Sunday, 31 March 2013

Such a perfect day

Winter has lasted a long time this year but spring is finally managing to push its way in. Saturday was a gloriously sunny day. Not massively warm but pushing into the double digits. Something we haven’t seen for a while (unless it had a minus sign in front of it). The winds were light, the ATIS short; no IFR approach info and the weather summed up in one acronym - CAVOK*

An auspicious start for our big adventure to Lindsay. And it really was a big adventure, neither of us has been to the airport before, it’s a very different environment to what I’m used to flying in and RTH hasn’t really done a long trip in a while. A venture into the unknown.
I was both excited and a little nervous, I have the utmost confidence in RTH’s abilities but I don’t deal with the unknown too well. But I was definitely looking forward to it. And rightly so. Despite being a little bumpy (probably the first significant heating the land round there has seen for a while), the flight was both uneventful and spectacular. Lake Skugog is just starting to thaw; you can see the ice breaking up in places but still locate snow mobile tracks in others. The land is full of a patchwork of fields, trees and rises gently into old moraine trails. It is so stunning and yet so alienly different to the British countryside I grew up with.

Lindsay airport was an experience, the UNICOM not as intimidating and free-for-all as I expected. Everyone was very civilised and waited their turn patiently, the conversation light and casual.  No one stressing, all there for one reason; to enjoy flying. No commercial pilots watching the clock and the bottom dollar.
Flying folk are a friendly bunch in general, one guy joked gently with RTH that “yep, both the wings are still attached” as RTH did a quick walk round before we left! We chatted briefly with another crowd while seeking advice on a suitable location to do our run-up. They didn’t realise that there was still GA happening at CYTZ**.

The interesting difference between plane owners/renters and their automobile counterparts is the complete lack of snobbery. Pilots look at old planes and see “classic” not “worn out”, no one batted an eyelid at the fact that in some places JES is more speed tape than plane!*** At one point on the common frequency I overheard a conversation between two pilots. One started off by making a position call, starting with his call sign. Once the necessaries were over with, someone else came on to say “hey, I used to own that plane!” To aviation people, every plane has its own unique story to tell, and everyone wants to hear them.
The food in the restaurant was amazing, in a good old home cooking type of way. A tasty breakfast, good coffee and a nice homely atmosphere. Topped off with a great view of planes landing and taking off, who could ask for more? Oh yes and the obligatory butter tarts, for which Lindsay is famous. We grabbed a dozen, reserved two for ourselves and donated the remainder to the fine people behind the dispatch desk at City.

The journey back was as uneventful and visually spectacular as the journey out. The air had settled down a little, so not as many bumps. It truly was a perfect day. How many other couples get to spend time like this together? Silently taking in the remarkable aerial view of our chosen home. I can’t wait to get my license and return the favour, taking RTH for a flight so he can sit back and enjoy the scenery for a change.

*Ceiling and Visibility are OK,  that is no clouds below 5000ft and visibility of at least 6 miles. In other words, let’s go flying!

**It is certainly in jeopardy, the commercial ops really don’t like us.

*** RTH and I are both very fond of JES, cosmetic concerns aside. I soloed in her; RTH passed his flight test in her and I think she’s a gentle graceful lady!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Our anniversary trip. CYTZ to CNF4

Many blog posts to follow on this amazing trip. For now, some pictures of toronto City to Lindsay and back

FYI this is why I need milk crates

On the ground at City
Apron at Lindsay
 Obligatory Butter Tarts

strolling back to the plane

Oh Good! Just where we left her!

looks like we hit rush hour for the runway

Stay outta my way

The practice area was busy today. I suspect it is the first weekend in a while that people have felt the weather was good enough to fly. It is certainly the first time that I’ve had to negotiate for space out there. I will admit that listening to RTH and his stories of the practice area, I was worried about how I’d cope with picturing the space around Claremont. Spatial awareness has never been my strong point but as usual between RTH and Bob I’ve managed to pick up enough tips to be able to manage it would seem, if my latest flight was anything to go by. Bob has shown me how to divide the area up into NE, NW, SW and SE segments. That way you only have to worry about the height of the people in your section. RTH passed on his advice to avoid getting into lengthy discussions about who is going to work where. You don’t have to be rude about it but it helps if you are decisive. Today SAR and I were pretty much doing the same kind of stuff (precautionarys and forced approaches). Once I realised this I simply made the radio call “SAR if you stay to the east. I’ll work in the west. No conflict”

