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Thu Mar 29, 2012, 12:38 AM

I believe I can fly

These pictures aren't all that great, partly because it was hazy yesterday and partly because they were taken through the window of my plane. However, they should give you an idea of what it's like flying a small plane at low altitudes, even though pictures never do justice to the experience.

The story behind them is a bit more interesting. One of the groups I volunteer for is called the Veteran Airlift Command (VAC). We transport injured veterans and active duty service members (and their families) on various trips they need to take on general aviation aircraft. On this trip I flew to San Antonio and picked up an active duty specialist who had been wounded by an IED in Afghanistan last October. He has been recovering at the Brook Army Medical Center. His wife is giving birth to their third child tomorrow in Russellville, AR. Due to his injuries, a trip by car (~12 hours) or by commercial aircraft wasn't an option. A commercial flight would have only gotten him as far as Little Rock anyway. In my plane, the trip took just 3 hours and 21 minutes and I landed just a few miles from their home.

This picture is between San Antonio and Austin just at the start of the overcast and light rain that covered San Antonio. A few minutes later I descended through the weather and right to the runway at San Antonio International Airport.


This is what a small general aviation terminal looks like.


The rest of these were taken over Arkansas.






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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply I believe I can fly (Original post)
Major Nikon Mar 2012 OP
bluesbassman Mar 2012 #1
Major Nikon Mar 2012 #2
Celebration Mar 2012 #3
Major Nikon Mar 2012 #4
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2012 #5
Major Nikon Mar 2012 #7
Adsos Letter Mar 2012 #6
Major Nikon Mar 2012 #8
Javaman Mar 2012 #9

Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 12:50 AM

1. Gives me a good feeling for it.

Been a while since I've been up in a small plane, but your shots bring back some good memories. Just not the same in a 737.

Thanks for posting these shots and kudos to the work you and the VAC do.

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Response to bluesbassman (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 01:09 AM

2. It's hard to beat the views down low

There are times when I wish I had something a bit faster, maybe with an extra engine, known ice, and pressurized to get me up in the flight levels. Ah well, maybe when I retire, but probably not. Until then the mighty Skylane is my magic carpet.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 09:23 AM

3. nice lake

So glad he got to be there for the child being born! Thank you.

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Response to Celebration (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 02:15 PM

4. The coolest lake I've ever seen from the air was Bear Lake in Utah

Unfortunately I didn't have a camera available when I flew over it. The lake is a perfect color of turquoise blue. It was truly breathtaking. Someday I'd like to go back there.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 07:57 PM

5. flying in a light plane is the nicest feeling.

I've the opportunity to do it quite a few times, over Washington state.
Gorgeous scenery, esp. the Islands.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:24 PM

7. I've done that

A couple of years ago I tried to fly my plane to the San Juan islands for a vacation. Unfortunately I couldn't get over the continental divide. I made it as far as Butte, Montana but there was clouds obscuring the mountains. Inside the clouds was severe icing, so I couldn't go through them, and I couldn't go under them because of the mountains. The weather wasn't due to clear for days. So we parked the plane in Butte, and rented a car for the drive to Seattle and beyond. While in Seattle, I bought a ride along on Kenmore Air's float plane as they delivered passengers to the islands. It wasn't that expensive and it was a great experience. I got to talking with the pilot about my bad luck getting over the mountains, so he let me ride up front. Later I bought a ride on an old beautifully restored open cockpit Travelair bi-plane on San Juan island. That was pretty cool.

The really sad part was the last part of my trip took us to Victoria, Canada. I could see Victoria from San Juan island. It would have only taken me 15 minutes or so to fly there. It took us 4 hours to get there by car.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:19 PM

6. Scariest ride I ever took was in a small plane.

It's a looooong way down, as your photos show.

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Response to Adsos Letter (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:26 PM

8. Altitude is your friend

If the whirly thing stops, you can always trade altitude for airspeed.

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Response to Major Nikon (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 09:42 AM

9. I thought you were flying pretty low in that second picture...

until I read the caption. LOL

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