Sunday, September 04, 2005

How Travel Ought To Be

Saturday morning, I headed off into clear skies for Bloomington, Indiana. I was filed for instrument flight even though there was hardly a cloud anywhere to be seen. That makes for better travel anyway, since air traffic controllers are helping look for other traffic.

I had headwinds the whole way, so the flight was just over 3 hours. Still, relaxing overall. Having a glass panel and a good autopilot makes a world of difference there.

A friend of mine was getting married, and I made it just in time to socialize a little before the wedding started, and help "decorate" his getaway vehicle.

DC had sent me up here to test fly a Remos G3, and discuss the CT's history in Europe with a guy from the U.K. As a bonus, I got to attend the wedding. He had also set me up with a rental car and lodging.

Around 10PM, I finally finished with the wedding stuff, and was able to head back and get some sleep. The lodging was in a double-wide trailer, located right on the field. This is how travel should be. Staying in a really nice facility, with a full kitchen, all the amenities I could possibly need, and only 100 yards from where the plane is parked. The amenities impressed me. Two bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, nice living room, cable tv, computer with high-speed internet (which I am using right now to post), and food and toiletries available.

Having a stocked pantry and refrigerator to come back to after a long day, really makes it relaxing. It feels nothing like a hotel. This could be home (except in this case, home is not nearly as nice).

I think Bloomington has just become my favorite of all the airports I've ever visited. And I wonder why nobody else ever seems to do what they've done. Back home, we often have pilots staying overnight, sometimes unexpected, and sometimes without access to a rental car. Having lodging for them right by the field would be a big help. I wonder how many other airports could profit from that, and never thought about it.

I was supposed to head over to Shawnee- a 2,150 foot grass field 20 miles southwest of here, to fly the Remos. That was supposed to be first thing this morning, followed by a departure for home. Instead, a couple delays had me not leaving until 12:30. As I rolled on takeoff, passing through about 25 knots, my left main tire blew out, causing me to swerve a bit. I held it on the runway, and brought the plane to a stop about 8 feet shy of the left side of the pavement.

I called the tower to explain what happened, and they managed to get the FBO out to help me. After another 20 minutes, we had a temporary time on, and I taxied back. Good thing they have another runway to use. I would hate to hold up all the traffic for too long.

It would only be an hour or two until they could get my plane running again, but I figured I was already late, so I went back and drove to Bloomfield.

I met with a nice young instructor from the U.K. who showed me all about the plane. I am fond of the Remos. It handles as you would expect a 600-pound plane to handle. Quick response to every input, and really in need of a subtle touch. But then, it weighs only half what a Cessna 150 weighs.

My only experience with a sport plane was the CT, which never put me at ease, so I didn't quite know what to expect from this one. We went out and did some maneuvering, and several landings, and I found I couldn't be happier.

I'll explain more about the plane in a later posting though.

After driving back to Bloomington, it was already after 5pm. Being on central time now, it would be at least 10pm before I could get home, so I succumbed to the desire to spend another night in the on-field housing.

As I started relaxing here, picking a movie from the selection by the tv, I started thinking about all the hassles involved with flying, and how many of them I could have eliminated over my 5 years of flying, if only a few more airports had this sort of setup. All the rental cars and frustrations with taxis, eliminated. Or the borrowing of courtesy cars to get some dinner.

But rather than dwell on that, I think I'll go fix some dinner, and watch a movie. This is how travel should be.


At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how was MC's wedding? Nice that you got to go.



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