Obviously I was doing the right thing because Bob didn’t seem particularly interested in joining in the conversation!
Funnily though, I landed back at home base just a little behind SAR, I’m not sure if they are a PPL or a solo student but she stopped to say hi as I was gathering my stuff and asked if it was me in JES. When I said it was, we talked briefly about how it was a little busy out there, she said she found it a little intimidating, but apparently so is my accent! According to her a crisp British accent cutting through the airwaves gets everyone’s attention!

Those of you who know me in real life, it will come as no surprise that I’m already organising the other traffic out there!

Friday, 29 March 2013

15 years

No the title doesn’t refer to how long I expect to take to get my PPL!
On April 4, 2013 RTH and I will have been married for exactly 15 years. It’s been an interesting 15 years that’s for sure; we were still at university when we married for a start. We’d barely started our lives. Honestly we were two completely different people back then.

We must be doing something right though as we’ve lasted longer than the average marriage does (according to some stats I pulled off the internet, there is a 50% chance of a Canadian marriage ending in divorce before the tenth anniversary). Maybe ours lasted because we were British when we started!
Either way we’ve done some really cool stuff in previous years for our wedding anniversary. We’ve stayed at swanky hotels (Banff springs), cute little B and Bs (Niagara on the Lake). We’ve eaten at very posh restaurants (Canoe), but nothing can top what we have planned for our 15th. I’m so excited by our plan I can’t even begin to describe it.

We are going to eat lunch in a cheap little restaurant in Lindsay, Ontario. What the Brits would refer to as a "Greasy Spoon". 
Ok, So why is this so awesome?

Because we plan to hire a plane and freakin fly there! Seriously how cool is that? We are going to walk to an airport, say “Hi” to the guys behind the desk pick up a plane and fly to Lindsay, grab lunch in the airport restaurant and then fly back again.

Of all the restaurants we have eaten in (and RTH consider ourselves foodies) this will be the sweetest ever. Of course the flip side is that I have to plan the route. The division of labour is such that RTH flies, I navigate. I have no idea how this will work out. Neither of us has been to Lindsay before and my navigation skills are suspect at best.

We may have been married for 15 years when we start off, who knows how long we’ll last once we get in that plane?


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Random musings from ground school.

It’s been almost a year since I sat in the “hanger of doom” as part of a ground school class. I can’t honestly say that I miss it! And for the record Bob I did not “like it so much the first time round that I decided to sit it again!”

I went because Bob was teaching the class on “theory of flight”. This is physics stuff, actually quite interesting and as you know I kind of rate Bob pretty highly in the teaching stakes, so I thought I’d check out the class.  I’m glad I did. I don’t think I’ll be going to the rest of the ground school though, even if this was a nice smallish sized class (with none of the testosterone addled idiots that populated my class). I may go back if Bob is teaching anymore stuff though. I enjoyed the session but my mind did wander on occasion. Some random musings for you:

·         I think the person in front of me has failed to get the point of the name place cards. His is facing TOWARDS him!

·         I wasn’t far off with my guess as to the ratio Male to Female wise. 9 people 2 women. I make that 22%

·         How the hell do people whose first language is not English cope with this stuff?

·         We are a tough crowd; he’s got another engineer and a physics teacher in the audience!

·         Oh shiny planes moving! Let’s take a sneak peek in the hanger, oops now other people are looking; sorry!

·         Ok it makes a world of difference when the person teaching you actually knows and cares about their subject rather than doing this because they have to. I’d never considered that way of looking at that particular point.

·         I’m tired and my brain hurts, how the hell did I manage this twice a week for 7 weeks?
As we left the hanger and I made my way to the ferry, I was greeted by the following site, which always helps me remember just what I’m doing here. It is truly breathtaking

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

New Author?

So I started this blog on July 3rd, but I actually started my flying adventure on April 21st 2012 with my familiarisation flight with Bob.

