It’s a plane matter

by Anna Blanch on July 9, 2012

I like epic adventures. If you’ve been reading me very long you’ll already know this about me.

If you want further evidence, see my Overland to Oz posts!

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so please excuse the lack of writing.

Over the last couple of weeks if I wasn’t writing — and I was writing and editing wherever and whenever I could — I was helping my friend,  K, work on his aeroplane. It is a 1967 Piper Commanche and he needed to make sure it was in great shape for a grand adventure of our own.

I got covered in grease. And dirt.

It was everywhere. Including in my hair.

We spent hours and hours pulling off panels and putting them back on again. He’s a pretty handy guy and with the assistance and advice of some of the other aircraft owners and mechanics and his own past training was able to do most of the work himself.

We even had a picnic under these wings!

We listened to a lot of country and top 40 and way too much John Tesch as we worked. Some of those tunes are catchy, but inane.

And finally, despite many setbacks,after K had worked extremely hard over many days, he was able to take her up for a test flight and then fill in all the log books and paperwork to show what work had been done, and she (her name is Lucille — i like to call her Lucy) was ready to be flown across the country.

So what exactly is this adventure?

Flying  from Southern California to Michigan.

I’d flown with K before, but not over this kind of distance.

And when I mean fly with, I mean that he was piloting the plane and I was in the right seat.

He flew the plane from Michigan out to California earlier this year so it’s not his first rodeo, but it’s still an epic trip!

Just after I arrived in California K asked me if I was interested in learning the basics of piloting and handed me the study manuals for taking the written test to become a student pilot. I haven’t gotten very far because I still have so much writing and editing to do but it felt really good to be learning something new. It also made it easier for me to understand what was going on with the plane once I had the basic terminology for the plane down.

Aviation is something K is extremely passionate about, and besides being his job, he just loves to fly, so it makes a lot of sense for me to understand at least the basics. We also started talking about me thinking about learning to fly after reading about a courageous 80 year old woman who landed the plane she and her husband were flying after he had a heart attack and died mid-air even though she hadn’t had any formal flight training in 30 years. I realised that it would be a good idea for me to at least understand what was going on, even if I didn’t actually pursue getting my private pilot’s licence.

Over the next few posts I’ll recap this adventure and share some of the sights and sounds of flying across the U S of A.

It was an epic adventure.


Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Traveller. Scholar. Photographer. Writer. Dreamer. Teacher. Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland. The summer of 2012 is a nomadic summer for Anna as she edits her PhD and chases the sun after three cold years in Scotland!

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