What a beautiful view of the Wisconsin Northwoods today! I flew to Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin and saw the forest and lakes through holes in the clouds. I saw an open space dotted with campers for the Hodag Country Festival near Rhinelander, and the private airstrip Dolhun Field near Lake Tomahawk. I flew past Clear Lake in the Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest, where I had just camped a couple of weeks ago. I could see how the lake got its name! Once I got below the clouds on my descent to Manitowish Waters, the scenery was especially beautiful.
I was a kid in a candy store today with the Ercoupe. Somehow several months managed to slip by since I last flew it in October, last year. The instrument panel underwent a re-do over the winter. What was spiffy before is even better now!
There’s a panel bracket-mounted portable touchscreen iFly GPS that is really cool. It was on the yoke before, but I always took it off and never used it. Some switches were relocated, such as the master switch that was previously behind the passenger.
This evening’s weather was perfect and a bunch of my extended family members were camping near Stevens Point. So why not call them up and see if they wanted rides? I flew over to STE in early evening. I was like, yippee, I’m going somewhere! It was about a 35-minute flight. I had Young Eagles paperwork with me.
And around and around the patch I went! Everyone including me had a blast. Even the youngster who took a lot of convincing at first. I took each person on a short flight around a large traffic pattern. There was a handy picnic table where everyone could watch and wait. Two Young Eagles rides and three adult rides later, one of the kids wanted to go again, but I had to fuel up and get going before it got too dark.
I took a picture of the Ercoupe by the fuel pump with another Ercoupe sitting behind it in the grass. I think that yellow Ercoupe has been sitting in that same spot for years. It needs to come out and play.
Back in the air again I had a nice solo flight back down Highway 10 towards Neenah.
My return flight was very close to “eventful.” It was getting dark when I got back to Brennand Airport. That wasn’t a problem, though, because I had landing lights and could still see fine in the twilight. The problem was, this was prime time for deer, apparently. For the first time ever, ever in all my thousands of landings at 79C, a DEER ran blazing across the field at a million miles per hour… just a few seconds after I touched down on the runway. He… she… it… whatever, came so close to the airplane that I was sure I would hit it. It crossed in front of me as a brown streak of fur in the landing lights. It came out of nowhere so fast that I couldn’t even react fast enough to put on the brakes.
That was one lucky deer.
I put two hours on the Ercoupe, which is much more than my usual 20-minute joyrides. I would have flown even more if it wouldn’t have gotten dark.
Today is the 15th anniversary of my first flight!
I took my first-ever airplane ride at Clintonville, Wisconsin’s local fly-in back in high school and have been hooked on aviation ever since. What a journey it’s been!
I originally had today confirmed as a day off from work, and planned to take my Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) written test. It is the highest level of FAA pilot knowledge test and is required for the ATP rating. I’ve been studying like crazy and have been qualified to earn the rating for a long time. I’m not really sure where I’m going to go next, but the ATP written test would be one more major step along the way. It can open up the door to job as an airline pilot or a corporate flying position flying a larger airplane. Unfortunately I had to cancel the test when I was called up to fly a quick corporate flight to the Chicago area today. I’ll reschedule the test!
It would have been fun to pass that test today with such a significant date stamp, but the trip to Chicago was fun too. It was IFR and raining down there, so I had to do an instrument approach to get into Du Page. One day I was a kid dreaming of flying, and here I am blasting off into the clouds without a second thought. Truly amazing when I think about it. I can look back on 15 years of wonderful flying experiences and be very happy that I pursued my dream.
Good day for a lesson on basic instrument flying in the Cirrus, on an IFR flight plan in marginal VFR weather.