I have been talking about flying for months. My girlfriend, Selina, never flew with me until last weekend. Finally she can’t question anymore if I were a pilot at all! Check out this picture my mom took on the flight home. I believe this flight was a full success. =)
In the early Saturday morning we drove to Bienne. My girlfriend and I had an appointment to view an appartment there. Hopefully we will call it our home soon. Close to a lake, both french and german, close to the airport. If I find a job this is going to be a great Summer! But this is an aviation blog, so let us go flying.
My father let me do everything on this day. Although he had a sharp eye on my actions since he was legal pilot in command. During preflight I was amazed how happy my girl was around all the airplanes. Good thing she liked it! With this in mind I taxied onto the active and applied full throttle. The airplane felt a lot more familiar than on the last flight. We climbed through a layer of thin mist and had the alps to our left. Above a lake Selina took a picture of the Hotel where she got a job. Passing Payerne my dad’s Cessna took us on a straight line to lake geneva. We prepared for landing in Lausanne. I did only the flying while my father did all radioes and navigation. As every airport in Switzerland has its own pattern we joined accordingly overhead and turned right onto downwind. The circuit was so wide I almost lost the field. This was exactly what I did not learn in America, where I needed to stay close to the runway. The airport had powerlines on final and a downslope. My biggest concern was to land too fast and end up in a never ending roundout. In the meantime I was on the base leg and climbing. No, this was not a beauty of an approach but it was the only right decision to remain clear of all obstacles. Nonetheless I established a stable glide to the threshold. The flare was certainly longer than usual but not too long. After landing I noticed airplanes touching down much further down the runway. This was my first landing on an aiport with a downslope and it was a good first lesson, just to experience how it felt.
Now it was time to enjoy the city. We warmed up at a nice restaurant and I realized one more time how bad my french was. Four years of school ended up in “me too.” and “a coke”. Me too was an outstanding meal and the coke was fine. We went for a walk at the lake and bought two Crêpes (thin pancake). This dessert by the way has always been my connection to the french world. haha 😉 Selina pointed out that people in Lausanne kinda looked different. Somehow it made us feel as we were on holidays. That is what I love about flying in Europe. Fly an hour and descend into a different language, a different culture and different food.
Back on the airport. We waited in the run-up area between two Piper Cubs. We took off upslope and climbed to 7500 feet. We didn’t fly a straight line this time. We overflew some mountains around Saanen. My father eplained the pattern there and the ladies in the first row enjoyed the view. The weather was beautiful. Not only blue skies but a few nice clouds. We were cleared for a north transit of airport Bern. Halfway through we found ourselves on top of clouds. That’s the point where the picture was taken. Our home base was to our left but we needed to descend to the right to get below the cloud layer. A 180 took us back on course. I loved flying above the clouds and it was great to see them from below again. This was a highlight not only for Selina and my mother but also for us pilots. As we got closer to the airport I wondered how late it was. It was getting dark really fast, I believed. We turned on the instrument lights and proceeded into the pattern. On short final I was like “damn it IS dark” and pulled the landing lights. After landing my father and I noticed that we still wore our our Ray Bans. We smiled. This day seemed to end up in a real pilot story.
Although I was sitting in the right seat – I flew the first time with passengers. I won’t ever forget this day. As well as the smile of my girlfriend when I took off the sunglasses.