corvi (corivax) wrote,

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<td></td><td> My flight adventures get wierder and wierder. Today, running a little late, xmurf, eeyorerin, and I arrived at the ferry terminal just in time to be pointed at the wrong ferry by the ticket seller. Bainbridge/Bremerton, what's the difference? Bainbridge island, by the way, smells wonderful. Sea salt smell upon the tongue, forest scent, and the air clean enough one expected it to squeak in the lungs. We caught a bus from Bainbridge to Poulsbo, traveled a narrow tree-lined highway, past purple foxglove and crazy-yellow scotch broom and tiny white flowers hidden amoungst the long nodding purplegray seed heads of the grass. Bus from Poulsbo to a mall in (?) Silverdale, where our usual partner-in-crime, Matt, picked us up and drove us to Bremerton. We were rather late, so Ryan preflighted the plane for eeyorerin and me himself. Not my usual plane; xmurf and I had gotten confused about which that was. I found this particular plane very difficult to handle. One had to stomp on the pedals to get any turns at all, and turning the yoke had a result of approximately zero, and (according to my instructor) it climbed terribly. Obviously, I need to learn how to handle such a plane, but I am not yet nearly good enough to fly it distracted and hurried in very turbulent skies, and I gave up after one rough landing. Flying a plane should not resemble breaking a horse to saddle (and yes, I'm allowed to make this comparison. I've done it).

Preflight is a sort of necessary ritual observance, checking over the plane to make sure it is safe to fly.

There always seems to be a strong wind in one direction or another on the airfield, scented of fuel and smoke and pine and freedom. Pacing around the plane, fingertips upon touchstone bolts, along the silksmooth edge of the prop, rattling guide rods for the ailerons, becomes a sort of dance with the wind, accompanied by the arcs swallows spiraling lazily upward over the tarmac cut in the air. Wind in hair and trenchcoat and along my curved fingers, seductive.

There is fuel to check for quality and color - it should be a very faint blue, like the color of the summer sky pressed thin between plates of glass. Check the engine, check the oil. And by now the wind is singing impatiently, or I am singing impatiently - 'come, dance with me, fly. leave all this behind and know, even for an hour, freedom.'

Pull down on the flaps to make sure they move freely, and the wind changes, more hollow and echoing thrum. The plane is a harp of gull's-wing metal, strung in climb and bank and glide and stall. The wind is a harp of a thousand voices, of the scent of smoke and the harsh cold metallic taste the air has above ground, needle strings of tension and sunlight and the intricate and beautiful eddies the wind spirals itself into.

So that by the time you scramble into the cockpit and check fuses and oil pressure and the master electrical switch, and switch on the transponder, fingers fumbling a bit in your haste to be flying, you are guided by a song every pilot hears, and maybe they all think of it differently, but I've watched them, and it's always there.

And then you are flying, and there is nothing else like it.

The moral of the story, I think, is that next time I am going to do my own preflight, even though I'm still slooooow. I felt so disconnected from that blasted plane, and I really wasn't in the mood to fly at that point, and if I'd preflighted it and felt the wind cold on the back of my neck, I would have been in the Zen pilot mindspace, which would have helped a lot.

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