Looking back at things I’ve come to the rather startling conclusion that I’m not sure that the person who started this blog really exists anymore. I started this blog as the “World’s Most Anxious Person”. I really don’t think I am anymore. How can I be? When I deal with all kinds of simulated emergencies every lesson without a second thought.
When I first started flying, even being in the plane was a terrifying experience. I was scared to touch anything or do anything without Bob’s say so. I was acutely aware, every moment, of the fact that I was in a plane flying and that I had the potential to cause it all to come to a very nasty end. Now, I know this is going to sound strange but I forget I’m in a plane. I’m concentrating on the things  that I need to do and no longer worry about the fact I’m in a small metal can with an engine bolted on the front with the potential to come hurtling down to the ground.

Everything has changed, I deal with real life “emergencies” with ease*, new situations don’t bother me. I still don’t like flying commercially but I’m hardly in a minority there. I don’t know if the people who know me recognize the change, maybe RTH does ( I know he’s very proud of what I’ve achieved), maybe the crew at work**, I don’t think Bob really knew the “old” me. He must see every student going from nervous starter to more confident pilot but for me the change has been so much more than that.
Flying is one hell of a way to find yourself. I really recommend it

* I think I may annoy people at work slightly with my new attitude. If they come up to me with something they claim is an “emergency”, I’ve been known to ask “is anyone dying, are we about to crash into anything?” When the answer is no, my usual response is “Well its hardly an emergency then, what’s the problem I'm fairly sure we can fix it?”  It may not win me any friends but it has done wonders for my mental health

** Out drinking the other night with my colleagues from the IT department, one of my buddies just kept looking at me and every time I mentioned something tricky or difficult at work would say " But you just flew a freaking plane!" That was pretty much the extent of his conversation the entire night.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Constantly moving the goalposts.

I have a secret grudging admiration for Bob sometimes. He sure as hell knows how to keep a girl on her toes. Seriously a month or two ago I would have quite happily killed him without a second glance if he’d pulled the kind of stunts on me that he does now.

During today’s lesson I swear I could  actually hear his thought processes.  “Hmm, WMAP seems to be coping with all the stuff I’ve thrown at her so far. I mean she is still flying the plane rather than being curled up in a ball and whimpering uncontrollably, I’d better throw something else at her before she gets too comfortable. I know, what about flying her through a control zone she’s never experienced before, that’ll be fun. I can get her to have to unfold her chart and look up frequencies and speak to a tower she’s never dealt with. That’ll be good for a laugh.”
 You get the picture. Bob calls them “scenarios”, as in “what would happen if….” I call them “let’s throw some random crud at WMAP and see what happens”

I’m seriously torn between intense frustration and overwhelming pride. I get so frustrated because I spend so much time preparing  for each lesson's flight, thinking about what we did last time and where I came up short & what I need to fix for next time. And then Bob throws this stuff at me that he concocts from nowhere. I just can’t keep up with him. I try to anticipate what he might throw at me, but he’s obviously a lot more creative than I am. The pride comes from the fact that most of the time I do manage to muddle my way through it. It’s a really fine line between overwhelming me and bolstering my confidence. Bob just seems to be able to skirt the right side of it each time. When I’m in the air I’m constantly cursing him (and I make no bones about this. I’m very vocal in my dislike for unfamiliar situations) but when I have a chance to reflect I’m thinking “how the hell did you manage to get me to do that?”
Especially when he pulls the “I’m going to conveniently ignore your loudly expressed dislike and just make you fly” crap.

Today he decided that we were going to get caught in some “fog coming in off the lake” and not be able to follow our normal route back from the practice area. He got me to look at the chart and plan a landing at Buttonville. First question, how are you going to get there? I took a quick look and figured that the highway took me straight there. Next points; where are you? So how do you find the highway? A couple of minutes of thought told me, it didn’t matter where I was , all the north/south roads I could see eventually terminated at the highway. All I needed to do was follow one south, it didn’t actually matter which one.
Bob seemed relatively content with my line of reasoning because he saw fit to help me figure out the radios and prompt me with the position calls etc. Ok I was a little behind the plane but no more so than anyone being thrust into an unexpected situation.  For someone who has never made a “transiting your zone, please let me through” call before I coped pretty well. Next time I’ll have a much better idea of what to do.

