I love going out to the airport. On Tuesday while I was attending a seminar at the airport I was distracted. I took a seat near the window in the terminal and found myself watching the take offs and landings at the airport and only half listening to the seminar. Oh how I longed to be up flying that afternoon but my work schedule didn’t allow for it prior to the seminar.
Back when I was taking lessons one of my favorite things to do was to arrive early for my lesson and just watch others taking off and landing in the pattern. I wish there would have been a bench parked near the GA ramp so I could sit and watch. Most of the time I stood leaning on the corner of the hangar and watched until it was time to pre-flight the plane.
I would try to imagine what the instructor was telling their students on final and as they stopped on the runway prior to taking off again. Were they being told not to flare too high? Watch your airspeed on final the next trip around or was it the day that they finally did everything just right and were told to go to the ramp to drop off the CFI so they could take it up solo.
Last evening I was sad when I read that SCSU was considering cutting the aviation program at the college. They haven’t cut it yet, but it’s on the block. The aviation students make the airport such a fun place to be. They bring a level of excitement and anticipation to the flight school. I love hearing the chatter between the students and the CFI’s. They are always talking about what’s next for them. I can’t help but wonder what they are thinking now. Probably the same question “What’s next? but likely not thinking about their next rating but where do they go from here if the aviation program is cut. I can’t imagine having to change colleges once you’ve started with one college.
My CFI was a graduate from SCSU along with most of the other flight instructors. I don’t know what will become of the flight school if the aviation program is cut. That is where they get their CFI’s from. The St. Cloud Regional Airport took a hit when Mesaba pulled its planes from St. Cloud. They are in the process of trying to get another carrier to come in. Possibly one with runs to Chicago but the timing couldn’t be worse with the announcement from SCSU about a possible cut.
The trips to the airport aren’t quite the same anymore. There’s nothing like hearing on the radio “N4872B you’re number two behind the Mesaba” and wondering just what it was your CFI told you about wake turbulence and where you should land. It gets the adrenaline pumping that’s for sure or taxiing down to the runway and looking behind you to see a Mesaba following you on the taxiway. You feel rather small and insignificant with them behind you when you are in a 152.
Someone had a plan for an airport and envisioned “Wings Overhead” and I am thankful for them pursuing their dream.