17 July 2006

New Posting -- Reflections: First Solo

Summer – 1973; Scribner, Nebraska.

Nebraska, particularly the central region with its broad, flat plains and farms laid out with near geometric precision, was a great place to learn to fly. The far horizon was a firm, straight line without the distractions of geologic features. The quilt work patches of fields bordered by arrow straight gravel roads were perfect for the basics of air work – turns, climbs, stalls; you lined up on one of those roads – set your nose just above the horizon and rolled into the turn… As you scribed along the horizon, you glance at the compass; 10, 20, 30 degrees into the turn – easy on the controls, a touch on the right rudder to keep from dropping your nose – there, time to roll out and see where you are in relation to your road reference on a reciprocal bearing. Hmm, a little to the left, forgot to take into account the cross-wind. Notice the fields of alfalfa, rippling like waves on the water in the omnipresent Midwestern breeze...