Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

31 January 2010

Fog Is Just A Four-Letter Word

Fog. Ugh. I never should have written about it. Talk about jinxing myself! I thought we were out of the fog season for a while, but just recently I had another encounter with it, this time during the day.

The plan was simple: Pick up the Boss at the hunting camp and take him 80 miles east to a little town where he had two meetings scheduled. With “site landings” (in other words, landing some place other than an airport) at either end, it was a perfect job for a helicopter.

However, one complication was the fog. The morning of our flight, all of southeastern Alabama was covered in fog. For some reason, our Home Base airport and the hunting camp were in the clear. But just about everywhere else to the east was socked-in. That was the good news. The fog would eventually burn off. The bad news was that some really nasty weather was supposed to move in later in the day in time for our return.

I landed at the camp and the Boss stuck his head in the passenger door of the ship. Some of the other people who were going to the meeting by car were having trouble on the ground.

”I just got a call from Bill,”
the Boss said.. “He’s in Greenville and he says the fog is so thick he can only drive 20 mph. Should we go?” He sounded worried. And he should have been.

“Heck, yeah!” I said. “Hop in. We’ll go as far as we can, then we’ll stop. It’ll burn off sooner or later.”

The reason I wanted to get underway quickly was that the meetings would wait for my Boss to get there before they could start. The later he arrived, the later the meetings would run. The afternoon weather was sure to get worse and worse.

Soon after taking off, we were over an area of fog that stretched, if not as far as the eye could see, almost. (I knew that it ended just north of Montgomery, Alabama and I had plenty of fuel, so no worries there.) At least it was beautifully clear above. At 2,500 feet, we could see forever – just not straight down. But with the bright sun shining, it would eventually burn off.

Some parts were patchy, with long, clear breaks through which you could see down. But fog drifts, and the silo or farm field you can see now is completely gone a minute later. As we traveled east, the fog soon became a solid blanket of white cotton below us. No way to guarantee that we could get down through it at the destination. Time to regroup. We backtracked to where it wasn’t so solid underneath.

Using the GPS, I found a little uncontrolled airport. Circling patiently, a break in the fog soon appeared. I set up a steep approach and came down through a big gap. On the ground, we found that many nearby airports had good visibility underneath the fog, which stood a couple/300 feet above the surface, just as the one we’d landed at. In calm winds, fog is usually down in the trees. But wind can help raise the fog up a little. And thankfully, on this day there was wind.

As long as I can have a little bit of altitude and can see forward a mile or so, I’m good. So instead of going over the fog, we decided to go under. Lower Alabama is all relatively flat, open farmland, and the risk of this type of flying is low. But it takes a bit of effort and skill. You can’t go fast. You have to keep a sharp watch out for birds, high powerlines and towers of any height. You have to be flexible as to your exact route. But you also have to know precisely where you are at all times so you don’t inadvertently fly over something like a big airport or into some restricted airspace (a moving-map GPS helps here – what did we do without them?). You have to be ready to make a 180 degree turn and backtrack, or perhaps just stop where you’re at and wait. And you have to accept the fact that you just might not make it to your destination. With those things in mind, you launch.

Airplane pilots frown on what we call “scud-running.” It used to be relatively common, but nowadays the conventional wisdom is that it’s just not safe. Perhaps you could get away with it back in the day of 80 mph Piper Cubs, but nearly all modern airplanes go way faster than that now. And airplanes cannot just stop in midair. But helicopters can! So yes, I scud-run when I have to. It’s not fun and I don’t like it, but it’s part of the job.

Fog is never completely uniform. There are thick parts and thin parts. Sometimes it’ll give you an adequate ceiling, other times it’ll be down in the trees. Sometimes there are big banks of it that drift along.

One day, years and years ago when I worked for Petroleum Helicopters I was stationed on an offshore oil platform way out in the Gulf of Mexico. It was early morning of “break day” for the oil company crew, and they wanted to go home. It was absolutely clear offshore – not a cloud in the sky – but the shore base at Fourchon, Louisiana was fogged-in solid. “Don’t even bother coming here,” they told me. We launched anyway. Two reasons. 1) It was nearly an hour flight into “the beach” and a lot can happen with fog in one hour. 2) Even if the base didn’t clear up, I figured we could land short on some other platform that was in the clear, and be that much closer to the beach when the fog finally burned off.

