Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Not exactly to plan (part 2)

I wander into the pilot’s lounge at Muskoka, mildly amazed that JES and I are down on the ground in one piece. I’m not sure what I’m expecting as I open the door but it wasn’t the enthusiastic “Hey it’s Echo Sierra!” that I got.

Turns out that the plane doing the full stop (and thus necessitating my 360 orbit) had also come from city, taking off just before me.

He laughingly apologised for making me go around, he’d been practicing flapless landings and had landed longer than normal. I laughed it off, “I kinda lost the airport for a while, I was glad of the chance to orbit and grab my bearings.” I replied.

We chatted for a while. I got my log book stamped and contemplated my next move. I’m still nervy and Peterborough is the worst leg. I know the airport is tricky to find and the winds are predicted to swing 180 degrees at some point. I’m anxious about joining the circuit. I got disoriented last time and now, contemplating the idea of having to join for the other runway, scares me silly.

I consider turning around and making the trip back to Toronto. But when I did the trip with my brother I didn’t fare so well on the leg back. Slightly off track could see me in controlled airspace, whereas the trip to Peterborough doesn’t have those particular pitfalls. I cautiously check the upper winds and see that they still match what I based my planning on.  Ah what the hell, let’s go for it.

I have an out, if I miss Peterborough completely, I find Lake Ontario and follow the shoreline home.

The journey to Peterborough is an eerie copy of the first leg. I’m not exactly lost but the airport is nowhere to be found. In a sudden flash of insight I realise that I’m over a built up area.

That would be Peterborough. I circle overhead.

 Yay !!!! Airport!

I’m too high, no problem. Another orbit will sort that out. I spot the runway, cross over midway and join the circuit. Having no idea what I was stressing about , I fly the circuit, taking it a little wide on the base to final turn deliberately to allow the traffic in front to clear. I land and breathe a huge sigh of thanks yet again.

I find the nearest open taxi way and scoot off, near whispering “JES clear of the active” into the mike.
Parking is. once again, problematic but I shut her down without causing anyone any bother and set off in search of someone to endorse my log book. I notice a text from Bob inquiring as to whether I’ve made it yet. I realise that my little orbital detour has put me slightly behind schedule. Quickly I reassure him that myself and the plane are undamaged and I contemplate the next leg.

It’s actually fairly straight forward from here. I’m on the home stretch.

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