April 16, 2005
I left the house this morning to run a couple of erands. After finishing those, I just felt like driving a little. It was a beautiful day; perfect weather for cruising in my convertible.
I decided to head down to Sky Park airfield in Bountiful. I knew that there was a flight school there that was well respected by flyers I have talked with in the past. I thought it would be nice to find out what the pricing of their services is.
Little did I know the adventure this decision would take me on.
While speaking with the girl in the office about the rates, she snagged a flyer who was heading out to spend a little time in the air. He spoke with me a little about how their operation worked and then invited me to go fly with him. He was just going to go up to the Ogden airport to practice a couple of landings and then come back. So, I went flying!
After we took off, we headed northwest, out over the eastern edge of Great Salt Lake. The plan was to practice an instrument approach first, then to perform a few touch-and-go maneuvers. The instrument approach went quite well so we made a couple of turns to line up on a different runway for the touch-and-go.
During the first landing, we just kept floating over the runway, but it finally touched down. Not to worry, it was only a couple of hundred feet longer than had been planned and that was because the wind had picked up a little stronger. We immediately retracted the flaps and applied full power, moving down the runway to return to the air.
As we left the ground we saw it...an F/A-18 Hornet on the ramp taking fuel. We decided to make the next landing a full stop and see if we could get a closer look at the fighter jet. We went around and landed on the same runway we had just left.
After taxiing to a stop and climbing down, we got a great look at the Hornet. My new friend decided to get a drink so we went inside looking for a soda machine. In the next room, I saw the unmistakable flight suit on a man sitting at a computer. I asked him, "I guess that's your ride out there?" He laughed and started talking with us a bit. "I'll be right out after I finish getting this weather info. If you like, I can give you a closer look at her." We did not hesitate in the least to accept his gracious offer.
We waited outside. When the fihter pilot came out he said, "Sorry guys, I just found out they're going to close the runway I need in Seattle in 90 minutes. I gotta scoot." We understood, of course. With some wellwishing and goodbyes, we headed back to our plane and mounted up.
We were in the air, circling around the northeast end of the Ogden airport when the F/A-18 started it's takeoff roll. It took less than a minute for us to completely lose sight of him.
We turned south towards Hill Air Force Base (which we passed over) on our way back to Sky Park.
Wow! I certainly did not plan on going flying when I woke up this morning and I definately never thought that I would be touching an F/A-18 today, either. What an adventure.
Posted by lamontp at 7:30 PM