when he asked me anything about going solo. Which is not fair because I’ve gone on and on about how important it is for instructors to understand the psychology of teaching and mentioned several times how fragile student egos are.
Basically whenever the dreaded “S” word came up, I’d refuse to talk about it except to say “I’m never going to agree to this, you need to push me”. I banned anyone else from even saying it. While I was in the flight school signing the paperwork for my solo flight I had a go at the poor kid from dispatch* who was trying to boost my confidence and tell me it was nice and quiet out there, by saying in a terse voice “ We don’t mention the S word around here , thank you!”

As I was doing my walkround Bob was asking me “so mentally how are you feeling today?” I chose to ignore the inherent undertones in his question and tell him I was fine-thank-you-for-asking. He kept pushing though, trying to ask me basically if I was ready to solo today. The most he got out of me was a shoulder shrug and a “nothing’s changed, you’re still going to have to push me”.
It gets worse, even when we were taxiing in and Bob was still trying to ask me if I was ready for him to get out, I was still playing stupid games. I think basically my mouth was saying an emphatic “NO!!! Today’s lesson was bad I’m not ready or capable” but my eyes were pleading with him to get out the plane and make me do this. Of course that non verbal clue doesn’t help when you won’t look the poor guy in the eye in the first place!

I seem to recall pulling exactly the same crap on both Bob and RTH when I decided that I was going to do more than the ten hours basic intro that I’d originally agreed to be talked into. I made the decision inside my head that I was actually going to try for my PPL without actually mentioning it to anyone.  Maybe subconsciously I was expecting to get to a point where Bob said “right, that’s it. You’ve learnt all you’re going to be capable of.” Even so I suspect it’s actually fairly important to communicate to your instructor exactly what you are trying to achieve.

Let us add “mind reading” to the qualities that make a good instructor.

* He got his own back, he’s the one you can see in the picture with the bucket of cold water!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Pearls of wisdom for your first solo

Seeing as you only have yourself in the plane, you are the only source of advice. These are some of the pearls of wisdom I remember offering myself :

“You really should have visited the washroom beforehand, shouldn’t you?” – At the hold short line, the point where the nerves really kicked in.
“Well you’re committed ­now aren’t you?” – on take off

“Who the hell are you talking to?” – during my Go/No Go brief
“just don’t do anything F*ck#ng stupid”- while waiting at the hold short line

“this feels so <bleeping> wrong” – on turning base
“Sh##########T” on realising that I was short final and was gonna have to get it down on the tarmac

Some context

A year ago I found it difficult to get onto a plane without either valium or self-medicating with alcohol.

8 months ago I had major abdominal surgery to correct an issue that had been leaving me feeling exhausted and depressed for the best part of two years

6 months ago I took my first “familiarisation flight” with Bob
For that flight and probably the next 4 or 5 flights, my proudest accomplishment was not hyperventiliating and having a panic attack. Yep, seriously, my greatest achievement was being able to breathe properly.

Up until today, I had never been in sole command or control of any vehicle not even a car, bike or boat.
Today I flew a plane! On my own! I have a grin the size of Ontario on my face.

It’s going to be there a while!

Friday, 26 October 2012

I don’t wanna go to school today…

I’m sat at my desk actively trying to avoid doing any work. The sun is streaming in through the basement window. The winds are light and straight down the runway.

I want to be flying instead.

What didn’t happen

As I’ve mentioned previously I did a bit* of research about going solo, on the internet. Lots of people had some very good advice. I also flew that flight a million times in my head.  Unsurprisingly it didn’t turn out anything like I expected and a lot of the things that people said would happen didn’t. Which just goes to show the internet is a sucky source of advice**.  So here’s what didn’t happen:

·         I didn’t notice any major change in the climb rate of the plane, this may have been down to the fact that JES is a gentler plane in general.

·         I didn’t have a “OMG the other seat is empty moment”, in fact I was quite pleased to have somewhere to put my clipboard

·         I didn’t feel the “this is it I’m committed” moment when I opened the throttle. I felt it at the hold short line

·         I didn’t hear my instructors voice in my head talking me through the flight

Please don’t read the above and think for one minute that I was anything other than totally and utterly terrified through out the entire thing.

* Okay I obsessed about it compulsively for several months

** And the sky is blue apparently

Thursday, 25 October 2012


So it’s the day after and I’ve had time to think about the events of yesterday. It took a long time for things to sink in. I’d been home about 30 minutes before I started shaking, the enormity of it finally hit home.