As we approached, the radio operator in the tower was being vague about the visibility. I could see why. A huge bank of fog lay on the edge of their property. Visibility to the east and north was virtually zero. But the base itself was in the clear, as was everything to the west. It was the strangest thing. The Air Logistics base, with its rows of shiny blue helicopters was clearly visible from five miles away. Right next to it, the Petroleum Helicopters base, with its rows of shiny yellow helicopters was just as prominent. I set up my approach and landed. After my passengers disembarked, one of the very senior pilots at the base stuck his head in my cockpit.

“How bad is it out there?”
he asked gravely, all concerned for my health and well-being as if I had just cheated death. I said, “John, look around. It’s beautiful!” And indeed it was. However, fifteen minutes later the fogbank rolled back over the base and covered us in a gloomy gray mist again. If anyone had taken off they would not have been able to make it back in for a while. I got my ass chewed that day for “flying in fog,” which I did not. I just lucked-out. With fog, timing is everything, and I had timed it right. I’m good like that.

You experience all of fog’s vagaries and peculiarities as you poke along, deviating this way and that, trying to keep some forward visibility. The flight with my Boss, which should have taken just under an hour, took instead ninety minutes, including stops, detours and side-trips. It was not one of my most pleasant flights, but it wasn't unreasonably risky or unsafe. Sometimes I just have to work for my money.

The Boss assured me that the meetings wouldn’t last long and that he’d be ready to leave by one p.m. I laughed. I knew better. People like meetings. People like long meetings - it gets them out of work. After dropping him off, I repositioned up to a nearby airport for fuel and to closely monitor the weather. I knew that only one part of the flying day was over: the easy part. The hard part was yet to come.

17 January 2010

Flying At Night - An Explanation

I realize that my post yesterday was about flying in bad weather, not really about flying at night. But trust me, if we’d taken off after dark the flight would have been more suspenseful, and I probably would not have been able to complete it.

Recently I was down in Destin, Florida, a little beach resort town on the coast, waiting for the Boss to get done with a meeting. Day turned into night. The Boss went to dinner. I waited and waited.

And that is simply the nature of this business. You own a helicopter to have it at your disposal, so you can get things done and get home and sleep in your own bed at night. You employ a pilot and you pay him very well to sit at little dinky airports and wait for you without complaining. If I had the money I would do the same thing.

The Boss showed up around ten p.m. and we launched for Home Base. It can take between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the wind and which way I go around the huge Eglin Air Force Base property which is usually a big, impenetrable barrier.

It was the middle of "winter": a clear, cold, and windy night, with no forecast of any inclement weather. The northwest wind made our progress slow. The higher we got, the slower we went. Needless to say, I stayed down low to minimize the effect of the wind.

As soon as Eglin Approach Control had me in radar contact, they cleared me to go directly to our destination. Sometimes, when they are not using their airspace they will do this. But it doesn’t happen often. I’ll tell you something about Eglin Air Force Base: It is DARK at night. If I’m being honest, I probably should’ve turned down the “direct” clearance and stayed over more lighted areas, just to be on the safe side.

Just as we crossed I-10, the Boss looked out to his left. “Is that fog out there?” he asked.

“Oy vey,” I thought to myself with a sigh. I’ve had way too many run-ins with fog in my life. It is the bane of my existence. I hate it. The Boss had to be mistaken. But I looked anyway, and sure enough there were pools of fog forming in the river bottoms and swampy areas. “Goddammit! How is that even possible, as cold as it is?! Here we friggin' go again.” These things I said to myself, rather than out loud. I like the Boss to think I'm a happy pilot.

As we continued northwestbound, the fog was confined to small pools, nothing widespread. But I wondered how it would be at Home Base, which sits right next to the Conecuh River. I could clearly see the bright lights of the paper plant three miles northwest of the airport, but the airport's green/white rotating beacon, which should have been visible between the plant and me, was not. Hmm. (I had plenty of fuel, and there were numerous alternate places to land, so I was more angry at the inconvenience the fog might cause than anything else.)

