Landing an airplane while your Dad watches from the ground is pretty darn cool…

Sunday, October 16th 2011- Cross-country flight to Pagosa Springs

You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.  ~William D. Tammeu

I woke up at 5:30 this morning practically crawling out of my skin with excitement because today was the day John and I would take the Cirrus SR-22 to Pagosa Springs on my long cross-country flight. Of course, I left my downtown apartment later than I should have… camera gear, flight bag, purple purse, and a giant green apple, held by my teeth. I threw all my stuff in my car and zoomed down I-25, singing along to Dwight Yokam’s musings about being a thousand miles from nowhere.

Pre-flight, taxi, IFR clearance, follow the Galaxy jet to 17L, caution jet blast, and off we go! The 22 is a more powerful airplane than the 20, with higher cruise speeds and range. This thing blasted off the runway and we were on our way towards Pueblo. We were flying GPS headings GPS way points and VORs along the way. Once we were south of Pueblo, we jumped on a victor airway towards Alamosa and climbed up to 14,000 feet. The SR-22 has oxygen on board which you wear when flying for more than 30 minutes at or above 12,500 feet. John and I were totally amazed by the colors that we saw while flying through the mountains! This shot was taken near Pagosa Springs from 14,000 feet.

I called my Dad and step-mom on Saturday to see if they were up for a visit at the Pagosa Springs airport on Sunday around noon. They drove to the airport at noon, and watched us fly in from the South and come in for a nice smooth landing. As we taxied over to the FBO, I was filled with pride, knowing that my Dad was there, proud of what I am working towards. It was a deep down, good feeling of love and genuine pride. My Dad is a quiet man of few words, but the look on his face in the photo above says it all. I was also glad my Dad and Claudia were able to meet John. After all, he is in charge of keeping me safe in the plane during all this simulated IFR time! After a quick visit, we jumped back in the plane and waved as we taxied away and shot off down the runway…
This flight was full of practice on the GPS, radio communication with the tower, take-offs and landings, headings, vectors and approaches… but today it was about something more.

Today I was a pilot, flying to see my family.


8 thoughts on “Landing an airplane while your Dad watches from the ground is pretty darn cool…

  1. Awesome to know another Dad is feeling great pride watching a daughter accomplish what few ladies have done. My daughter just soloed last month and I couldn’t do much but tear up with joy as I got the news. I wanted to be there so badly. We’re gonna make up for it by going after one of those $100 hamburgers real soon. I hope more and more young ladies come to realize the opportunities available in the world of aviation! You should be very proud of yourself! I love reading your blog and I’m sharing your news with my new pilot in the family!

  2. Great pic of Pagosa. The FBO there is really nice. My father-in-law flies out of there (and Alamosa) in his Piper Comanche. They did a formation fly-over for the 4th of July parade there this summer with a Stearman in the lead.

    If you ever are flying early on a Saturday down to Pagosa all of the pilots meet in the big hangar at the FBO for coffee. I’m sure they’d welcome you.

  3. Reading this made me think of the first time I came back to Denver in my 18 wheeler and my mom and dad were at the lot to pick me up for dinner. There was another truck in front of me ~ he had to park before I could do anything ~ which took a few tries to get in his spot. When it was my turn, I pulled around, lined up and backed it in between 2 other trucks.

    I will NEVER forget the look on my parent’s faces ~ how proud they were of how I handled that big rig.

    Thanks for all these wonderful posts. I’m having fun reading them and catching up ~ looks like I’ve got a lot of reading ahead of me!! Keep it up, Amelia!!

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