I’ve had lots of congratulation messages from friends and coworkers (who probably realise that they are about to get a blow by blow account on Monday)
The guys down at the flying school did their very best to recognise the massive achievement of your first solo, anyone who was there made sure to shake my hand and congratulate me. I may even forgive them for the bucket of water (it was cold!!!!) as it is a time honoured ritual and beats being dunked in Lake Ontario.

Bob said some really nice things, which made me blush a little bit. and had the good grace not to mention my little taxiing snafu ( I may get round to blogging about that if the excruciating embarrassment ever wears off!). Sometimes I’m still not sure he’s describing the same person. He had another student straight after me, so he had to get on with his next flight but he called me a couple of hours later. Again with some really positive feedback and a whole list of “where we go from here” items that once more I don’t think really sank in.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like for an instructor to send a student on their first solo. When dealing with someone like me who needs a very careful combination of hand holding and throwing under the proverbial bus. That’s a very fine line to tread; the consequences of getting it wrong are tremendous. Still I’m alive, the plane is intact and Bob and I are still speaking to each other so all is well!

I remember, part three

It gets a little hazy after my base turn.

I remember the plane feeling all wrong, the nose seemed really really high, and yet my speed was fine. I was a little high but some flaps and throttling back took care of that.  It still felt wrong somehow. And then the proverbial hit the fan with my landing clearance. SAR wanted a stop and go on 24, the spacing wouldn’t allow them to clear the runway in time. So the tower tried to switch me to 26. What followed was the most excruciatingly bad radio call ever.
The tower asked me if I would take 26. I was torn. I prefer 26 as a runway, but I knew the crosswinds were a factor. I didn’t know what to do, so I did a lot of “umm”ing and “err”ing on the radio (so embarrassed!). I accepted 26 (D’OH!).
I think that eventually though  the tower remembered I was on my first solo and got SAR to overshoot. Ha ha!! 24 was all mine, now I just had to get down onto it.
I remember very little of the approach. I think I came in a bit low, I think I added some power, and then I made contact. I have no recollection of a flare or holdoff. I do know that I bounced my landing a bit. I remember Bob telling me in our previous circuits “just let it settle”, so I did. I brought the control column back and applied the brakes.
I was on the ground. Alive. In one piece. And so was the plane.
Job done!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I remember, part two

I remember being mildly concerned that I wasn’t quite sure how to line up for 24. I don’t actually think I’ve ever done a first takeoff from that runway. Normally I start off on 26 and end up on 24 when the winds swing round. I quietly observed SAR in front of me and looked at where they pointed.

Then I lined myself up and gunned the throttle. I remember it being quite a straight run, not too much rudder needed and then at 55 knots the tarmac and I parted company. I have vague recall of thinking “well you’re committed now aren’t you” although to be honest I felt that at the hold short line. It briefly crossed my mind that if I had decided to bottle out at the hold short line I actually didn’t know what I could say to ATC and how I could get back to the hanger. It seems strange to say this but part of me decided to go ahead and takeoff because flying a circuit seemed the easiest thing to do. The quickest way to get this over with.
ATC had already told me to continue runway heading until they called my crosswind. I actually remember checking my heading indicator to make sure I was still on track.

I recall being slightly concerned that I was wide on my downwind but figured I was still within gliding distance of land. I managed my downwind checks; I was slightly amused to find that I was still pressing on the brakes just before my base turn. It doesn’t slow you down!
I remember following in the traffic and being relatively calm until I made that turn to base. I have vague recollections of requesting a full stop on 24. And then I remember it all feeling all wrong …..

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I remember, part one

I remember Bob telling Ground that he was getting out for an instructor drop-off and it would be my first solo

I remember checking that Bob’s door was locked and then I called Ground to get my taxi clearance. I told them it was my first solo, I reckon it didn’t hurt for them to know. I wanted everyone out of my way!
I remember taxiing very slowly because there was a giant, honking Porter right in front of me and I didn’t want to get too close.

I have vague recollections of being in the run up area doing my checks. I distinctly recall ending my sounded out loud Go/No Go brief with “and who the hell are you actually talking to at the moment?”
I taxied to the hold short line and saw traffic on final, so I waited

And waited

And waited
And waited
There was a lot of traffic suddenly, and SAR was doing a full stop and back track on my runway.
I made the call to the tower anyway because I just wanted them to know I was there.
Bizarrely enough I remember being told to hold short 24/26 but I don’t ever recall getting my takeoff clearance. Yet somehow there I was taxiing out to the threshold…..
More to follow…..

