September 6th, 2002


more flying!

I went flying with Aaron today. 1.7 hours on N3334Q, with 1.4 simulated instrument time. A shame, really: it was a gorgeous blue sky day today, and all I got to look at was the instrument panel.

We went to Decatur for the ILS 6 and the VOR 18, then came back to Champaign for the ILS 32. They've renamed the runways at Champaign; it's going to take me some time to stop thinking and saying 32L, 22R, etc. The parallel runways are gone forever, to be replaced by some new better runways that are still under construction. Basically our only runway is 32-14, with 18-36 and 4-22 closed due to the construction. It gets busy: I found myself fourth in line for the runway today.

I got to see an interesting new side of my flight instructor today. Our departure controller was really not doing a very good job, missing calls, correcting himself, vectoring people through final, etc etc. Aaron has apparently dealt with him before: the first time he answered my call I heard Aaron say "Jeez, this guy. What a moron."

I'm not entirely sure what happened, but my guess is he failed to inform Decatur tower about us. So he turns us over to Decatur tower while on the ILS approach, and the tower controller is all confused, asks us what missed approach instructions we had been given (none), what our intentions were after this approach (miss it and do the second one), then asks us to hold at ELWIN (a navigation fix, the locator outer marker if anyone cares) due to other traffic.

The problem was, ELWIN was already behind us at this point. We were only a couple miles from the runway and I was very busy trying to keep the needles centered and clean up the plane for landing. Basically, we had to make a 180 while on the ILS final approach course and head back to the fix. Of course this immediately pegs the needles, invalidating the approach, so now we have to climb, rather rapidly, back up to the Minimum Safe Altitude, make up some sort of ad hoc procedure turn to get us back onto the final approach course on the other side of ELWIN, and then start over again, descending back down to the glideslope intercept altitude, again rather rapidly.

It was really irritating and I expect had this happened in actual instrument conditions it would have been somewhat harrowing.

But I've droned on about flying esoterica that no one but planegirl will understand anyway. The point to my story is that Aaron until now has been nothing but the calm, nerves-of-steel, ex-military flight instructor. But as we were turning around, climbing, and fumbling with the approach plate so we could figure out where we were and what we were going to do, he kept repeating "This guy fucked us! He totally fucked us! God, I can't believe how bad this guy fucked us!!"

I guess everyone has their pressure release valve. And he was back to normal again after the incident.

1.7 hours is about my limit for instruction, I think. I was totally spaced out and dazed for a while when we got back on the ground.

Oh yeah: Aaron told me he kept me on while foisting his other students on other instructors because he feels I'm furthest along, learning the fastest, and that we work very well together in the cockpit. I agree with the last one, and the first two kind of made my day.

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home cooking!

Yum. As I was leaving to go grocery shopping tonight Kathy was cooking up something that smelled yummy and looked simple. I didn't know what exactly at the time (I found out later it was a sausage-and-egg burrito), but it inspired me to make a couple of additions to my shopping list.

When I got home I made a batch of huevos con chorizo. With Tobasco. Yum. I really can cook, I'm just 1)lazy and 2) bad at planning meals.

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