An airplane with high wing loading takes gusty conditions in stride. However, it’s somewhat bumpy in a light airplane with an Airmet for turbulence with wind shear at lower altitudes. It was just one of those days. After getting airborne, I pointed the plane toward the next towered field for practice and very quickly, I had a close encounter with another four seater. For some reason, no call from tower regarding another blip on their screen which became a very large blip in my windscreen in no time at all. Same altitude and 120 degrees starboard, blissfully unaware that, in ATC parlance ”targets will merge” if they stay on the same vector, same altitude. So to de-mergify, I pulled some power and dive bombed for the deck while making a sharp turn away. I watched through the Plexiglas as the other plane passed less than 100 feet directly overhead.
With that out of the way, I made 8 take off and landings to a full stop at the other airport with at least one landing counting twice as gusts lifted the plane up while touching down (No I didn’t log it). During one of the circuits, I narrowly avoided a birdstrike with a hawk on climbout. The airport was getting busy with multiple planes filling up both the right and left hand traffic patterns so it was time to bug out for home, whereupon the coyote that I had to scare off the taxiway took the active as I was screaming down the runway for another takeoff. Wile Coyote froze in the centerline of the 6.500 runway so I hit the brakes prior to Vr since it wasn’t wise to guess if he would run forward toward the rotation point. No harm done, just a taxiback after calling tower for a do-over. After two more landings I decided that I had used up my luck for the day. As the engine coughed to a stop, I realized that I’ll never know what it’s like to hurdle off the deck of a carrier or feel the adrenaline rush of aerial combat where someone is shooting at you. Notwithstanding, general aviation has offered me some terrific excitement (I won’t count the near miss variety) with flights over the Grand Canyon, a Hawaiian volcano, aerobatics and warbirds. It’s included a rare landing on an island and sometimes flying to golf courses with an attached runway. Not every day will be a perfect day to fly but overall:
It has its moments.