Saturday, 13 December 2014

Threading the needle

Coming back from the trip with RTH, I dutifully dialed in and listened to the ATIS. Nothing much had changed, winds were reasonable, runway was still 08.

 I made my call and confirmed to ATC that I had indeed departed from City earlier. I swallowed hard as I read back my joining instructions….  “cleared left downwind for 08”

Ah crud, I’m not a student anymore. I don’t really have an excuse. It’s a low approach over the city for me.  Over the downtown core at 2000ft and below.


I’m not massively comfortable with this, Toronto is a city still in the middle of an economic upturn. New towers are popping up seemingly overnight. Even since I started learning the core has changed beyond recognition in places. So now I find myself confronted with having to thread my plane between the CN tower and the new Aura condo tower at College Park, all 78 storeys of it.


RTH recognises the unhappy noises I’m emitting and reminds me “you can always request the right downwind if you want”

I consider it, it would make me feel more comfortable but no, I need to do this. I need to salvage something tangible from this flight. An achievement. And besides the city is kinda cool up from up here and one of the things I want to do is take friends up for the city tour, I need to get used to being this low over downtown.

I bite the bullet and thread the needle, fighting the inevitable turbulence thrown up by the highways and general urban terrain. I don’t have enough eyes for this. I need to monitor my airspeed and altitude for any deviations and fix them instantly, while at the same time keeping my head on the proverbial swivel for the other sightseeing traffic around.

Obviously I did an Okay job as RTH seemed more concerned with taking pictures than my proximity to the local landmarks!

Next post I’ll pull some of his pictures for you, they are incredible. I’m glad one of us was able to enjoy the view.

Mission aside I think my next flight is going to include a City tour, now that I’ve figured out how to thread the needle, I’m going to sew my name in the sky!

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