Monday, January 15, 2007

Dar she blows.......Can you pass me a sick bag??

Sunday brought with it some dodgy weather and a strong desire for me to get up into the air. I didn't have "getupthereitis" but I was keen to go fly despite the weather. I checked the TAF's and the forecast was that it was due to clear by the afternoon. That's all I needed to hear and I met up with my friend Demy and we drive out to the airport.

This was to be Demy's first flight with me, and the plan was to take the plane over to Amsterdam and let her check out the city from above. However, Demy wasn't feeling too good to begin with. She said she started to feel like a headache was coming on, so we stopped off to get her paracetamol. She was feeling better by the time we got to the airfield and I checked out the plane and strapped her in.

My steed on this journey was to be PH-ALI, a C-150. I gave the safety briefing, started up the engine, called Lelystad Radio and made my way to the run-up area. All the checks complete and a quick taxy to the runway. The wind was blowing quite strong. I was being bounced around quite a bit and this was still on the bloody gorund. I lined her up and took off and immediately was bounced around by the wind. I climbed up to 1500ft on the QNH and called up the folks in Amsterdam Information to get clearance into the Amsterdam CTZ. But I was having a slight off-day on the radio. I had a bit oif a wanker on the other end for starters, and on top of that, the radio wasn't very clear so a few times I was repeating "Say Again, PH-ALI". No need to worry though, we got clearance into the CTZ and the boys in Schiphol were as always very helpful, and very professional. We were cleared into the CTZ and told in no uncertain terms to stay well in the VFR sector. We squawked 0060 and kept our eyes well peeled. I could see why as I got closer to to my left RWY 27 was in use for landing traffic as was RWY 01C ahead of me. I kept us at around 800ft-900ft and did some orbits of the city. Even though Demy was enjoying herself, the sudden bursts of turbulence really didn't help her relax. I was enjoying the challenging flying conditions but would have preferred if it was smoother.

After about 20 mins over Amsterdam we headed back towards Lelystad and I gave Demy a go at flying. She did a great job steering but kept pulling or pushing too hard, so I controlled the height with the throttle as she steered. I contacted the wanker in Info, gave him our position and asked for FIS for the trip back. By now though the bumpy weather was taking its toll on Demy. She had gone VERY quiet and had gone a little pale. Then she started complaining of an upset tummy. I made direct for Lelystad and set us up for the circuit. Thankfully it was quiet and we slipped into the circuit behind one other aircraft. and set us up for approach.

The wind was really strong and I was flying diagonally on each leg the whole time. I did the landing checks, and aimed for the threshold. With the wind being as strong as it was I was concious of maybe stalling, so I purposefully carried power and extra speed just in case. But that meant the landing and flare was a little iffy. A gentle bounce (followed by a "ahhh shite" from me) and we were down. I could almost see Demy heave a sigh of relief out of the corner of my eye. On the taxy back to the hanger we joked that she's sticking to fair weather flying....she'll only come up when it's sunny. I had fun though and I prived to myself that I can handle European weather just as well as the blue sunny stuff I got used to in San Diego. But I do love a limp wind sock ;-)

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