Simply fly

What is it about flying with a friend, a fellow addict, who thinks, breaths and eats aviation? Simple question…or maybe not.

Andrey is building a homebuilt, owns and rents out a couple of airplanes and has his sights set on a crazy, wonderful SLSA (whatever that is) that is being designed as we speak and is due to come out in the next couple of years called a Raptor. What an airplane…but I digress.

“Hey Andrey, I’m thinking of flying over to Fitchburg and I know…”

“Hey Mel, you need a co-pilot?”

“That would be great!”

So he comes over to N9323J and I hear his amazing greeting as I get the cover off “Hey, Mel, how are you?” Big smile on his face, a certain confidence in his gait as we are going to fly for fun.

We don’t HAVE to fly, we don’t have a mission other than to fly over my house in Chelmsford and do a couple of turns so the wife can see us, then fly to Fitchburg and back. It’s a trivial mission…and that’s what a hobby is about.

He’s flying a LOT as he’s looking to get his IFR rating soon. I fly 1/month for an hour or so as I have another intoxicating hobby – flying drones with FPV (i.e. with an on-board goggles view).

So he gets in and we take off on a gorgeous, calm, almost-cloudless NE summer day in mid-August. He requests flight-following and as we get over Chelmsford I do some “turns in the wind” over my house. FAA kicks in and says “Piper Cherokee 9323Juliet, are you still bound for Fitchburg?”

“Yes…just doing a quick fly-over for the missus over my house…” (not exact verbiage)

We get to Fitchburg and there is no restaurant any more…the kiss of death for a small airport. However, the locals tell us the EAA has free coffee & doughnuts every Saturday morning in the hangar next door.

It’s a beautiful hangar with about 4 spotlessly-clean aircraft – both sophisticated and homebuilt – and the guys are brewing the coffee as they heard our request as we were taxiing if “there was a place to grab a cup of coffee?”

We trade flying stories…I did a side-slip to bleed off a bunch of altitude before landing (you put the plane at a crab angle – the most aerodynamically inefficient way to fly) and hold it until you get closer to the ground. For some reason I was not nervous in the least which was cool. Had only done it one other time w/o the instructor in the right seat. You can do anything with an instructor in the right seat.

Called the missus…she said “Did you see me waving? Next to the yellow wheelbarrow on the driveway?”

“Sure sweetie…I did.” I lied and so I laughed. She knew it.

After hanging out and talking trash “with the boys” we got back in the Cherokee and man…the thing climbed like a rock during takeoff…due to the conditions. But we got up “into the pearly skies” and sauntered back to Lawrence, the Merrimack below, 495, the abandoned airport and then KLWM.

Landed at Lawrence and was happy to grab lunch at the little restaurant enjoying the young families enjoying the aircraft taking off or landing, the good food and the warm New England light winds.

Real nice to fly with a friend…I recommend it…or simply to fly.

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