Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yankin' and Bankin'

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
18 Aug 2013 N21481 SDC (Williamson, NY) - FZY (Fulton, NY) - SDC 1.2 1198.2

Last year, The Bear took her first step into a larger world by taking control of the airplane. She performed some gentle banks before surrendering control to me for the flight to breakfast.  On our next excursion, she was going to attempt pitching the airplane up and down.  Though she talked excitedly about flying again, she had a rough time at the onset of our next flight.  After some bumpy air made her feel as though she was not in control, she became spooked and has not touched the controls since.

She remained in this state of shaken confidence for many months and I was not about to push her.

Not long ago, The Bear and I took Emily flying.  Emily has been both babysitter and swim coach to The Bear and we took Emily flying as a "thank you".  Something happened while Emily was trying her hand at flying the airplane; The Bear became jealous.  The Bear wanted to sit up front and fly the airplane and I had to convince her that, as the guest of honor, it was Emily's turn.

So we made a special trip to the airport, The Bear and I.  This trip was all about her and her mission to reassert mastery over the air.

"My, what big hands ya got!"

We practiced on the ground, ensuring that the seat was positioned at the appropriate height and distance from the yoke.  Gripping the controls with both hands, The Bear was infused with confidence as though it flowed directly from Warrior 481.

At altitude and trimmed for level flight, I surrendered the yoke to my daughter, who took control with hungry enthusiasm.  Our goal was to start where we left off last fall, not only with turns, but controlling pitch as well. In other words, she was not only going to do some bankin', but she was going to attempt some yankin', too.

The Bear did some level turns to the right and left, while I coordinated with rudder and occasionally adjusted the trimmer as a check on altitude.

An eagled-eyed aviatrix, The Bear always watched carefully in the direction she was turning.

When I told her to pull on the yoke, she drew it back mightily to pitch the airplane a few degrees above the horizon. It never occurred to me that the controls would be so heavy for her. Then, she pitched the Warrior downward, giggling as she momentarily felt light in her seat.  She then executed several turning climbs and descents while remaining in a 500 foot altitude box.

We landed at the Oswego County Airport for breakfast at Puddle Jumpers.  Unfortunately, we were the only ones in the place. The Bear read while I chatted with Amber and Susan.

Sometimes, breakfast can be such a distraction from reading!  The Bear craved pancakes and the folks at Puddle Jumpers offered several varieties: apple/cinnamon, blueberry, chocolate chip, and "confetti".

"What are confetti pancakes?" The Bear and I asked simultaneously.

"They have sprinkles in them," answered Amber.  Well, the morning was meant to be a treat for The Bear, so I authorized the confetti pancakes and mentally prepared myself for the inevitable sugar high that would ensue.

Susan's handiwork was impressive, a flower overlaid on a heart.  With sprinkles.  So many sprinkles.

The Bear was pleased with the offering set before her.  Though they were delicious, The Bear was unable to finish both pancakes.  She even left a swallow of milk behind and, when I asked her about it, she responded, "well, I don't want to pee in the plane."

I was not inclined to argue with this line of thinking.

Flying home, The Bear took control again and we meandered westward-ish through the sky.  "I want to fly through some more clouds," she said. There was not a cloud in the sky.

"Sorry, not today."

Six miles east of Williamson-Sodus, I resumed control and brought the Warrior in for landing.

As if pulling and pushing on the heavy yoke were not enough exercise, The Bear struggled mightily to ratchet down the hangar gust locks.  Then, she and I drove over to Chimney Bluffs State Park and hiked along the shoreline while occasionally skipping rocks off the surface of Lake Ontario.

"I have not had much Daddy time lately, so this morning has been very special," The Bear summarized on our way home.

Mission accomplished, in so many ways.


  1. Replies
    1. You said it! Had a smile on my face all day long.

    2. So happy to see you encouraging The Bear! What a wonderful role model you are for a future aviatrix!

    1. 1. Way too sweet for me, but The Bear loved 'em! I stuck with the homemade biscuits and gravy (yummy).
      2. Thank you, I try! If she grows up with the feeling that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to, then we'll know we've been successful.

  3. Love it. Love her always brutal honesty, too. Takes after Daddy, eh? :)

    Oh and yeah, those pancakes look way too good. Bell's / pancake exchange next time we're in town?

    1. I think that particular form of honesty is a characteristic of the age. If you're suggesting that I am childlike in my approach to things, I will take that as a compliment!

      A Bells / pancake exchange sounds great, though perhaps not simultaneously.

    2. It certainly wasn't a non-compliment! And now you've got me wondering if the right oatmeal stout, chocolate porter, or weissbier might actually somehow go with said pancakes. Hmmm.

    3. Oddly enough, the airport cafe primarily catering to fly-in visitors did not suggest any beer pairings with their pancakes!

    4. Such FAR-abiding cooks, they are.

  4. Way to go, Bear! My little girl (the Banana, as I call her) loves flying the plane as well. She does not like the "over the ears" headphones, though.

    Chris and Steve - beer and pancakes? Really? I guess I missed that semester of college. BLAHACK!

    1. She came home really excited, which is great. She has about 210 hours in the airplane (not like I'm counting by keeping a special logbook just for her or anything ... oh, wait, nevermind, that's EXACTLY what I'm doing) and it's great when something about flying excites her because, otherwise, it's become very old hat. She's been indoctrinated in headset use from a very young age, so we get few complaints on that front.

      Naw, I'm not advocating consuming beer and pancakes together (IMHO, one of those is great for breakfast, the other is not). BUT, your "college" comment reminds me of a time I visited Steve's alma mater (long before I knew him). Our hosts decided to make pancakes in the morning after an evening of partying. Rather than wash their plates with honest to goodness soap and water, they decided to "sanitize" the plates with Huber beer (an extremely cheap beer that I have not encountered anywhere since). I respectfully declined the proffered pancakes.