Yesterday I took a quick trip to Grand Junction, Colorado for work. There is a classroom building at Mesa State College that my company did the electrical, audiovisual, security, fire alarm and lighting design for. I went down to "punchlist" the building, which is basically just checking up on the work the contractors have done and ensuring that they are following the approved plans.
The most exciting thing about the trip was that we flew down in a little top-wing, four-seater Cessna. The architect had hired a plane and pilot out of Logan and they stopped at the Salt Lake Airport #2 to pick me up. It was sure nice to not have to deal with any security, lines or crowds but to just walk up to the plane on the tarmac and jump in. Here's a picture of our little plane:
The plane ride to Grand Junction wasn't too bad. It took us about an hour and a half to get there. It was my first time in a little plane and I was a little nervous for the ride. Aside from when we crossed over the Wasatch mountains and the Bookcliffs, the ride was pretty smooth.
Going home was another story. We were mainly flying into the wind, but there were also some storms rolling in over Northeastern Utah (the Uinta and Vernal areas) which caused a bit of a crosswind. This caused the plane to bounce and swing quite a bit. It felt as though you were fishtailing on a roller coaster. I've never really been prone to motion sickness but I had to concentrate on my breathing. You can't just "watch the road" because there is no road and the plane is bouncing up and down. The other problem was that it was very hot. There is no AC in those little planes and the sun is just beating down on you. I was never all that close to puking but I was sure glad when about 10 minutes outside of Provo the ride became as smooth as could be. Even though we were bouncing around during the flight it was never really scary. I can't really explain why, though.
About 5 minutes after takeoff on the way home the pilot let me fly the plane for about a half hour. I brought us up to 10,500 feet (our cruising altitude) and tried to keep the plane steady. As it turned out even the autopilot wouldn't be able to do so (see previous paragraph). It was a cool experience. I spent more time watching all of the dials and gadgets than I did the sky ahead of me. I loved being able to see everything on the ground so clearly. Flying in a small plane also felt so much more like floating in the air. Commercial airliners are so solid that it's not much different than being on the ground - but there was a big difference in the Cessna.
In other news, Alison is due Friday. We were a little nervous about me leaving town so close to the due date but, we both felt that it wouldn't be a problem. She had her membranes stripped earlier today. Keep your eyes on the twitter feed above for the latest and greatest!