Closing in on the airport, I was shocked at what I saw. The entire north half of the field was covered in an even white blanket. The only thing clear was most of runway 30 (the southeast end of it, anyway), which coincidentally happens to be the only runway with lights. I made an approach to the very threshold of runway 30, then hovered up to the ramp. To do so I had to enter the fog. It was eerie, and more than a little strange. One second I was hovering on a severe-clear night, and the next second I was immersed in fog so thick I could barely see well enough to taxi. But I followed the little blue taxiway lights to the ramp, where I’d left the platform on which I land the helicopter.

As I went through the shutdown procedures, wishing I'd pursued some other line of work, the Boss hopped out and immediately almost fell on his ass. The wooden platform was covered with a slick layer of ice. So was his truck. Ice fog: something I’ve only rarely seen, and never down here in the south. Oddly, the wind on the surface was dead calm. And I guess the temperature and dew point on that clear night must have both been around 30 or 31 degrees. Whatever - the fog formed and then froze. (My Jeep was in the hangar, so HAH! I didn't have to thaw it out.)

I’ve been flying for a long time. It’s been a pretty uneventful career in some respects. Unlike some pilots, I do not have a collection of hair-raising, “There I Was…!” stories to tell about emergencies I’ve been in. However, the few that I do have are mostly centered around flying at night. And fog.

A long time ago, in the early 1970’s before I was even a pilot, I used to hang around at a heliport on the East River in New York City. There I met an incredible assortment of pilots with amazing backgrounds who taught me tons of stuff, very little of which I absorbed. But I do remember that one day, one of them was talking about weather.

he said, “my license is printed on baby blue paper. And it’s got a little hole right in the center. I hold it up to the sky, and look through the hole. And if the color of the sky doesn’t match the color of my license, I DON’T FLY.”

And I thought, “Pansy. What a wimp!” You see, back then I thought that “real pilots” flew in any weather, that they relished and were up to the challenge. Heh. Well, Bill Winstanley, wherever you are, I now know what you meant. I finally get it. I wish I had one of those baby blue licenses today.

16 January 2010

Challenges and Why We Do It

I mentioned that I do not like flying at night. Thought I’d provide an example.

This past fall we were up in Tusacaloosa, Alabama, planning to leave after an afternoon football game. A weather front was forecast to push through while the game was in progress, with clearing weather behind. And that's just what happened. With any luck, it would also push through the hunting camp, giving us a clear flight home. Well...

It’s a 40 minute flight back to the camp. I told the Boss that we had to, without fail take-off 30 minutes before sunset, which in this case was about 5:30. On a clear night, we'd still have some residual light after the sun went down. We did take-off on time. Still, I was worried that we would catch up with the front. And we did.

Immediately after take-off, the passengers were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the pretty fog forming in the valleys of the Talladega National Forest below us. I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. If fog starts forming after a front goes through prior to sunset, it’s never a good thing. It will not get better as the night progresses.

We had radioed our farm manager and asked if any fog had formed there yet. He said it had not. Turned out he had not really looked, just peeked out his front door. As we got closer to the camp, two things happened: the fog got thicker; and we caught up to the front - it has just passed through. There were clouds above me (and rain) and clouds (fog) below me.

Now we were in a bind. I could not get into the Selma Airport – the front had not passed it yet. The only real alternative was to go back to Tuscaloosa, and I barely had the fuel for that. With the load I was carrying, I only had enough fuel to go to the camp with about a forty-five minute reserve. There was a point at which we were pretty much committed to landing at the camp. We were past that point. Going back would have meant cutting it too close on fuel. Based on our farm manager’s observation, I pressed on. Trouble was, the weather got worse and worse. As it got darker and darker, we needed to be on the ground…somewhere...soon.

We ended up overhead the camp, circling in about as bad weather as I’ve ever flown in my life: dark, foggy, and rainy, with a few scant lights below me. Everybody onboard got very quiet – none of them were first-time riders and they knew this was not good. The knot in my stomach was as big as a grapefruit. The fog layer was right over the trees. Thankfully, it was not solid, and there were big holes through which I could barely see the ground.

I’ve often said that helicopters are not all that difficult to fly; however, they are also very easy to crash. The key to successful helicopter flying (i.e. not crashing) is to keep it under control. Once you lose control, well, it should be obvious what happens. Flying a helicopter has been likened to balancing on a beachball. In many ways, this is a correct analogy. Sometimes staying on top of it is tough.

