A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Beach trip

August 23, 2012
Emilie Phillips

Despite the fact that I am not usually a beach person, last weekend, that was about the only activity that was going to work for me and get me outside. To make the trip a little more interesting, we flew out to Martha’s Vineyard. We took the RV4. On a good day, when I am in practice, I can fly it solo, but I have not been able to keep on top of flying. So, while I flew from the front seat, Tyson acted as backup from the rear.

Unfortunately, since I do not fly that airplane enough, the first thing I do is get stressed out trying to remember how to start the airplane. Then we went over to Jaffrey where I messed up my pattern work followed by a request for aerial photos. At least when I did finally land, it was a decent landing. We fueled up and then headed out.

The first part of the trip down was fine. Then we encountered clouds. That interfered with my preplanned altitudes and descent. While I was still dealing with that, I had to start talking to a very busy Martha’s Vineyard tower. On my own, I probably would have fumbled through a solution, but instead Tyson ended up taking over communications which left me more flustered. And finally, when we got to our non-towered destination on the other side, there was still more traffic, plus Tyson ended up feeling like he needed to do plenty of rear seat coaching for the landing. In total, once we parked, I was quite thoroughly done. There are some disadvantages to flying with your SO.

We waited in line at the restaurant for breakfast which turned into lunch. There were two open cockpit biplanes giving rides, and a bunch of other airplanes going in and out. Eventually we made it down to the beach where I took a nap and Tyson went for a walk. I had fit some swimming suits and towels in the airplane, so we spent some time playing in the water before it was time to head home.

On the way out, I rehearsed exactly what I would say to the neighboring tower before we took off, and I told Tyson to let me try a little more on my own. There was only one other plane departing when we did, so I did not have to deal with much traffic. Unfortunately, the neighboring tower was just as busy. After failing to get a word in edgewise for what felt like an eternity but was probably less than a minute, I gave up and just decided to detour around their space. Instead we took a lovely tour of the bay between the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard, and of Woods Hole. I still had to deal with the clouds, but in this case it seemed fairly easy to fly over them for the cruise back home. Up we went. About half the trip home was spent admiring the tops of poofy clouds. I landed back at Jaffrey to fill up again. The airplane has small tanks. We picked up a bagged dinner from Tyson’s folks and headed home. Tyson flew that leg from the front seat because he is not yet confident enough to rescue my mistakes flying into our short airstrip.


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Comments (1)

  • Sounds like you need to establish a protocol for deciding when you’re overloaded and Tyson needs to help you out. Then you can carry the checklist with you and not feel annoyed (or getting yelled at by the FAA).