Monday, September 8, 2008

Best Saturday ever!

Saturday started with a bright and early trip down to Orlando Executive Airport for my inaugural flight as a licensed Private Pilot. Against mine and my instructors better judgment, Ian talked me into flying him up to Deep Woods Ranch. It's not that it's too far or beyond my capabilities...the instructors at my school just thought it would be best to do it with an instructor first in case something unusual came up. The day before the flight I designed my flight plan and decided it would be fine...I didn't' have to traverse any major airspace and I have GPS (or so I thought).

Fast forward to Ian and I in the helicopter. I'm doing my preflight and programming my GPS to what I thought was Deep Woods Ranch...well, it turns out that since it's a private airport it's not loaded into the GPS so I would have to trust my flight plan and actually use my chart in order to locate the tiny airstrip located somewhere amongst the National Forest (insert panic here).

It came up at the party the night before that we'd be flying up so Justin said that he would be there to take! So Ian texted him to let him know when we were airborne.

Oh, I forgot to mention that while I was getting dressed I had the brilliant idea that we could scatter Maizee's ashes (yeah, I know it's been around 2 years, but we were waiting for that perfect moment to come along).

So, back in the air. I start to follow my flight plan and would you believe that my navigational skills were smack on! My calculated timing between way points was as close to exact as possible...I actually amazed myself. We passed by Locals Tower and could see the roof of the hangar just ahead. I told Kim that I would do a flyby before landing so I came around and flew down the runway and there were about 15 people out in front of the hanger yelling and cheering me on! It was awesome to have all those people there to support me and who thought I was cool ;o).

After shutting down we chilled for a bit and had a cup of coffee before taking a few people on rides. Almost everyone who got a ride had never even been in a helicopter before so it was awesome to be the one to share that experience with them!

It's time to head back now so Ian gets in the helicopter and gets Maizee ready for her release. I climb to 600 feet and fly back down the runway. Ian releases Maizee for an eternity at the Ranch with my Mom. :o) It was cool that I could be the pilot, but I didn't get to see it so thank you so much for the awesome pictures Justin!! I will post a few as soon as I get them.

When we got back to the airport my instructor presented me with a bottle of wine, a balloon and an awkward Norwegian hug :o).

From here Ian took me to lunch at Bahama Breeze where the food was awesome and I was able to enjoy my favorite Mojito. What a great way to end a great morning...except, it doesn't end here.

Mary Beth is selling a house that has a pool out back. I don't know how long it's been since the house has been occupied, but the pool is totally green and infested with hundreds, if not thousands of tadpoles in different stages of development. The pool boy was scheduled to come out on Monday to shock the pool. Mary Beth thought it would be really cool if we could save the tadpoles from their looming fate. So we showed up armed with nets and buckets and managed to save several hundred. We relocated the lucky ones to a tiny pond out at the Ranch. I feel really bad that we couldn't save them all. I'm hoping that many of them finished developing over the rest of the weekend and made it to safety before being burned to death by nasty pool chemicals.

And finally from here we made our way to meet Hannah & Joe and Kay & Ron for sushi dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant.

I can not remember ever having such an uplifting, happy day in my entire life! Thanks to all of you who were able to share it with me!! I'm still trying to wipe the perma-smile off my face!!


Justin said...

Woohoo!! you kicked butt with the flying! Great day for sure, glad I got to be a part of it!

It was a day of impressive Pilot Skillz, Humanitarian efforts, and fine cuisine!


Christian said...

Oh my God Sandy!!!! That's freakin' awesome and amazing. Wish I could have been there to watch your flyby and taken a ride (as well as helped save the tadpoles)

I'm so proud of you!!!