So I was sitting there in the fog and the rain, trying to set up a workable approach/landing, taking things slow, trying not to fall off the beachball, and thinking to myself, “Dear God, please do not let me screw this up.” Cut to the chase: I didn’t. We got on the ground and I let out a big sigh. Although two of the four passengers wanted to continue on to Home Base, I had to tell them we were done for the night.

It can be difficult sometimes, when you fly to places where there is no accurate weather-reporting, as we helicopter pilots often do. When we departed Tuscaloosa that evening, the weather was perfectly nice, but I knew it would get worse. I was banking on it being okay at the destination. Here’s where judgment and some degree of luck come in. There are pilots who scoff at this, who say that you should never rely on luck. I’ve been told that I should have never departed Tuscaloosa, and rather should have cancelled the flight. They might very well be right. The successful completion of a flight does not mean it was safe, nor that the decisions were good ones. Eh- we live, we learn.

Had we left fifteen minutes earlier, or fifteen minutes later we would not have been able to make the flight. We slipped through a narrow window. It worked, but it almost didn’t. I hate being put in situations like these, but maybe they are the things that attract me to this type of flying.

15 January 2010

Flying At Night

I was at the hunting camp the other evening. I’d taken one of the Boss’s business partners on a flight over to Mississippi, where he’d spent the day in a meeting. We got back to the camp a little before sunset. Nobody met us when we landed, so I shut down and went down to the camp house. After a few minutes the Boss arrived. When I could get a word in, I asked about his plans for Thursday and Friday. In other words, did he need me to spend the night?

“Oh no, I don’t have anything for you to do. You can go home,”
he said.

I grabbed my coat and headed for the door so fast that it surprised him. Not that I was in a hurry to leave the camp and the meal that Chef Giovanni (of “Hell’s Kitchen” fame) was preparing. I just wanted to get airborne while there was still some light left in the sky.

As I get older, I find that I really don’t like flying at night. The Boss, on the other hand, loves flying at night. He doesn’t understand why I don’t.

But here’s the deal: I fly a single-engine helicopter. If the engine were to quit over the terrain between the hunting camp and our Home Base it would be, as we pilots call it, ugly. The chances of me setting it down safely are slim. We have a saying…an emergency procedure really, about this particular event:


Autorotation - ENTER
Landing Light – ON
If you don’t like what you see…
Landing Light – OFF

Yes, it’s a joke. But it’s based in reality. Because there’s not much choice of landing sites at night. You take what’s below you and hope for the best.

I know, I know…the rate of engine failures is very low…so low in fact that it really is not a concern. And when we think about possible emergencies that can occur to helicopters, there are a bunch! For instance, there is only one main transmission, and one tail rotor, and one hydraulic system… So there are a few more things that can go wrong than just the engine quitting. In a well-maintained aircraft, these things rarely fail. That doesn’t make me feel any better, however. It’s a psychological thing.

Back in 1971, ABC newsman Harry Reasoner had visited Viet Nam. He wrote a treatise about helicopters and the people who fly them that has become famously definitive:

You can't help but have the feeling that there will come a future generation of men, if there are any future generations of men, who will look at old pictures of helicopters and say, "You've got to be kidding."

Helicopters have that look that certain machines have in historical drawings. Machines or devices that came just before a major breakthrough. Record -changers just before the lightweight vinyl LP for instance.

Mark Twain once noted that he lost belief in conventional pictures of angels of his boyhood when a scientist calculated for a 150-pound men to fly like a bird, he would have to have a breast bone 15 feet wide supporting wings in proportion.

Well, that's sort of the way a helicopter looks.

The thing is helicopters are different from airplanes. An airplane by it's nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too strongly by unusual events or incompetent piloting, it will fly.

A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other.

And if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter stops flying immediately and disastrously.

There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.

That's why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being an airplane pilot, and why in generality airplane pilots are open, clear-eyed, buoyant, extroverts. And helicopter pilots are brooders, introspective anticipators of trouble.

They know if something bad has not happened it is about to.