Which of course is of no use to me whatsoever because next time Bob’ll have something even more dastardly planned and I’ll be back to making it up on the fly (pun intended!)


Monday, 25 March 2013

Beware instructors brandishing charts

I may have to confiscate Bob's charts, they cause me all sort of problems. I knew it was going to be a fun* flight. As I started off my preflight checks, I got as far as “passengers briefed.” I took a quick glance over at Bob, primarily to reassure myself that a) he’s still in the plane and b) he’s strapped in with his window shut; basically that he’s in the plane and planning on staying in it!  I call out “passengers briefed” and see Bob busy over his chart, pencil at the ready.

I know that look.

I know exactly what he’s up to.

He’s planning an “alternative route.”

I think I was quite justified in my response to that checklist item being “oh look the passenger is currently seeing just how he can screw over his student this lesson!”

Sure enough he picked out another town, thus throwing my carefully marked off route into disarray. Meh, I got us there anyways!
Later on, apparently just for the hell of it, Bob decided that he’d pull back the power for a forced approach. I’ve done these before, reasonably successfully. This time though, once he’d pulled back the power, that was it. Again Bob seemed to develop a deep fascination with his chart and the view out the right side of the plane. Absolutely no help was forthcoming from him then. Bob has this very carefully cultured “I’m not going to answer any of your questions, nor respond to any of your swearing” look. They must teach it in instructor school or something. So I figured I may as well just take a bash at it and see what happens.

Result, we made the field, I held off with the flaps because the winds were reasonably strong. Bob said this was the right call (when he eventually started speaking to me again), so obviously he started looking for the next new and exciting way to screw me over! That’s for another post.
I suppose I should somehow be flattered that he thinks I can handle this stuff now; because it would appear that I actually can!

Bring it on!

 *Again note the ironic use of the word “fun” here



Sunday, 24 March 2013

Astounding achievement

Today I successfully managed something absolutely astounding…. I managed to draw a straight line on a chart using a pencil and ruler!

Whoopy-do right? Hmm yeah, except I was flying a bloody plane at the time! Seriously, this is the first time that I’ve managed to trim the plane out and have sufficient confidence to take my hands off the controls long enough to manage this. Honestly it is harder than it sounds!
Oh Bob is so funny at times*, he refuses to let me get ahead of the game. When I turn up with my VTA chart all nicely marked up with our route to the practice area highlighted with all the relevant landmarks noted, he decides nah, we’re gonna do a diversion to <insert random place here> instead.

Sigh, a girl just can’t catch a break. Still I got us there though.


* by funny I may mean bloody irritating, in a nice way of course!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Last night,

I fell asleep on the sofa, whilst reading “From the Ground Up”. Unfortunately, nothing unusual there.

Tonight, when I brought the book with me as my bedtime reading material RTH asked “shall I even bother getting my book?” The implication being that I’d be asleep before he got into bed.

I managed a whole 15 minutes before giving up in disgust. RTH failed to understand my developing horror at the realisation that “I have nothing in that plane that’s of any bloody use to help me find my way at all.” When called on to elaborate I carried on “I’ve got a whole sodding page of ‘sources of compass error’ here and my Heading Indicator needs resetting every 15 minutes, it’s a miracle anyone stays on the right fricken continent let alone the correct course”

He disagrees.

Friday, 22 March 2013

How my life has changed since I started flying

Last post was number 300! That means you fine people have sat through 300 posts filled with my self-doubt and angst. Well done you. I thought it might be fun to stick up a “how my life has changed post”

These are true (mostly!)

·         On a Friday afternoon retreat to the pub, friends inevitably ask me “flying tomorrow or drinking?” because they know if I’m doing the former then I won’t be doing the latter. Seriously I suspect my alcohol consumption has dropped by about 80%

·         I’ve forgotten what it is like to read for pleasure. I feel rebellious if I pick up a book to read that isn’t about flying

·         An evening of fun with my husband involves a VNC chart, a VTA chart and a copy of the Canadian Flight Supplement

·         My study looks like an aviation shop exploded in there. Every surface appears to have something aviation related strewn over it.

