We got a taste of Spring a little early this past weekend in Chicagoland, with temperatures reaching into the 60′s and gorgeous clear skies. I wasn’t the only pilot who had the itch to fly as the skies were full with general aviation aircraft. This past Sunday my wife and I went back to Pilot Pete’s (which hadn’t been to since the fall) for dinner. Everything about the flight and the day went great. I had probably my finest landing to date at Schaumburg that afternoon, just a perfect greaser (the non-existant winds probably helped too).
The flight helped me also flight-test my Mio C320 personal navigation device with the NavGPS Pro software (see my full review here), since I was flying with our club’s older Cessna 172 without a moving map GPS. I gotta admit, my little GPS system (which cost under $100) performed just as well as a built-in GPS system for my needs. My only complaint with the Mio is that during the late afternoon with the sun low in the sky, the glare off the screen was pretty bad. Once the sun wasn’t direct, though, the screen was totally readable and the software did great.
The dinner was awesome as usual at Pilot Pete’s and my wife and I had a great time. This trip I logged 1.0 hours of flight time.
Today I had (what I’m guessing will be) my last flight of 2008. And what a great way to end just an year year in aviation for me (well, really my inaugural year in aviation)! I had the pleasure of taking up an old family friend (Marty) and my Dad today. Marty had only flown once before in his entire life – on a commercial jet about 20 years ago. Ever since, he has always wanted to fly again, and try flying in a small aircraft. I was so proud to help him fulfill this dream as we flew today.
As I was planning the flight starting yesterday, the weather reports were iffy and I was truly concerned we were going to have to scrub the flight. Luckily the weather was holding off, and the weather briefer assured me the snow and high winds weren’t coming into the area until later in the afternoon (plenty of time to get in our flight …and lunch… since we were flying around 11am). Sure enough, the weather was great and although there was a steady crosswind for the landings back at Westosha, the flight wasn’t that bumpy at all. The landing at Schaumburg (our destination) was a true greaser – one of my best landings to date! We had lunch at Pilot Pete’s, the first time for my dad to dine there. Marty had actually eaten there before since he used to work around the area. We tried to fly over his old work near there, but the proximity to O’Hare’s airspace kept me from putzing around too much to try to find it. After looking at photos when we got back, we realized we probably flew RIGHT over it, but didn’t get a good picture. Oh well, next time!
As I mentioned, the flight went great, and it was a treat for me as a pilot to take someone up who was really “wow’ed” by flying. My Dad had a great time too…he’s loving flying. Anyway, I hope 2009 brings many more great hours of flight and many more years after that! This flight I logged 1.1 hours of pilot-in-command time. You can see more pictures from the day by clicking here or on the picture of me and Marty!
Three days after I passed my checkride, I had the pleasure of taking my wife, Lisa, up for my first flight with a passenger! It was a very proud moment for me as this was my first real flight after the checkride as a full pilot. I had taken up Lisa with my CFI before, but this was the first time just the two of us.
Since Wednesdays are our normal “date night”, I planned a trip to Schaumburg airport (06C) to eat at “Pilot Pete’s”…a restaurant which I heard lots of good things about (plus I had never been to 06C before). Since my flight was in the evening and we’d be returning after dark, I decided to take one of our club’s 172SP’s. The 32 nm trip took only about 16 minutes as these SP’s really haul (especially with only 2 people inside). The ride went great, and it was very cool to fly as close to O’Hare airspace as Schaumburg gets. I had to fly pretty low to keep under the Class B airspace, but it gave us some awesome views of huge houses in Barrington and such.
Dinner at Pilot Pete’s was outstanding…what a cool restaurant! We were seated overlooking our plane on the ramp even. It was very cool to see other planes landing and taking off, and especially cool to hear little kids in neighboring tables awed at the planes coming in and leaving. It was fun to think that only minutes before they saw ME land in amazement!
The flight back was very smooth – a beautiful Chicago night. Visibility was great. Lisa was admittedly scared coming in for the landing at Westosha (since it’s so dark in Wisconsin)…but it went fine. I then went around the pattern for 2 more full stop landings (just to stay night-current for another 90 days). On the way home we talked about how great our new type of date night was – one where you FLY to your destination for the date!
This flight I logged 1.3 hours of flight as PIC.