Monday, 22 October 2012

Obligatory photo post.

Me and my plane FJES, I’m rapidly becoming more fond of JES. Looking back at my log book I did my very first flight in her!

Still posing, blissfully unaware of what's about to happen

Yes the b@st@#ds dumped a bucket of cold water over me!

I wish I’d soloed in July!

Trying to piece the day together.

There’s so much about my first solo that I just don’t remember. This worries me slightly as normally I can remember every turn, every radio call, every good feeling, every slip up.
I get random flashbacks of things I recall, so I’m just jotting them down here as I remember them. I anticipate multiple posts just to split the text up a bit.

I remember thinking that we were just coming in for the end of a lesson. I genuinely didn’t think I’d done well enough to go solo. Too many small errors and dicey landings. Looking back now I realise that the difference between my flying now and when I started circuits is not my ability to make mistakes but my ability to correct them.

I remember Bob asking me how I felt about going solo. I remember telling him that I would never agree to it without being pushed. He said that ideally he would like to see more consistency in my landings but he had no hesitation in sending me solo. Then I recall telling him “No” – I wasn’t ready, not after today’s flight. He asked me why – was it because I needed pushing or was I genuinely not able to?

Then I remember a stream of incoherent profanity which somehow ended up in my agreeing to do it. I really don’t remember how I came to that conclusion. Seriously, I was so torn between thinking I I was completely out of my depth and knowing that I needed to move past this.

Next came some kind of pre-solo tips and tactics talk from Bob. I’m sorry Bob; I didn’t hear a word you said!

To be continued........

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Everything went wrong and yet everything was alright.

Today was a perfect storm for everything to go wrong.

Wrong weather – forecast low cloud base (low as in below my condo windowline low!)
Wrong winds – both direction and strength (anything up to 22 knots later in the day)

Wrong plane – FJES is a lower powered plane, I don’t like it very much, it feels sluggish.
Wrong runway – I hate 24 with a passion. It’s hard to line up for, you come horribly close to the buildings and it just feels all wrong.

And yet somehow I managed to pull it all off and manage a successful first solo. Successful judged by the criteria that I got myself and the plane back in one piece.
It just goes to show that the perfect flight was never going to happen. I was convinced that mentally I needed everything to be right; I needed to be 100% happy that I’d done three perfect circuits before I could even contemplate that I would be ready to go solo.  That was never going to happen (I guess I’d be surprised if even a seasoned pilot does everything perfectly). I set myself impossibly high standards sometimes but occasionally I amaze myself by surpassing them!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Ok, so what just happened?

I don’t even know where to begin about today’s flight, for a start I wasn’t even sure it was going to happen. Right up until the point I got to the airport, the forecast was calling for clouds at 800ft. I can’t fly in that. My circuit altitude is 1250ft, and I really need the clouds at least 500ft above that. Add in a marginal crosswind and a deteriorating forecast. It wasn’t looking good.

But I agreed to meet Bob down there, because I’m kind of desperate to fly, at the very least to keep my skills fresh. The conditions weren’t too bad, cloud was a lot higher than they predicted and the skies were clearing, so we gave it a bash. The variable winds put me off my game a little, with some scrappy approaches where I let the speed bleed off too much and a couple where I was too low.
In fact my flying was so bad that Bob decided he’d had enough and got out!

YEP!!!! Despite all of the above somehow I managed to fly my first solo today. But you’ll have to wait for the next post to hear about that ! (mainly because I’m still trying to figure out in my head what the hell happened!)

Friday, 19 October 2012

The importance of quality checks

Not flying related but funny as hell!
I took a vacation from work for an entire week, during term time. Previously unheard of in my old position. Before I left I made sure that I’d tied up all the loose ends and left my boss any instructions she might need (I’m a big believer in screenshots with arrows, point here , click there!)

Well one of the things I had to do before I left was order some cookies. Not just any cookies, cookies to commemorate the ground breaking ceremony for our new construction.  We decided to go with shovel-shaped ones. I duly source a company who can provide such items* and view a sample of their work

Looks Ok, right? About what I was going for, so I order 1000 of them. One for each student and employee with a few spares.  Then I go on vacation without a second glance. On my return my boss gently takes me to one side to show me some pictures. Apparently what I ordered and what turned up were slightly different. See below

I giggled slightly and said “hmm, looks a bit like a turd on a shovel, not exactly what I was going for but I guess we lost something in mass production!”
It gets worse though, much worse! But this only becomes apparent when you look at the cookie upside down and from the back, voila!

