I was scheduled to fly today. Woke up just in time, took a shower and otherwise made myself fit for human contact. Got ready to catch a bus to xmurf's place, and from there to the Bremerton ferry. That's the only part of the day that went as planned.
I can't find my sunglasses. I'm rather photosensitive and basically blind when the sun's out. Sunglasses help to the point where I do not walk (or fly my plane into) large metal objects. So they were kinda important. Waste waaaaay too much time looking. Find the glasses, rush out of Casa del Biomass. Miss my bus, of course. However, I don't know this yet, because the bus stop lists incorrect times. So I stand there for twenty minutes or so, before heading into the apartment to page xmurf. Moments after I send the page, xmurf shows up in a cab, and we rush off to the ferry docks.
Miss the ferry by ten minutes, of course.
At which point xmurf has a brilliant idea. Matt, our buddy-in-aerial-mischeif, was going to pick us up at the ferry dock in Bremerton and drive us to the Bremerton airfield. Instead, we can catch a cab out to Boeing Field, which is in Seattle-proper, and Matt can fly out and get us. Matt agrees. xmurf and I head to the McDonald's at the ferry dock (neither of us has eaten, and we're both rather hungry). He gets a value meal, I get a chocolate ice cream cone. I had been feeling silly to begin with, but rushing to catch a taxi, clutching a chocolate ice cream cone gives everything surreal, festival overtones. Makes all the colors a little brighter - happy flying day! It was great. It also contributed to my decision to swipe xmurf's digital camera to take pictures of completely random things.
So we catch a cab to BFI (Boeing Field International). BFI looks like this:
Sundrenched and huge and busy and loud. I hadn't been there before, but it's scarily busy. I can only imagine landing or taking off from, say, SeaTac in my darkest moments.
Matt arrives shortly; PWT to BFI is about ten minutes. Matt's landing at BFI:
So we flew to PWT. Very sunny, near-infinite visibility, the mountains knife-edged and glowing, the water below us so clear you could see the shape of the bottom, the falloffs and ridges, hand-print shaped indentations, and deep crevasses where the water was murky blue-green. PWT is small and tree-lined and very near the water:
As soon as we get to Bremerton, I'm supposed to be up. I'm in "blue bomber" - a Cessna 172:
I could write an entry twice the length of this one on my feelings and thoughts in the air, and tedious details of what we did. I will summarize: Today we worked on slow flight, which is a lot like flying the plane through particularly perverse lime jello - the controls respond slowly and unevenly. On basic skills like trimming and keeping the nose where you want it and maintaining altitude, and such. Also on recovering from a stall, which is scary and fun, and I wanted to do another right after the first one... until I realized how badly the adrenaline was making me shake. Also on landing. Many, many landings, the last one of which I did about 90% on my own, everything except for the final moments.
(I still want to do another stall. Heh. Nothing quite like feeling the plane fall under you - and fixing it yourself!)
After I was done in the air, xmurf and I went up to the pilot's lounge and had a brief theoretical discussion of landings and takeoffs, at which point xmurf's instructor had arrived, and he went up. He also practiced landings and takeoffs:
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
This is Cessna (the bird, that is. The grease-and-plane-fuel-stained hand is mine). Matt's girlfriend found him, sitting far too still, on the tarmac, and carried him into the terminal. Cessna is beautiful - glossy irredescent blueblack back and wings, rust face, cream belly. Forked tail, boomerang-shaped wings, flat beak. Swallow, I think. None of the pilots knew what to do with him, so they stuck him on a box, and tried to give him water, or encourage him to fly off.
I was raised by a competent veterinarian, I have a long-standing bird obsession, and I've raised birds of one sort or another for as long as I can remember. When I was done flying, I gave Cessna the most thourough checkout I could, and found that he was definitely sick - trouble keeping his balance, breathing hard, and acting sick (fluffed feathers, etc) - but found no injury or difficulty moving, nor any of the concrete symptoms I know to look for. Got him to drink a little, which seemed to help.
Kept checking up on Cessna while xmurf was flying, and later, while Matt was flying. Made him drink occasionally and monitored his breathing, but that was about all I could do. Seems obvious he'd be in no condition to fly that day. I'm a total softie - I volunteer to take him home.
Of course, getting home turns to to be surprisingly difficult. Matt, who is giving us a ride to the ferry dock, stays out very late on his cross-country flight. We finally get to the terminal just in time to miss the 10PM ferry. Next one is at (gyaah) half past midnight. So xmurf and I sit in the ferry terminal, with a small cardboard box containing a sleeping sick swallow.
We board the ferry, ride the ferry, get off the ferry, and surprise, surprise, we've just missed the 1:02 bus up to Broadway. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. The next one is at 2:17. One is rather leery of having a sick swallow in the cold for that long, but one hasn't a choice.
So I finally get up to Broadway (the bus does not go all the way to my apartment - I have a few blocks, at 3 in the morning, with a sick swallow, to walk. Heh.), and from the other side of the street, there are a series of feminine screams, a male voice shouting, and the sound of blows. So I cross the street, still carrying a sick swallow, and investigate for a while, but don't find anything.
So, then, finally, I get home and put Cessna in our quarentine cage, far away from the other birds. If I never write anything in this journal again, assume my roommate ripped me limb from limb for taking in Cessna. >wink