Flights 7, 8, and 9

At this stage in the game I’m learning to fly the pattern and pratice take-offs and landings.  It’s pretty hard going, as the lessons come fast and the margin for error is very low.  It also requires a lot of talking to the tower, watching for other planes, and generally going through a mental checklist very, very quickly.

The instructor says I’m doing well at the landing approach, and OK and landings, but I can’t help thinking that the issues I’m still having with take-offs and operating in the pattern are large ones.  Hopefully things will improve with time, since I’m now out at the field twice a week to keep the training flowing.

Why Commercial Flights Suck, Again

This week I took a series of flights from San Jose to Austin, Texas, then on to Denver, Colorado, and back to San Jose again.  I shouldn’t be surprised at it any more, but the terrible conditions that now exist in airports is quite appalling.

Previously I would almost never check my bag.  Now, because I’d like to have toothpaste and shampoo available when I fly I must check bags in.  This leads to more time in line, more chances for missed flights, and of course, lost or severely delayed luggage.  Going through Denver, I experienced the severe delay and ended up leaving the airport far later than planned (1 hour later to be exact).

On the trip back I witnessed a conversation between a TSA agent and a weary traveler in the screening line.  In short, the agent told the passenger that if he had only limited his carry-on fluids to 4 ounces (or thereabouts) he could have gotten them on the plane.  In fact, the agent said that the TSA would have allowed the passenger to take on more than one container, perhaps shampoo, mouthwash, and toothpaste, if the passenger had been more smart about the packing.  In the end, the passenger departed with no toiletries.

At Denver I was given the choice to fly on my scheduled flight, but have my baggage arrive on a much later flight, or wait around for the later flight and go with the same plane that had my bag.  I took the later, and that was a huge mistake.  Nearly 3 hours late and a nearly unbearable wait later, I finally got on a plane an headed home.

The moral of these stories is to fly without toothpaste, shampoo, or any of the other comforts of home.  Give up trying to make things work the way they once did (and should again) and demand that hotels start providing these goods for the traveler.  Only then will some sanity return to commercial air travel.