Now do you see it? Yes ladies and gentleman in my absence it would appear that I equipped 800 girls aged 5 to 18 with a rather dubiously shaped cookie that they then proceeded to munch away on quite happily. Can you just imagine the scene? The communications department are furious with me because they can’t use a single photograph (apparently not the image we are going for, can’t imagine why!)

I don’t know what made my boss angrier the cookies or the fact that when this was pointed out to me, I laughed so hard that I did actually fall off my chair! Even now I can’t retell the story without crying with laughter.

Some how I still have a job.


* This is by no means the most bizarre thing I’ve had to source in my job. I once had to find a company to make a giant school uniform for our school mascot, a frog.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Winter is coming

One of the things I love about Canada is the weather. We actually have proper seasons, hot summers, cold winters and a proper (although short) transition between them in the shape of spring and fall.

We are in distinctly fall territory at the moment. High, gusty winds and cooler temperatures. Normally I love the strong winds. I love walking in them; it makes you feel so alive to be blown along at the mercy of the air. Of course this makes for lousy flying weather, which is annoying me at the moment.

Although I’m not a huge fan of the snow when I’m out walking, I’m looking forward to winter flying. Everywhere looks beautiful covered in a blanket of snow. You don’t have to fly very far away from Toronto to see spectacular countryside and I’m sure it’s going to look amazing from the air when it’s frozen.
Apparently though, winter flying brings its own challenges. As well as the risk of icing (both on the ground and in the air), you have to contend with wing covers, engine covers, engine baffle covers and so forth. On the plus side, the engine should be easier to start.

I'm already noticing a difference in the handling of the plane. This will become more pronounced as the weather cools. Apparently the plane climbs a lot more aggressively. That could be fun when flying SAR who already thinks that the AR stands for Apollo Rocket!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Don’t be a hater

As I’ve mentioned before normally I love the kind of weather we are having at the moment, the high winds and cooler temperatures make for ideal walking conditions. So I went for a nice long stroll along the lakefront for an hour or so today, to remind myself that flying isn’t everything. It also served as a gentle reminder that this time last year I could barely manage a walk to the streetcar stop let alone wandering along the lakefront for over an hour. Seriously less than 8 months ago I was struggling down to the lakefront holding my surgery swollen stomach in check and wearing my extra-large PJs ( the only clothes I could fit into!) whilst watching the planes at the airport out of sheer boredom.

Little did I realise that less than a year later, I’d be flying one of them. OK the weather might be bad at the moment, but this too shall pass. The winds will stabilise and I’ll be back up flying again soon. In the meantime life is good and I should reflect very postively on what I've managed to achieve.

What am I turning into?

I have never been what you would call a girly-girl. I don’t do make up and all that stuff. I was mortified when, once I had to ask Bob to take the controls because the vents were blowing my hair into my eyes! This may be why the girls at work thought that an “I can be a pilot” Barbie doll was an appropriate gift for my last birthday. They have a strange sense of humour!
So what the hell has happened to me? I’m about to head out and pay a person the equivalent of half a flying lesson to dump some cold, itchy chemical on my hair for about an hour*. Not only that but last week in the absence of any work to do, I voluntarily went shoe shopping. That means I went shopping for shoes without the previous pair on my feet literally falling to pieces. I actually spent a flying lessons worth of money on two pairs of boots because they were, and I cringe when I think of me saying this, “cute”. I also brought new clothes, which I’m too scared to wear to work because it’s so unlike what I normally wear that I know I’m going to draw comments.

The current theory according to my spiritual gurus** A, E and KW, is that it is all flying’s fault. The confidence I’ve gained from this (maybe combined with the 40 pounds and 4 clothes sizes I’ve dropped in the past year) means that I’m starting to pay more attention to how I look.
I don’t think I like this. Being female is, apparently, expensive. So is flying. I can’t really afford both!

* I’ve dyed my hair so much that I’ve forgotten what my natural hair colour is. Even after the dye has faded, the base layer is now bleached so much that I look blonde. Interesting fact, the brighter my hair colour choice, the more pissed of I am at work. I save the pink for when they’ve really been annoying me. Things must be Okish at the moment judging by my present choice

** AKA drinking buddies