May 10, 2008

Back in the Saddle



After nearly a year of not flying missions for one reason or another, I returned to the saddle today flying Mission Observer on a rather routine mission. Regardless, it was still fun.

The mission was simple: test our communications capabilities along various points along the northern Chesapeake Bay. We flew at various altitudes from 1000 ft to 3000 ft AGL along differing portions of the bay. The point was to see how low the aircraft could fly without loosing communications links with our ICP. This mission was part of a SAREX, and had been cancelled just a few hours earlier due to weather. Regardless, at noon today I got the word the mission was re-activated.

I met my pilot a few hours later at my local airport, and we promptly departed on the mission. We were fortunate enough to be flying one of the new C-182 Glass Cockpits. I did most of my flight training in the glass cockpit C-172, and the transition to the C-182 was smooth. All the navigation was the same; and that was my job today. The wing operations officer was even kind enough to put a few checkpoints into the system to make our jobs a little easier.

What did I get out of it? I was able to re-familiarize myself with flight planning and execution, communications procedures, and the glass cockpit system as a search and rescue/navigation tool.

Also, if you've never seen the sun setting on the Chesapeake Bay at 1000 ft AGL, you're missing out. Although we made it back to the airport well before the sun dipped below the horizon, it was still late enough in the day to see it wane from 1000 ft.

I never realized how much I missed flying with CAP...

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