·         A CAR is no longer something you drive

·         the weather forecasts on TV drive me insane because they don't give me the info I need.( don't care about how sunny it is , what's the crosswind?)

·         I’m more likely to tune into ATC on the radio than watch the TV. I even paid for the live ATC app on my phone despite having a frequency scanner box at home.

·         "Emergencies" at work make me laugh - you about to crash? No? Then it's not an emergency.

·         I've invented a new form of currency, the "flying lesson". One cut and colour at the stylist is roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of a flying lesson. The new boots I want are about 2/3.

·         I actually tried to trim out my World of Warcraft flying mount for straight and level flight.

·         I appear to have developed motor skills - I have no idea where from but I can actually manoeuvre a shopping cart around without killing anyone. Primarily because it doesn't have massive wings strapped to the side. After taxiing an aircraft anything else is a doddle

·         Very little in life fazes me anymore, I managed to successfully organise a large conference that I’d been thrown into at the last minute without breaking a sweat.

·         Life is exciting again.

·         I’m having more fun than I’ve had in years!



Thursday, 21 March 2013

One step ahead.

I think I’m managing this “staying ahead of the plane” stuff a little better now; however now I’ve got to keep one step in front of Bob! I’ve gotten to the stage where I can figure out something is not right but Bob still beats me to the solution. A couple of examples from today’s lesson illustrate this beautifully

I was climbing out from my overshoot after a forced approach, we started to encounter more than average turbulence. For some reason the updrafts always get bad around the SW corner of Claremont) but this was worse than previously encountered. I could feel that the plane was doing all kinds of mildly funky stuff without my say so. As I looked around I could see that we had a little local pocket of weather, some cloud (maybe a little snow?) I pointed this out to Bob and he suggested that we level off our climb a little earlier than planned to remain clear. I’d have figured that out eventually. I know not to climb into cloud.
Also coming back into the city, ATC pulled a “change of plan” number on me, switching me from a left to right downwind on 33. The instruction I got was basically to turn south to pick up the right downwind. I’ve moved beyond blindly following ATC instructions now and looked around realising that making a 90 degree turn would put me very close to some very tall buildings. I knew enough not to make the turn but was obviously floundering for a solution, Bob pointed out that we should make a 270 instead. I would have gotten there eventually, just not quite as quickly as he did.

Couple this the fact that he’s warned me he’s going to start “mixing it up a bit”, It’s like I’m back in the circuit again wondering what he’s going to break next! I’m ahead of the plane but not ahead of the instructor !

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Shooting the breeze

We had some time to kill down at the flight school (see this post) as well as chatting about everyday stuff, Bob and I took some time to discuss some more aviation related things. Lots of people coming and going, even a couple of flight tests scheduled. Little bit of hanger talk, lots of discussion about the sucky and surprising weather. Mostly people peering at the computer screen, tracking the latest precipitation on the radar and trying to figure out just how the hell the winds were blowing in the opposite direction to what you’d expect given the configuration of high and low pressure (we never did!) All I know is that lake effect is a bitch.

Bob was hanging around to see if things would pick up for his next student, I took advantage of this to corner him for some questions that had been bugging me. I’d been looking through some stuff on the internet (quelle surprise!) and running through some of the ground portion of the flight test questions. I knew that I was still a little hazy on the paperwork requirements. I mean we’d covered the theory in class a long time ago but I didn’t recall if I’d ever actually seen some of the paperwork. I probably couldn’t tell you what a Certificate of Airworthiness looked like. So we pulled the paperwork reqs apart one piece at a time. Looking at real world examples, talking about what invalidates what and so on. It’s not as complicated as I feared (and as some of the books make out).I’m a lot happier that I could talk an examiner through why my plane is legal to fly.
I know I’m jumping the gun a little bit here and Bob assured me that we would have spent some time going through this before my flight test but once I realise that I don’t know or am not comfortable with something it eats away at me. I feel unsettled about it. I don’t cope well with knowing that I don’t know something. The paperwork thing particularly eats away at me. The first item on the checklist for my walkround is "paperwork / POH on board." At the moment I just look behind the seat and see if the general lump of stuff is there. Everytime I do it a little voice niggles at me, telling me that I should actually be looking at it!  I absolutely believe that this was on Bob’s future agenda. I just pre-empted the whole conversation a little.

