Sunday, August 01, 2010

Back in the air post-Oshkosh

Nothing makes me want to fly like seeing thousands of other people doing it. We got up at 0130 local for our drive back on Saturday, the net result of which being that we got home at a reasonable time but I was far too tired to consider flying. This morning dawned bright and clear and that could only mean one thing: I had to get the mowing done. After that, though, I could finally get back into the air. As always, I need some form of justification to make the fuel cost worthwhile, no matter how thin of an excuse it is. Today it was that I needed to fill the tanks over at MadCo. And, as long as I was going on such a short flight, to introduce Cabot to his Mutt Muffs.

We grabbed his harness, the muffs, and a camera. I also still had four cases of oil in the car that needed to be delivered to the hangar. All in all, it was looking like a wonderful confluence of reasons to go to the airport. As is often the case, Cabot was ready and willing with no more than the rattle of his leash to tell him we were heading somewhere.

Once at the hangar, I put him in his harness and lifted him into the plane. He isn't particularly fond of being picked up, but with the harness it's just like picking up a brief case. Grab him by the "handle" and up he goes. I strapped him in, gave him a treat, and let him sit there while I pulled the plane out and did the preflight. Once we were just about ready to go, I put on the Mutt Muffs (No, not on myself. On him, silly) for the first time. I gave him another treat in hopes that he will equate having those things on his head with getting dog treats. I climbed aboard and brought down the canopy. I started the engine and we sat there for a few minutes while he got comfortable. I had the harness belted in tight enough that he really couldn't move around much. Once he was happily situated, I called the tower for taxi clearance.

At the end of the runway I did my normal last-chance-to-back-out run-up of the engine, and Cabot seemed fine with it. I tried to get a picture of him but my preflight inspection hadn't gone far enough; someone had left the camera on and the battery was dead. No problem - I'd just make do with the camera in my cell phone.

I couldn't pay much attention to him during the takeoff, but once we were climbing away from the airport I was able to look to see how he was doing. He was just looking out the window, more than likely thinking that the animals below looked just like chew toys.

I was surprised to see that he hadn't knocked the Mutt Muffs off. Good boy! He does, however, have a somewhat awkwardly shaped head and the muffs have an annoying tendency to slide off the back. 

It's only a few minutes over to MadCo and he was calm the entire way. In fact, the whole thing was kind of anticlimactic. I thought for sure that he would need attention and comforting, but he was calm as could be. Calmer, as it turns out, than a lot of humans who have flown with me.

We landed for gas and Cabot experienced his first of my style of landing. It was a surprisingly good landing considering that I haven't flown for a couple of weeks, but the air was very calm and that usually helps. Still, it was one of those very rare landings where it is so smooth that you can feel the wheels start to spin as they scuff on the runway. How nice to make a good first impression!

We re-arranged his muffs while we were on the ground and got him turned around the other way so he'd be more comfortable. The takeoff was a little less sprightly now that we had another 120 pounds worth of fuel on board, but none of that mattered to Cabot. He was having a great time!

He snuggled up against me and enjoyed our ride back to Bolton where, against all odds, I made another landing as good as the first one.


  1. He really is adorable and I love the Mutt Muffs! Glad to see you got back in the air post-Airventure.

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