On Being a Pilot and Mental Flexibility

On Being a Pilot and Mental Flexibility

I had a very frustraiting experience and it had less to do with flying and more to do with how other people can be very inconsiderate. I had planned out a nice cross country from Appleton (KATW) down to Schaumburg (K06C) that had some VOR navigation, let me get some experience being under the bravo, practice for a trip I eventually want to make with my family, and just be a cool little adventure. After getting all briefed up and ready to go I set out to the airport ready to have myself a little adventure.

First snag was that my plane wasn't there. I only had the plane for four hours but I was a little early so I didn't think too much of it. I checked the schedule and someone snuck in a one hour block right in front of my reservation. So I made a mental note that I would probably need fuel before departure and sat down to eat some food I brought along. More time passes and the aircraft is now 10 minutes late. So I am annoyed that someone decided to be inconsiderate of other people for their last minute reservation they put in when there were two other aircraft (one of the same exact type) sitting on the ramp. At 15 minutes I decided to switch my reservation and planned out a flight to Door County (KSUE) since I wouldn't have this new one long enough for my original plan without coming back late for the next person. Time to go preflight the other aircraft.

I enjoy preflighting an aircraft; it gets me excited for going on the flight. Generally my mentality is that I'm looking for a reason to not fly the aircraft. Everything was checking out okay (left nav light was out, but I was day VFR so that is fine) until I went to check the fuel level. This particular aircraft does not have a step to get up to the high wing, and it should have a step ladder in the back but it did not. Someone had either used it for a different aircraft or taken it out completely but now there I am standing on the ramp at 30 minutes past my original departure time trying to figure out what I'm going to do.

Cancelling the day was at the front of my mind. Followed by yelling at people for being careless and rude. I walked my self back into the FBO and found myself a flight instructor to talk to. I've found the easiest way to get help is to be nice and polite, so I was nice and polite asking how other users of this aircraft were expected to use it when there was no way to check the fuel level. He was surprised that the ladder was not there and suggested I could take the ladder out of the neighboring aircraft that is also ours and use it. That is probably how we got into this whole mess! Regardless I took the ladder, checked the fuel (28 gallons), and PUT THE LADDER BACK WHERE I FOUND IT.

I made some time to cool down before starting the engine. Nothing good comes from flying while mad as it impairs decision making. The engine started fine, I got taxi clearance for a NE VFR departure, taxied to runway 03, and took off...

Appleton, WI

It was kind of sporty with the winds but I love flying. Since I was heading into the wind I wanted to make sure I stayed lower where the winds were weaker. Green Bay's Airport (KGRB) was right in my way if I wanted to stay at 3,000' because of the class C airspace so I did something I haven't done before; I asked Green Bay Approach to transition their airspace and they were more than happy to let me through.

Green Bay Airport from 3000'
Lambeau Field - Green Bay, WI
Downtown Green Bay, WI

After passing through Green Bay's airspace, I just followed the eastern edge of the bay itself until I got to Door County.

The flight to Door County was uneventful and peaceful. I landed there on runway 28 and it was a nice landing.

Door County Airport (KSUE)

After that, I taxied to runway 02 and departed with a nice crosswind for a little challenge. The winds were in my favor the higher I went, and I've never been over 9,500'. So you might see where this is going.

I climbed up to 10,500' for the first time. Above the clouds everything was beautiful and smooth.

Me at 10,500'

Arriving near Appleton, I now had a lot of altitude to get rid of. Knowing that the air below wasn't very smooth I decided it was a good time to practice a fire dive. Throttle out and nose down, top of the green arc, let's go. It took surprisingly long to get to 3000' but I eventually got there. As it happened, I also leveled out right by the Wisconsin International Raceway, and got to watch a drag race from the air.

Lake Winnebago, WI
Appleton, WI

Landing was a little tricky. I came in on Runway 30 and the wind was perfect right until a gust decided to come in from a different direction. The landing was still pretty good though. Taxi back and shut down feeling pretty good.

So I'm glad I went flying that day even if it wasn't the flight I had originally expected to go on.

Thanks for coming by and reading my musings. The weather is finally nice here in Wisconsin and I hope to get more flights in soon.