We also talked through some scenario based questions, I spend a lot of time thinking about “what if” and I like to talk these through with whoever happens to be around. Sometimes it’s Bob, sometimes RTH. We discussed the decision making processes around executing a precautionary landing. I came to the astute conclusion that it was better to have to phone the owner and tell him his plane is at another airport, than have to tell him his plane’s in a field!

Oh and when I left Bob was flicking through the Flight School’s Pre Solo (practice area) quiz to ensure that we’d covered everything on it. This is the quiz I have to pass before they’ll let me take a plane out to the practice area on my own. Obviously this’ll be coming my way soon.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bad habits (again)

Sometimes I both love and simultaneously loath the videos of my flights. It’s good from a review point of view. I’ve flown the 360 method for forced approaches a thousand times in my head now; I’ve gone from not having a clue to a fairly good mental picture. So that’s good.

The bad thing is that I can’t hide my bad habits at all. RTH asked me about some video he saw of me where I had my right hand on top of the instrument panel. He wasn’t being a jerk or anything, just pointing out that it is actually kind of dangerous to fly like that really. Your hand should be on the throttle if it is not required elsewhere. I quickly assured him that I only rest my hand there when Bob’s demoing; I do it so that there’s no doubt about who’s flying the plane.
Except that may not be entirely true. I do have a sneaky habit of holding-on-to-the-dash-for-dear-life. Especially if we hit a few bumps in the air, or the plane does something wonky. I think it goes back to my fear of grabbing onto something I shouldn’t! Despite my protestations to the contrary it became blatantly obvious from watching the video of my last flight that the hand creeps up there occasionally. RTH didn’t say much, just a pointed “ahem!” every time he saw it happening.

Oh I need to stop doing that, kill the bad habits now before they become a serious liability. That’s why I hate the camera. It doesn’t lie. I can’t bullsh!t my way out of that. Probably this is a good thing.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Random things that irritate me.

(there is some aviation content here, I promise)

I used to be quite an angry person. Although not so much anymore it would seem. I was an angry teenager (are there any other kind?), I did well enough in high school grade wise, but always skirted the borders of being in trouble with the powers that be due to my tendency to question everything. Looking back, my more shrewd teachers encouraged my rage-against-the-machine attitude in the hope that they could channel it into something more productive. The less savvy attempted to tame me and thus we clashed.
Nowadays there are less and less things that provoke such a ridiculously strong emotion in me like the ones I experienced in high school, I mean I still have a reputation at work as someone you don’t p!ss off  but no one feels like their life is in danger anymore. Recently though a couple of things have happened that have left me feeling generally very annoyed.

The one with a tenuous link to aviation was a TV commercial. Now TV annoying me is nothing unusual. I loathe scientifically inaccurate TV, be it film or documentary. Scientific ignorance is probably the one thing still guaranteed to get my blood boiling every time. We have a fantastic advert screening at the moment for a “chemical free” floor cleaner. Arghhh, my keyboard is suffering as I type this!
This advert though was for chocolate and a toy; yep the ubiquitous children’s treat “Kinder Surprise”. Only this is a special one, this is “Kinder Surprise for Girls” (bear with me there is flying stuff coming up)

Why oh why is there a special version for females? It comes with pretty pink flowers and dress up stuff. Beautiful reinforcement of gender stereotypes. I don’t have a problem with girls doing dress up and stuff but why are we promoting the idea that this is all they should aspire to? Put on some pretty lipstick dear and that’s all you’ll need in life.
It got my thinking about a conversation I had with a friend recently, neither of us would describe ourselves as “feminists” but both of us are going through a stage in our lives where we are questioning certain things.

