Post #109 Up Up and Away
You may have seen my earlier comments about height. Height and I are not found of each other. I have managed to work my self up to some ladder work, but, I’ve got to convince myself that I’m not on a ladder, that it’s not shaking, and that the ground isnt’ WAY down there.
Yet, I don’t mind flying, I don’t like airports, but flying is ok. Surprisingly, there is ONE flight I actually enjoyed; I’ve done it twice in my life. I enjoyed riding on a float plane, or to some, it’s called a sea plane.
My only two rides were while visiting Lake Bemidji, Minnesota. The second ride included a good friend and his two-year old daughter.
Let me share. It was a cloudy day, the wind was from the north, and we needed a diversion from our one week vacation. It was early June, the fishing was poor. We were sharing a cabin with our friends and their two children, one an infant. This was our pre-children age, and taught me that sharing a cabin was something that took a lot more thought than we had put into it. Actually, as I look back, MY personality probably was NOT conducive to that arrangement in my early twenties.
Cabin fever, drove us into town, at the south end of the lake. There we found this statue, a children’s amusement park and the float plane ride. Somehow we opted for this 15 minute flight around the area. This was little, Piper Cub Float Plane, my friend and his daughter sat in the back jump seat, I, beside the pilot. Did I say the wind was from the north, and we were at the SOUTH end of the lake? Truly, we were in the southwest corner, of the lake. We piled into the plane, taxied away from the dock, the pilot turned right. TURNED RIGHT?? We went a little way, cutting across the bottom of the lake from southwest to southeast, down wind. The pilot increased the speed and pulled up on the stick, up, plop down. He did this a couple of times. Now, I’m not a pilot, but my father was, and one thing I remember him saying, is you NEVER take off down wind!!
So, I’m sitting beside the pilot, and he’s doing the increase engine speed, pull on the stick, plop down. I’m looking out the windshield and watching the southeast end of the lake closer getting closer. Closer!! This portion of the lake bank is 6o feet high AND we’re headed directly for the Bemidji water tower!
A couple more lifts and plops, and I can no longer contain myself. Yes, I’m a take charge person, but NOT a pilot. So, I turn to the pilot, and casually ask………. (noting our down wind take off attempts) “So, how much experience do you have flying float planes?”
He shoved the throttle forward, kicked the left rudder (turning to the north), pulled back on the stick and within 100 feet, we were up, up and way! The pilot turned to me and said, ” 33 years flying bush in Alaska for the Army!” Ok, he got me!!!
I quietly enjoyed the remainder of the ride, and kept my mouth shut!