That last line says it all. It is me to a "t." And it is every other helicopter pilot I know, too. Now, I fly both airplanes and helicopters, so you might assume that I possess the qualities of both. Sadly, I know fully well that I am at heart a "brooder, introspective anticipator of trouble." I accept this. I cannot help it (although I do try to compensate for it). I'm not sure if a career spent flying helicopters has made me this way, or whether I had these inherent qualities to begin with and they have made me a successful (read: still breathing) helicopter pilot.

All I know is that I do not like flying at night.

14 January 2010

Looking For The Funny

When you get to a certain age they stop calling you a "stand up comic" and start referring to you as a humorist. Jeanne Robertson certainly is that. She's hilarious. My kind of woman.

I try to find stuff to laugh about. And I love people who actively look for the humor in life's various situations. Because you know there is always humor around, even if it is sometimes difficult to detect. I think it is important to smile and laugh - every day. It puts us in a more light-hearted mood, which in turn makes the bad stuff easier to take - and I'm sure you have as much "bad stuff" in your life as anyone, including me. Why not try to find the funny in it?

When I die, I want people to say, "That ol' Bob, he sure was always in a good mood! I don't think I *ever* saw him seriously pissed-off for too long about anything."

I would be very grateful to have that as my epitaph. I'm sure Jeanne Robertson would too. Please watch her other videos up on the Tube of You. They will brighten your day.


11 January 2010

The Basic Instructions Continue

You know how much I love "Basic Instructions" by Scott Meyer. Reading the comic this morning literally had me convulsing in fits of laughter, coffee spewing out of my nose. "B.I." is consistently funny and smart. I love when things actually make me laugh out loud, not just type it. Sunday's strip is particularly brilliant.

The concept behind "Omnipresent Man" is genius. I love the Google Maps locator pin/superhero logo on his costume, not to mention the little "dig" at law experts. Ending it with Scott getting in trouble (as usual) with Missy is hilarious. Damn!

Usually I just post the actual comic and leave it at that. But here is a screenshot of my computer.

You can see that our temperature in friggin' PENSACOLA, FLORIDA at 8:00 this morning was 21 degrees. Again. I'm not complaining, mind you, just sayin'.

09 January 2010


Screenshot of my computer at 10:07 this morning. The little weather "gadget" under the clock in the upper right-hand corner says 25 degrees! What?! It's not supposed to get this cold!

So…couple of weeks ago the temps got down into the 40’s. The battery in my car was getting weak. The engine was slower to crank and was taking longer to start. I knew I’d have to replace the battery soon, but had been putting it off and putting it off in the way that some (all) guys do… “I’ll get to it, alright?”

Then after coming home one night, like an idiot I left a dome light on. There are four of them (Jeep Grand Cherokee), and for some reason they do not come on automatically when you open a door, don’t ask me why. Next morning I was supposed to meet some friends for an early breakfast, and when I went out to start the car it would barely turn over. You know, that depressing, Rrrrrrrrr-rrrrrrr-rrrr-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick... that says, "Hey stupid! You should've already bought a new battery!" Damn.

I used the motorcycle to jump it off (and thank God for the huge Harley battery). The Jeep battery charged up okay on the drive downtown as I figured it would, and I considered not doing anything about it. But that little voice inside my head got louder and I decided to listen to it for once.

So I stopped by O’Reilly’s Auto Parts on the way home and picked up a new battery. Had my tools with me and changed it right there in the parking lot. Fifteen minutes after walking out of the store, I walked back in to give them my old battery and get my “core deposit” refund. The kid behind the counter said, “Man, that was quick!” Heh- he doesn’t know me; I could overhaul my engine in their parking lot if I had to.

And now for the past week or so we’ve been waking up to temperatures in the low to mid-20’s every morning. Sometimes it doesn’t get much above freezing at all during the day. And when I go out to the car, I have full confidence that it’s going to start. I can only imagine how badly I would have been stranded if I’d walked out on one of these 19 degree mornings (like this morning) and had the car not start…and Harley not even be strong enough to jump it off.

Winters down here have been mild. Last winter was unusually so. We had few days below freezing, and not all that many days below 50. This winter has been harsh…well, “harsh” for us Floridians who did not move here for consistent days of 30 degree temperatures. Then again, Pensacola is hardly in a tropical zone, and it is January, and it does get cold. (Thank the Lord, it does not snow here.)