Now I’ve always been in a male dominated environment, my physics undergrad class was 100 students, 6 females. It has never bothered me in the slightest. Not a single person in my family ever directed my life based on my gender. I was always encouraged to do exactly what I wanted to. That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced prejudice in my life, but let’s face it; no one has the luxury of going through life unchallenged. But I’m still acutely aware that I am in a minority aviation wise. If I take my flying school as an example, there were approx. 30 of us in ground school, 3 females. I know of exactly one female flight instructor. None of the dispatch staff are women and I haven’t come across any women down there working towards their CPL. I cannot help but ask why.
I actually don’t know who to be mad at. Statistically 50% of the people I encounter at the flight school should be female. Why aren’t they? I have a hard time believing that anyone of my generation has encountered sufficient prejudice to put them off. I’m pretty certain that in a progressive country like Canada (or the UK) that kind of chauvinism  doesn’t exist anymore. I honestly thought we were beyond that. Or maybe I’m just blissfully oblivious to it (it has been known!).

So honestly, who should I be more mad at, men for their alleged bigotry or women for not taking advantage of the opportunities that they now have access to (opportunities that their ancestors would have killed for)?
I’ve been harbouring these thoughts for a while. I think what brought it to a head was the fact that last week was “Women in Aviation Week.”* Normally I despise such things. I mean can you imagine the feminist uproar if there was a “Men in Aviation Week”? In my mind I’d like to think that there is no reason for such things, why would you draw attention to a gender divide that simply has no reason to exist? And yet exist it does, I’m planning to attend some extra ground school lessons soon. I can pretty much guarantee you that no more than 10% of us will be female.

I don’t like not understanding things. I simply can’t tell you why woman are in a minority when it comes to aviation. I can’t even tell you why it bothers me that they are. Why should I care? It is not like anyone ever stopped me from doing the stuff I wanted. Bob has never turned around and said " I'm sorry I can't teach you this because you're a girl."**

Maybe I should just leave the pretty girls to their eyeshadow while I fly my plane. 

Maybe I should just give up caring.
Or maybe I should just lay off the wine on a Sunday night!

* Incidentally this is how Oshawa airport got its “female friendly” designation. Airports could sign up for a competition and register how many “intro flights” they offered to women. Obviously they won that year. I wonder how much of an impact stunts like that actually make.

** For the record, not a smart thing to say to me. In case you were wondering!!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I’m beginning to take the weather personally now. Today was just nasty and completely uncalled for. It started off really promising. The usual plan, solo if the winds permit if not then practice area and have a go at precautionary landings.

I’m in a good frame of mind flying-wise at the moment. Confident that I’m developing sound skills, both in flying and judgement. It’s been a good week at work and I’m generally I’m quite upbeat. A fact which  became readily apparent to the poor souls walking along the lakefront this morning as I sang my way along with the music on my phone! Sometimes I forget to check if there are people around.
By the time I got off the ferry there were a few suspicious flakes of the white stuff in the air. Hmmm. Not good. Flight school ops call for no precipitation if a student is soloing, so that looked like being out of the question. Bob and I agreed that I’d do my walkround and then I’d call flight services and see what their take on it was. At this point I was still confident that I’d at least be flying.

I did my walkround, queried a slightly underinflated tyre on the nose wheel and strapped my stuff in. Flight services were a little more pessimistic than the METAR and TAFs. In fact they started off by saying “not VFR” conditions. That is not a good start. The precipitation just seemed to come out of nowhere. No one predicted it at all.  Flight Services still reckoned I’d be good for circuits though. So Bob and I discussed a plan of action revolving around dual circuits, mostly looking at improving my landings! No surprise there.
Trouble was it seemed to be getting worse. We delayed slightly to see if the snow could clear. It was coming down harder at this point and accumulating on the planes outside. Bob shared his concern that our plane was warm and snug in the hanger. When we pulled it out, any snow hitting it would melt instantly but then probably freeze again on takeoff. Ice and wings are not a good combination.

We waited some more, I was in no hurry. I kind of like being around when there are people coming and going. Eventually we had to admit defeat. The snow was accumulating on the ground by now. A centimetre or so here and there. I stuck around for a while, Bob and I walked through some theory stuff (more on that in another post) then I faced the yucky trek home in my light summer sneakers that were never designed for trudging through the snow.
Seriously weather, WTF?