Friday, August 11, 2006

Flying with Dennis

My friend James invited me to his vacation trailer next to the Sacramento delta. It's in a trailer park/campground called Tower Park. I was availabe that weekend, so I accepted. Tower park is allways a fun place because there's a pool, a bunch of cool people, and golf carts. I was ready for a fun weekend.

When we arrived I got settled in, them told everyone that I'd be back. I knew there was a Quicksilver MX II on floats near the dock, so I went there to check it out. It looked like a well maintained aircraft that had been put into good hands, except that the sailcloth was exposed to the harmful UV rays of the sun. I was wondering how many sails the guy had gone through.

Later that day I brought my friends to the Quicksilver to show off the aircraft. When we arrived there was a guy standing near the aircraft, so I asked if it was his. It was. We had a really great conversation, and when I started to leave, Dennis asked me if I wanted to fly with him in about an hour. Obviously I accepted, and was as excited as ever.

An hour later I was back at the dock, this time with a blue angels shirt. If I was going to be flying, I figured that I should be flying with an aviation shirt. Why not? Dennis and I pushed the aircraft off the dock and into the water, then climed abord. I got into the seat on the right.

Dennis just got his fiberglass floats repaired, so he was eager to fly too. Apparently, he was taxing to his take off position when a small log hit his floats. The log was mostly underwater so Dennis didn't see it. It was about 6 or 7 inches long and about 4 inches wide. It's amazing what dammage a small chunk of wood can do. The dammage kept Dennis handcuffed to the ground for about a week, until someone came out to fix the crack.

As we were in position and pointing West (that's the direction where the wind comes from in this neck of the woods), we waited for boat traffic to disappear. Once clear, Dennis asked me if I saw any more boats. I said no, and Dennis applied full power to the Rotax 503. The MX glided along the watter, then gracefully flew into the air. I could feel the air blowing against my face as I was watching the ground below me become smaller.

At about 200 feet, Dennis reduced the throttle to it's crusing position, and we soared over the delta below us. I could see the crisp green crops boardering the water. The air was perfect, feeling like we were gliding on frictionless rails. I'd never been as close to heaven as I was durning those moments.Quicksilver MX II on floats (not Dennis' plane)

After a while, Dennis let me take over the controls. I had spent countless hours reading about flight, and practicing the things I've learned on a flight simulator. To top that off I had done introductory flights with Ray Mellow, and Bill Bardin. I allready had a general idea how to fly, but apparently, Dennis didn't expect me to know soo much. He started off holding the stick while having his feet on the rudder petals, but soon realised that I didn't need his assistance. From that point on, he let me fly it for the rest of the flight, except for the landing.

Once landed, Dennis asked me if I wanted to go flying again the next day at 8:00 in the morning. Without hessitation, I accepted. That flight was just as good, if not better than the last. This time, Dennis let me do the take off and the entire flight. Again, we crused around the delta in perfect air.

During the second flight, Dennis informed me that he was legally blind. This made total sence because he asked me several times what way a boat was going, or if I saw some power lines that was supposed to be nearby and other questions relating to vision. This didn't worry me at all since I have a perfectly good pair of eyes, but it did enable me to tell my friends that I flew with someone that was blind.

This story has soo much more detail that I haven't even gone over, but I think I'm going to wrap it up. The general idea is established.

Mark Z. - Money is the only thing holding me back from flying.