Time off? I think not!

It has been a long time (1 month) since I’ve had a lesson, and it’s not because I was avoiding anything. No. It’s because I was VERY busy.

Let’s see. Well, I had a wonderful day of flying with Captain Glickman in the N7292J, when we joined my favorite boys – the EAA 602 crew – for an ice fly in on the Great Sacandaga lake on February 20th. Gorgeous day, and what an event! We flew out of 5B7 where the Captain keeps his plane, and I got to witness the takeoff with a full load (we had my luggage for a few trips on board!) on such a short runway with trees at the end. Was amazing to watch the mastery of an experienced pilot on that field. Nice!

We flew over to Lanzi’s on the lake and called in to the EAA602 boys. Cleared for landing (we checked to be sure that our companion Cherokee 140 had already landed on the ice) and did a fly over (while there were snowmobiles on the marked ice runway) and then came in for a landing. Video is here for your viewing pleasure. What a treat!

It was nice to have Dean Taber join us in his Skylane (which I actually had the chance to fly last week! Flew like a charm. Man, that things like a luxury car, and Deane keeps that baby fine tuned!). Captain Taber posed for a few manly photos outside his beauty plane for us. Always a pleasure to fly with you, sir!

After a great lunch, I had the opportunity to fly in my first tail-dragger! Fellow EAA602er Tim Devine took me up in his 1946 Champ. Wow. What an experience. Once we were up in the air and had some altitude, Captain Devine let me fly his Champ. My very first tail-dragger! And my first time flying from the back seat. It was so lovely! And Captain Devine seemed to think I did a good job, as noted in our post-flight interview video!

Prop service to KALB!

Back on the ground, I climbed aboard my favorite little plane, the N7292J with Captain Glickman in the left seat and headed over to KALB, with a quick low pass over our favorite blue ice shanty. BUZZ and a wave! See ya, guys! What a glorious day.

Landing in KALB, I removed all of my luggage and was driven from Million Air over to the main airport to catch my flight to BWI for work. First time I’ve ever gotten a ride in a plane to the airport! Yeah!

I think somewhere between there and landing at work, I ended up in the left seat of the Southwest airlines jet. I’ll have to go back and check on those photos. Yes. Amazing how I could forget an experience like that. Must have been some other important events that happened. Oh, yes!

After a few days at work I headed down to the Space Coast to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery launch from 3 miles away and spend a week with my favorite space geeks, the NASA Tweetup crew. Along with the launch we got to meet a few astronauts, watch the RSS retraction the night before, watch the Astrovan head out to the pad. Yes, the launch was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, felt, heard, in my life. Yes. Amazing.

No time for flying lessons while home for a week and then back on the road to the SXSW conference to talk about the NASATweetup. In transit I found an invitation to JSC from Mike Grabois, who trains the shuttle astronauts! Would I like to join him at the welcome home ceremony and then get a tour of the training facility? YES?

My friend John drove the 3.5 hours to Houston, where we arrived just in time for the STS133 Discovery crew welcome home. Met the astronauts and got autographs, photographs and hugs! Wow! They were in space a few days ago! And then had a magnificent tour of the Shuttle training facility, the pool facility where they dive for zero-G training, and a tour of all 3 mission controls. Yes, I was in heaven. What a fantastic thing to share. What a wonderful man Mike is for sharing this with us. Thank you, Mike!

The highlight of my tour was, of course, the space potty. Maybe sitting in the left seat of the space shuttle motion simulator. Hmm. Can’t decide. All in all, it was pretty WOW!

I’ll add lots of photos to the photo page soon! Promise!

Ad astra, and happy landings!

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