September 23, 2009

A Potpourri

A potpourri of an evening, aimed at keeping me VFR- and club-current, and especially night-current, with John in the right seat on a short hop to Tracy (KTCY) and back. Not much to report here about the actual flying bits (except just how soberingly bad the first landing and time around the pattern was; at least by the third time around I was able to do a smooth and successful night soft-field landing and takeoff without prompting); but as always, the Bay from above at night returning over the hills into Oakland was breathtaking, and the Oakland airport environment itself the usual enchanting mixture of the mundane, the bizarre, and the sublime.

I won't say which was which, but the sights ran the gamut from the Texas Rangers 757 standing on the apron near the old Alaskan hangar, the Kaiser 737 wedged into a space right next to the fuel pumps causing me to wind my way around the orange markers to get refueled without hitting the plane's tail, one of the local Piaggios doing (loud and wide) pattern work (at great expense, I'd guess), the Coast Guard helicopters doing night-vision practice work around and over a darkened runway 27L (no lights at all), and, of course, the usual familiar feeling of standing on the ramp in the dark surrounded by lights and sounds and movement.

Back in the Oakland Flyers club house, Lou makes fun of John and my dueling iPhones. An occupational hazard for nerdy hi-tech flying amateurs like me, I guess. All my flying nowadays involves direct physical interaction with computers much smarter than even the biggest computers available in the university computing lab when I was an electrical engineering student; even the iPhone comes into the equation for every flight now. Not complaining, mind you (too much of a nerd for that); on the whole it's a great improvement for almost all the flying I do.

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