Now, I'm not complaining about the cold. I know there are plenty of other areas of the country that are colder than here, and will continue to be for longer than us. Being raised in New York City, the cold does not really bother me. I’m not saying I like it, but I can deal with it. Funny though - people here have been bitching about it like it’s the end of the world. "Hey, where's that global warming we were promised?!" They’re actually angry about the cold! As if being angry will do any good. Eh- it’ll warm up , and then we’ll be complaining about the heat again soon enough.

At least, I sure hope so. Like everyone else, I’m tired of the cold too. At least I don't have to worry about the car not starting.

07 January 2010

Looking Backwards and Forward

I tallied up my flight time for the year 2009 and discovered that the helicopter and I only flew 118 hours. Not very much. I did put in another 80 or so hours as “copilot” in our King Air, which has since been returned to the leasing company. Even 200 hours per year is not a whole bunch of flying.

On one hand, I get paid a lot of money to do very little. In many ways, this is the “cake” job that we all seek. On the other hand, I flew on New Year’s Day, and I flew a couple of days later on Sunday. So it’s not like I have weekends and holidays off – just the opposite, often enough. I flew on a whole bunch of weekends in 2009. That’s just the nature of this (and most) flying jobs. But the Boss doesn’t require me to be in the office on non-flying days, so I spend a lot of time at home.

My neighbors must think I’m strange. I keep very odd hours, sometimes departing well before sunrise and many times not arriving back until well after midnight, sometimes on the same “day” but not always. I’ll be home for days at a time, and then be gone for days at a time with no rhythm or regularity. Whenever I walk out of my house, the very first thing I do is look up and study the sky, even if it’s severe-clear. It’s an old habit.

2009 was a strange year. We needed a part-time mechanic, and a great one just happened to fall into our lap at exactly the right time. It was a coincidence that is hard to explain. We did not advertise. It sort of just…happened. He has experience working on Bell 206’s, and has all the documentation (manuals, etc.) the FAA requires and so is “legal” to work on our ship. (It’s complicated, but basically, not every mechanic can work on every aircraft just because he has a mechanic’s certificate.) I’m still amazed by the timing of it. Chris has been…(is there any other way to say it?)...a godsend.

I’d write more about my flights, but the Boss is an intensely private guy who doesn’t like other people knowing his business – like where he goes and what he does. He’s alluded to this blog a couple of times, and never said anything negative about it, but there’d be hell to pay if I put something in here that didn’t belong. So I’ve cut back on the details a bit, as you may have noticed. But aside from that, we really haven’t been doing anything interesting lately. Although you might think that every flight is jam-packed with excitement and adventure, the truth is just the opposite. We pilots work extra-hard to keep our flights mundane and unexciting. (It’s safer that way.) I go here, I go there…and it’s been pretty routine. Like driving a car.

I don’t know what’s in store for 2010. As a company, we’re doing well in spite of the down economy. (People always need inexpensive places to live.) Still, I can’t see any increase in helicopter flight time. We will undoubtedly get another airplane for the longer trips. And that would be fun - I like flying airplanes.

I wasn’t sure how long this job would last when I took it. I figured that if it lasted a year or two, that’d be great. Time passes quickly. It’s hard to believe that we’re into our third year already. I get restless. And I’m getting old(er). There are still things I want to do with my life, and they don’t include sitting around waiting for the Boss to call with a flight. Not that I’m looking to make a change – I like my boss a lot and this is much too good a job to quit. So I’m happy to stay put and see what happens, airplane-wise.

If I fantasize, I see myself as a flight instructor at some busy flight school. Flight instruction is normally the bottom rung on the aviation ladder, the first place young pilots go to build their time so they can move on to supposedly bigger and better things. But there are a few of us “old guys” around – the ones who’ve already had their career and want to give something back. And that’s me: the seasoned, gray-haired guy who still gets a boner when he gets to go flying, and who would like to show the young guys all about it.

Wait…uhh…that didn’t come out right…

Flying! I meant, “show them about flying.” But for that to happen I have to get a few other prerequisites done. I am not a Certified Flight Instructor, which you have to be. So it’s not something I can jump into tomorrow. But these past couple of years passed in the blink of an eye. Who knows what 2010 will bring?