If You're Bored, Go To An Airport......

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by farky, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. farky

    farky Pre-Flight

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    My family has been down in Florida for a few days and I decided to go for a drive today. Ended up at the airport diner at Whitted in St Pete. A couple of guys were eating beside me so I got to talking with them and about the Malibu they had flown in on. I asked the pilot if he flew for a career or just for fun. He said mostly just for fun now but I used to fly for a career. I asked what he flew......he said three missions to space on the shuttle! Turns out it was Andy Allen. Extremely nice guy.....glad I got to chat a bit. So if you ever get bored, go to an airport. Never know what or who you'll find!!
     
  2. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    The Hangar is a great cafe. Second story outdoor seating, with great views of the runways and water. Had the chicken and waffles last time I was there.
     
  3. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    We will be down there later this month. We stay almost across the street. We eat at that resturant several times each trip. The lounge on the top floor of the Hilton looks out over the airport and harbor. It is a great area. My home airport up north is mostly deserted, but Whitted impresses me with how busy it is for a GA airport.
     
  4. farky

    farky Pre-Flight

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    There was constant traffic the whole 2 hours I was there....anything from 152's to PC-12's. Was great to see.
     
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  5. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Great story! I've only been to a couple of the Arizona pilot's fly ins for breakfast and those that I've met (all are members here by the way) are ALL interesting people in their own right. By the way Arizona people, we should do it again while its still nice and cool.
     
  6. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I was just starting as a student, had just a few hours flying time, my wife and I took a vacation in Umbria, Italy.
    I willingly went, but it was really for my wife, it was in a converted "cloister"that now offered yoga and italian cooking courses. Other than the Yoga instructor I was the only guy there. It was brutal. Up early in the morning to do yoga, then cooking lessons, etc. etc. something going on most of the time. The monastery was up on a high point on a hill.

    On like the second or third day I noticed airplanes flying down and landing somewhere down there out of sight. Looked up on google to see if I could locate the airport. Had a helluva time finding it. I was looking for a paved runway, but finally saw a hangar on google earth with a plane partways out and located it.
    So I skipped a class, and borrowed a vey shaky bike with handlebars that weren't locked down (wiggled a lot with not much effect) and very bad brakes, and made my way down the hill, over the highway and about a 40 minute ride.

    Anyway, I got to the airport and found one guy there, and with my bad italian barely made it clear I was wondering if I could buy a lesson. He didn't seem too pleased really, but we did agree I would come back in two days and we could go up.
    He then showed me some videos of him, he was an acro pilot, had won a lot of competitions, etc.

    So the day comes, I'm excited. The whole yoga group heard about this, so they were all planning on watching from the monastery to see the plane. I get to the airport (I fixed the handlebars on the bike) and the guy shows up, honestly looking like he had had a very hard or late night. Seemed grumpy. Didn't acknowledge me or another italian student also there. The other student spoke english though.

    So he has what I think was a sport version (smaller) that looked a bit like a C172. He takes it out, does some checks, taxi, and then comes back. Turns out the electrical elevator trim wasn't working. So he and another guy take some chairs out to the empennage and start removing parts of the tail. I text my wife, who knew we planned takeoff around 9 a.m. but just said we had some delays so she wouldn't worry about me up in a "broken" airplane.

    Some time later he wants to test it first and check the winds aloft. So he says "just wait here" and takes the plane up and proceeds to do all kinds of aerobatics. It was really impressive. I had tried to tell him I was a new student so "no no" (wagging finger when we looked at the videoes) and mimed straight and narrow flying, but he just grinned like "we'll see...heh heh".

    Anyway, so he does some amazing flying for about 5-8 minutes, and then lands. Not good news. In halting english "the winds are too much...not for me...but for..you" so it's all a wash.

    The funny part. At that stage in training I had had some bouts of nausea, mild... So my wife and the whole yoga class up the hill on the other side of the valley thought I was in the plane as it was looping, rolling, slipping, etc. and since it landed after a short time my wife was sure I had barfed.

    It was a big dissapointment that I didn't get to fly, but it sure was a fun thing to find the airport, and feel that even in a different country, and airport is still an airport...fun for us that like flying. Was interesting to experience.
     
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  7. retpd2001

    retpd2001 Line Up and Wait

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    I'm game.....
     
  8. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yep. Most of the interesting pilots I’ve met were at an airport.
     
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  9. Gerhardt

    Gerhardt En-Route

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    You should go to the parties I go to.
     
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  10. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Some years back, my wife and I went to a very nice resort out in the remote regions of the desert Southwest; a place that had its own airstrip.

    One of the interesting aspects about this place was that meals were served at one long table, with all the guests seated together, and the owner of the place (if he was in town) at the head of the table acting as host. It was really a lot of fun, and you got to talk with interesting people (or be ignored by some of the more arrogant ones, who felt they were too good to talk to the great unwashed, but they were few and far between).

    So while I'm chatting with this family (father, mother, and two really nice kids), something I said clued the father in that I was a pilot, and he asked me if that was my V-tail Bonanza at the airstrip. When I told him that it was, he asked quite a few questions about it, and upon inquiry, said he had "...done a little flying, himself, 172..." but that he didn't fly for a living.

    The next day, the resort manager (who had overheard the conversation) told me that, in fact, the gentleman with whom I had been speaking had just returned from six months or so on the International Space Station. "A little flying," indeed!

    I figured that, if he wanted to talk about his life as a steely eyed missile man, he would bring it up, and if he didn't, I was more than happy to respect that choice. I remember thinking what a remarkable woman his wife must've been, watching her husband, the father of her children, strapping on a rocket and going into space. Really, really nice people.

    As it happens, we were both checking out on the same day. They came out the gate by the airstrip to drive home to Houston in their Suburban just as we were taxiing to depart. He may have been an astronaut, but he still pulled to the side of the road and watched while we took off. Definitely a pilot.