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Knocking off the rust

I haven’t flown an airplane since being laid off from my job of 9 years in early May. So I finally decided to get back up in the air. Maybe flying would dispel my “I don’t have a job” funk.

The plan was to depart from Morristown KMMU and make the short trip to Alexandra Field N85 for some landings and then play it by ear. The weather in the northeast has been a bit unsettled to say the least, so when I woke up Sunday morning to rain I wasn’t surprised. Hoping that the weather would improve I moved my reservation to later in the afternoon.

When looking at the online scheduling system I noticed that our Maintenance officer Ed had the same aircraft for the early morning. Since I knew he wasn’t IFR rated, I figured he was going to cancel his reservation. I thought I should call him to invite him for the ride, but before I could, he was calling me. He asked if we could share the plane for a flight up to Orange County NY (KMGJ) – a common destination for practice ILS approaches and the ever popular $100.00 dollar hamburger. I accepted, but told him that he would have to fly the leg up to Orange County since I was not current to carry passengers.

We met at the airport and started the preflight on our 172sp, but soon after start up, Ed noticed that the alternator was not charging the battery. He reset the alternator field and followed checklist procedures. But he had no luck. He decided to remove the cowling to check for any physical issues (broken wire ETC) but everything looked good so we grounded the aircraft and switched to our 172n Superhawk.

After picking up our taxi clearance from Morristown Ground we taxied out to runway 23 for our departure. This was odd. Runway 23 had a slight tailwind. After discussing the runway length / takeoff weight ETC, we decided to except the clearance and continue to 23. After a longer than normal takeoff roll. The flight was pleasant and it was nice to sit there and relax. After landing at Orange County Ed and his brother in-law got out of the airplane.

I switched to the left seat for a couple of trips around the pattern. It struck me as to how different our 172n handles on the ground as compared to our 172sp. About a year ago the nose strut collapsed and ever since the plane hasn’t been the same. It amazes me how familiar the airplane becomes once you leave the ground. I went around the pattern 4 times every landing a greaser. As I taxied back towards the restaurant I thought to myself… “I hope the restaurant is open”. As I shut down I looked up to see Ed and his brother in-law walking towards the airplane. Now I was thinking my fears were correct. The restaurant closed just as they walked up to the door. Ho well, time to head home with a bad case of dry mouth.

On the return trip I stayed away from the GPS and used old fashioned pilotage with Ed’s help. My landing at MMU was nice and short but a little “firm”. Then the tower told us to taxi to runway 31 at the other end of the field, so much for the short landing. It never ceases to amaze me how therapeutic flying can be some times. Maybe by my next flight I will have a job that way I can get working on my IFR rating.

More to come…

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda