Oct 2012 Lane Davis (Georgia)
Lane Davis is based at (KPDK) DeKalb Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, Georgia and sent in this wonderful pilot update!
2 Years ago, learning to fly in a 1946 JR Piper Cub, with my dad as my instructor
It’s funny to think back to when I first signed up for Ladies Love Taildraggers: I made my page, wrote a blurb, and sent in a few pictures, and never wrote again. I had to remember to bring a camera out to the airport because I didn’t have any photos of myself with the plane – now I have more than I know what to do with. Back then I didn’t know where flying would take me – I still don’t, but I’m enjoying the ride.
My neglect of this page is a little embarrassing; I suppose I told myself I was too busy with school and, of course, flight training, to spend time reading and writing about flying. But now, as a senior in high school during fall semester I have less time than ever – what with school, college application, fall sports, and, of course, flying, – but find myself wanting to spend all my time reading flying magazines and writing about flying. So I’ve decided to take a break from my college essays to chronicle a few of my fun (and not so fun) flying experiences over the last 20 months.
Last fall, my dad began teaching me about cross-country flights – old school (paper maps, wind calculators, plotters, and compasses). Here I found a new favorite thing about flying: drawing a line across a map and following it! I love dead reckoning and pilotage, watching the little symbols on the map turn into mountains and buildings and rivers beneath me, following that line from one end to another, and exploring all the fun airports around Georgia. My dad and I took lots of trips in the Cubby together; one day we flew up to Suches in the mountains of Georgia and landed on a grass strip to visit some friends.
On May 28, 2011, I soloed for my fist time. I soloed at the same airport where I trained: Peachtree-Dekalb, the second busiest airport in the state. It was exhilarating! It was a busy morning at PDK and the tower controller asked me to extend my down wind twice and turn an early crosswind. Luckily, I was used to all the chatter and demands on pilots. One of our favorite photos shows me coming in to land on runway 20R while a King Air comes in to land on 20L (he looks like he’s going to eat me alive!):
My landings were all good, and, to my extreme pleasure, I had one squeaker:
And finally, my Dad cut my shirt tail!
The summer after my first solo (sophomore year of high school) I wasn’t at home. But when I returned in the fall, it was back to flying. In October, I soloed out of the pattern for the first time. It was a quick flight, and my dad had flown with me earlier that day, but when I came back to the airport alone the wind had picked up. I wasn’t used to how light the plane was without my dad in it and on the landing, I ground looped the cub. I was so upset and embarrassed. My dad and I had worked in the pattern for so long, but I was still defeated by that crosswind. After the ground loop, my dad and I spent many more weeks working in the pattern on crosswind technique with winds as strong as 25 knots before I soloed again. I lost a lot of time and a lot of confidence due to that ground loop – I’ll never forget it. Even after I could handle any crosswind the airplane could it took me months to regain confidence in my skills.
Last June (just a few months ago) I passed my check ride, receiving my sport pilots license. I’m so happy to finally have my license, and I’m so glad I earned it in the cub!
Finally, this morning I went out to the airport and arrived just as the sun was rising. It was a quiet weekend morning; few business jets leaving and it was too early for the usually general aviation crowd. I silently pulled the Cubby out of the hangar by her prop. The chilly early morning breeze stirred an excitement and anticipation of my flight in me (even though I was only working in the pattern). I felt a new type of freedom – different from the liberation that comes from gettingÂ your drivers license or turning eighteen; this freedom was about simply being and enjoying. I wasn’t flying to get anywhere or prove anything; I was just flying. I took this photo this morning; the airport is certainly a nice place to wait for the sunshine.