Sunday, May 27, 2007


Home for the weekend and headed out to the local airport for breakfast. To my surprise the Air Cadets were in town gliding. Here is the tow plane just landing and soon to hoisting another glider up for about 5 minutes of pure glory. The best thing that these guys did was to paint these airplane yellow. The following day I went for a local flight in the 172 and they were in the circuit at my departure and destination airport. Trying to join the circuit between them landing and taking off and timing it as to not cut the gliders off was an usual challenge. I am so used to controlled airports where you don't do anything till you are told, and going to self guided flying makes things more challenging yet more rewarding when you can make it work out well for everyone. Because of the rules aircraft with engines have to give way to aircraft without (obviously enough as they can't hold for long and also they only have one shot at landing :) I wanted to be positive I wasn't gonna cause them grief.

When you go to fly in breakfasts you can see some of the worst airmanship in action. Not to be negative but when you get a nice sunny clear weather summer day and a bunch of pilots who fly once every month you can see some pretty crazy things.

A few years ago chaos ensued at the local airport during a fly in because one aircraft out of the 4 that were coming into land was reporting his position exactly where everyone else was so everyone was looking all over for him. Everyone was landing into wind (as normal) and on final I saw a 172 have to pull up and go around. This was followed shortly by a 150 landing the opposite way into the oncoming traffic. He was making all his radio calls saying he was landing runway 22 but actually landed runway 04 into everyone else ! So basically what I am saying is that I don't mind when the weather is bad when I am at work because it keeps those guys on the ground :)

Hooking up the rope to the tow plane. I believe it just went in for gas and was getting ready for another marathon of circuits.

A glider coming in for landing on this beautiful day. The yellow blends in quite nicely with the dandelions. In my youth I have gone in these gliders a few times. I loved gliding as it is as close to being a bird as you can get.

This is the Johnstown-Ogdensburg bridge. If you want to go to the USA from the Ottawa area this is one cross over point to use that is fairly close. When I just got my drivers license, a few of my friends and I were bored and decided to cross over here in the states and drive along the St. Lawrence on the American side and cross back over about 15 miles down the road at the Thousand Islands Bridge. Now that was our honest plan, so as we approached the customs officer on the American side he asked us our citizenship, and then the purpose of our trip. Now in this case, as the saying goes..."The truth shall set you free" does not really apply. I told him we were bored and were going to drive down route 11 and come back via the Thousand Islands Bridge. He then said "You just decided to come over to the US, drive for 15 minutes and go home ?"

"Yes" was my answer and I didn't really have much more to say to convince him that was our plan but he wasn't letting us go through. He then said " Your parents gave you the keys to the car and said, hey why don't you go for a ride to the states?". I was not really liking his tone but in all fairness what I was telling the guy sounding like a load of BS. So he then proceeded to look at all our ID's, followed by a look inside the vehicle. He finally had nothing else to keep us on and just exasperated at the whole scenario said "Go".

So we did just as we said and ended up at the Thousand Islands Bridge. Now because we were coming back into our home country I thought things would be a little easier, apparently not. We basically got asked the same questions, with the same attitude thinking that if they kept hounding me I would break down and tell them the real truth about what we did. But after about 10 minutes of searching and ID checking we carried on. The moral of the story is that the next time we wanted to do the same thing we just named a restaurant in the border town we were going to eat at and then we sailed right through.

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