Unfortunately, I won’t be doing the flying. Just taking a hop in a Part 135 flight to Orcas Island in a 206.
206 Bell or Cessna?
Cessna 206 Stationair.
I got to the airport at about 07:15 for the 07:45 flight to Orcas. I chatted with a guy who was trying to get to Seattle. I found out later that he had taken flying lessons in 1967, but never soloed. (He didn’t look that old.) He was interested in what happens when a helicopter loses power, so I explained autorotation. It was a longer process than necessary because he kept interrupting. Nice guy, though.
My boss had arrived in the meantime, and was talking to someone else who was going to Orcas. The ceiling was low, and the flight was delayed. The boss found out his meeting had been cancelled, and soon I was the only passenger left. I hung out, and it started getting lighter. At around 09:00 I was told that the prospects looked good for the 09:45 flight. I went outside to make a phone call, and the pilot (“He’s just a kid!”) came out to tell me that the passengers for that flight had cancelled, and that we could take off any time I wanted.
I sat in the starboard seat in the middle row. Oh, it was nice to be in a light plane again, even if I wasn’t up front! We took off and headed to the island at 1,350 feet. Unfortunately it was only a 15 minute flight.
The flaps came down and we made our descent. I could see the “cherry on top” on the VASI. The stall warning horn went off just as the mains hit the runway. When I was flying Cessnas I habitually made short-field landings with the stall warning horn blaring throughout the flare. I’d always wanted to make the first turnoff without using brakes. Of course, I can see how that might not be a good practise on a charter flight. Passengers might be upset if they heard that annoying buzzer.
It really, really kills me not to be flying. I’d been thinking of switching back to fixed wings, just because it’s so much cheaper than helicopters. The flight in the 206 reinforced that. While I prefer helis, I just want to leave the planet for a while and I don’t really care what the conveyance is. (“God does not count against one’s time on Earth, the hours spent in the air.”) Too bad I can’t even afford to fly a Cessna right now.
Speaking of Cessnas, I saw a 1974 Cessna 172 for sale near the gate we were fixing. It looked very nice in its new paint. It had oversized tyres for bush flying, and only 690 hours SMOH. The sign in the window had an asking price of $79,000 that was crossed out and replaced with $69,950. :eek: Seventy kilobucks for a 30-year-old Skyhawk? Insane.
It was 16:30 by the time we finished our work at the airport, so I was too late to get a flight back to BLI. I rode back on the ferry, and my co-worker drove be back from Anacortes. It’s probably best that I didn’t spend the $39 for a flight back, but it would have been nice.
As my old Champion Spark Plug keychain said when I was a kid, “It’s Fun To Fly”.