We did promise some guest writers… .
She learned to fly because I wouldn’t let her. When I got my private pilot license, she wanted to be my first passenger, on December 17, 2003 — the Centennial of Flight, 100 years to the day since the Wright brothers first flew a powered airplane.
But I had already promised someone else my first passenger flight.
C (she was not yet a pilot) decided that she didn’t want to wait around. She made a decision, right there at the Spices restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel, to learn to fly.
Today, Capt C is an instrument-rated private pilot, rated on the Cessna 152 and 172, and she regularly flies a Jabiru in Indonesia. She once flew the Jabiru, a homebuilt kitplane, 6 hours from Jakarta to a fly-in at Bali. Then she flew it back.
Once in a while, Capt C comes to Omni Aviation to get some Cessna or instrument time in her logbook. She was flying a 152 that day when Carlo and I had a near-miss at Plaridel. Here she writes about the intoxicating joy of simply being airborne.
Triple Oh Seven
by Capt C
Sounds like the name of a new, super-class espionage professional, doesn’t it?
Or possibly a great new drug for treating some malingering condition.
Yes, I like that! The name for a new high, class drug!
Actually, Triple 07 is just today’s date, but after observing my extremely positive state of mind after a short and simple flight in a very simple training plane this afternoon I have decided to use henceforth as the code name for “altitude therapy”.
I think you have to be a flying addict to appreciate the concept of altitude therapy. While it is technically possible that a sensitive and close friend or relative of an altoholic could observe the immediate, positive and almost side-effect free results of a little altitude therapy on an altoholic, I have yet to actually hear of a case of independent and external recognition of the value of this therapy. Most partners, friends and relatives eschew recognition of the benefits, preferring to focus on the perceived costs and risks. To the altoholic these are truly negligible (and indeed even manageable or able to be mitigated) when compared to the curative properties of altitude therapy.
Is this just some sort of placebo effect or are the mechanics of the therapy explicable and credible? Given that the treatment impacts all senses, I would suggest that the mechanism can be documented and explained, at least, and to some extent synthesised but never actually simulated or substituted. The only way to get real results for the confirmed altoholic is to get into the right hand seat and up into the air as often as possible and this is exactly what Tonet, Carlo and I did on 07-07-07.
“8831 on finals for 02 touch and go.”
“8831 cleared for touch and go. Report airborne 02 Omni.”
“Will report airborne, 8831.”
“Clark Tower, 1513.”
“1513 go ahead.”
“Tower, 1513, request”
“1513 go ahead with your request.”
“Can you please confirm if you are receiving my transponder?”
“8831 airborne 02, right turn for another touch and go.”
“8831 report finals, 02 Omni.”
“1513 unable to read your transponder.”
“1513 squawking ident one two zero zero.”
“Affirm, radar contact, east of the field.”
“1513 joining downwind for 02 Omni touch and go.”
After a string of touch and go circuits, chasing each other around the pattern, 1513 retired with low fuel and I advised the tower of my intention to proceed to training area, climbing to 2500. It was a perfect day. Scattered fair weather cumulous, building up in parts, breaking up the otherwise deep blue sky. Mt. Arayat so clear that you could reach out and stroke the soft folds of its green, velvet carpet. The Pinatubo range was a smoky dark blue silhouette out of which the pointy mountain ranged clearly against the mid-afternoon haze of the western sky.
At 2500feet up on the south side of Arayat with no traffic in sight or on the airwaves, I seemed to come to a halt on an easterly heading. Time was standing still. As the minute hand reached the upright position I eased the yoke to the right with gentle back pressure and watched the dials start moving steadily anticlockwise as the second hand swept clockwise. The needle on the VSI lifted above the horizontal and the AI started to move clockwise, too. Ease off on the yoke – too much back pressure! Passing 270 the VSI drooped. Not enough back pressure. Correct again. Approaching 090, time to roll out and glance at the clock and the dials. Yippee! HI dead centre on 090, VSI horizontal on 0, altimeter vertical at 2500 – a perfect ending, even if the execution had been somewhat shaky.
Count 15 seconds and start again. Second time was much better already. Repeat to the left. Now to the right but add power for a climbing turn to 3000. Descending turn to the left – much more difficult! Repeat both again, right and left. Check position. Still hovering in space just south of Arayat.
Time is standing still.
Count 15 more seconds and kick off again, this time with increased bank to the right. Back pressure well judged: VSI horizontal all the way! Repeat to the left. Right again. Left again. Twirling in the afternoon sunlight, watching the storm clouds assembling over the Sierra Madre, preparing to ride in cavalry formation westward over the planes in the later afternoon. For the moment, they are peaceful; watching and waiting, as reinforcements arrive. When they are too big or too numerous, they will simply roll down the hills, over the plains, crashing over Pinatubo range and out to sea on the other side. Some will wash down the corridor along the edge of Bataan and roll out into the bay, dumping their wet load along the way.
I push north around Arayat, shedding altitude at a modest rate, getting ready to return to base, enjoying the views and the sheer exhilaration of altitude along the way.
“Clark Tower, 8831.”
“8831, go ahead.”
“Leaving Charlie area for Omni pattern.”
“8831 report joining downwind for 20 Omni.”
“Confirm 20 Omni, please, 8831.”
“20 Omni in use.”
“Will report downwind 20 Omni. 8831.”
Mental course correction, followed by a change in heading towards the south, leaving the incoming aircraft from the north to report TIPCO. Down the slopes of Arayat and over the chicken farms, wondering what the mortals and the chickens are up to on this lazy Saturday afternoon. Drifting down towards pattern altitude like a feather floating to the ground on a breezeless day. Far from the marshalling cumuli out to the East. I could take forever to get there and be perfectly happy.
“8831 say position!”
“Over SM turning downwind for 20 Omni touch and go. 8831.”
“8831 report final.”
“Report final, 8831.”
Runway extended to the north. Touchdown now level with the mango trees, if you want to touch down on the official threshold, that is, and enjoy a ride along the unsurfaced runway extension. I opt for the former threshold, cutting short my ground time but have plenty of time in the light and empty 152 to adjust flaps and power and get airborne before the 0 marker.
Two or three more circuits and it’s time to call it a day. A string of 152s lined up before the threshold 20, watching me come in for my final landing. I will land right in front of their noses, touching down with the footfall of a lady in evening dress reaching the last step of an imperial staircase. Steady, balanced and almost weightless in the grace of the execution.
“And……thank you, sir!”
Triple 07 has nothing to do with yesterday’s date: it’s a readily available cure for altoholics which you can get almost any time you need with just a little forward planning and a modest cash outlay. Thank goodness for altitude therapy!
Capt C exuberant after flying at Omni, Jul 7, 2007