Is This Real ?

“Ready for the big adventure ” I wrote at the end of my last post.

Well, kind of…
Lots of last minute purchases, adjustments to take care off and then the wait for the right weather.
When the met-man offered a two day flying window towards Maine I went for it.

Rental car returned, plane loaded and fueled, sky conditions checked – nothing was going to hold me back now.

Lift-off was at 9:55 EDT on August 16 – an epic trip had begun.

After leveling off at 2500 ft my home base 28M slowly vanished behind the right wingtip.
A quick, routine check: wings level and all instruments indicating what they should.
It was time to call Boston Approach to ask them to keep an eye on me.

And then, suddenly, there was a brief moment when something within me seemed to pause and catch its breath.

For a second or two I felt an almost unreal sensation of total calm and detachment, as if my alter ego from a parallel world had stopped the clock and compressed almost three years worth of memories into one vivid flash.

Is this real?

Am I really flying my Cessna 170 on the first leg of a trip I’ve been dreaming about for ages?

Am I going to wake up soon?

It was the radio which re-established reality:

“N94VW, radar contact, 8 miles southeast of Norwood airport”

The Boston controller certainly wasn’t from any other world and would make sure I stayed in his.


So it sounded, looked and felt like the real reality, and just to make sure I wouldn’t stand a chance to nourish any lingering doubt about it, this real reality just threw me a curve ball: suddenly the GPS-signal was gone!

The maps on my navigation display wouldn’t update, the little airplane symbol wouldn’t move along its planned course line anymore. 

I still saw the map, of course, but it didn’t give me my position on it.

Back to good old terrestrial navigation: where do I find on the map what I see below?

It took me perhaps a minute or two and I had made the connection – a connection which also brought back memories of standard operating procedures of more than thirty years ago.

Right after the display came to life again the guardian below chimed in:

“94VW turn left heading 340, traffic opposite direction – Cessna 180 at 2800”.

While banking out of harms way I first saw the corresponding blip on my “traffic alert screen” and soon thereafter the “real McCoy”: a nicely polished big sister of my 170 zipping by below.

I was cruising at 3500 so there wasn’t any danger but it was nice to know that big brother was watching out for me. 

As it turned out this temporary loss of my contemporary navigation equipment wasn’t going to be the only “adventurous” moment – which lasted about 5 minutes, by the way – of my journey nor was it the only flashback to the good old days.

Rather than going down the list of all of them I’ll recreate the most wonderful and touching experiences of those 18 days by writing down what stuck and I’ll throw in some of those unexpected details.

To give you a peek into what’s going to come – and it might take some time until it’s fit to print – I’ll send you there (scroll up)
for a quick overview.