December 12, 2004

out for a spin

I took a couple of friends flying yesterday. It was a beatiful day, after a few weeks of bad weather. That meant, of course, that everybody had to come up with the same idea.

The airport was extremely crowded. We were 3rd in the takeoff sequence, with at least 4 airplanes waiting after us. 3 airplanes landed in the short period before our turn came up.

We left the airport to the north and got a "traffic 9 o'clock, 1 mile" advise from the tower before leaving Addison's airspace. Figuring the friendly skies would be as crowded as the ground, I turned my radio to the approach frequency to listen for nearby traffic as soon as we were clear of Class D airspace.

We cruised around for a bit, keeping a watchful 3 sets of eyes (it's always a good idea to have your passengers look out for traffic as well) on the space around us. When flying under VFR (visual flight rules), it's the pilot's responsibility to see and avoid other aircraft, even when talking to ground-based controllers. The may occasionally advise about nearby traffic, but they are not required to do so. After all, they are not liable if you have an intimate encounter with another plane.

We did, indeed, come across a few other airplanes and had to maneuver to avoid getting too close to them. Other than that, our short trip was peaceful and uneventful.

As always, I really enjoyed the flight, which was a welcome break from the more demanding aerobatic training I've been working on for the past couple of months.

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