Free Flight



Free Flight

The sky was perfectly clear after the front had passed through. I scanned the horizon and only spotted a few altostratus clouds. This would be a perfect day for my flight. I had been planning this for quite sometime, all my navigation was done already, all that I needed was the current weather. I strolled back inside singing to myself, grabbed my weather log, and placed the call.

"You have reached the Burlington, Vermont automated flight service cent..."
"Yeah yeah." I dialed #* *99
"Burlington flight service center, how can I help you?"
"I need a standard brief for a VFR flight from Schenectady, NY to Martha's Vineyard via Chester VOR."
"Four Six Niner Eight Delta"
"Ok... We've got...."

I scribbled the brief down as he ran through it. Just as I thought, a PERFECT day. Winds were light and variable all along the route, unlimited visibility, and only the rare reports of clear air turbulence.

"Anything else I can do for you today?"
Well, no wind problems to correct for...
"Yessir, I'd like to file my flight plan if I could."
"Ok... Go ahead."

"VFR, November Four Six Niner Eight Delta, Cessna One Seven Two Uniform, 100 knots, Schenectady, sixteen hundred Zulu, 7,500, direct via Chester VOR, Martha's Vineyard, one hour fifty minutes, no remarks, four hours thirty minutes, Bradley, Brian Bikowicz Richmor Aviation Schenectady, one, and white and blue."

"All right. You can activate that flight plan with us once aloft."
"Will do, thanks."
"Have a good flight." Click.

"This really is a great day." I grabbed my flight bag, 'phones, and radio and headed for the airport. Things were really coming together for once.

One there I rented the aircraft I had reserved and did my preflight. The LORAN was buggy according to the discrepancy sheet, but I didn't need it anyway. Everything checked out and I was beginning to wonder if my luck would hold out for the rest of the day. I just wanted to get off the ground before anything could go wrong.

"Schenectady tower Skyhawk Four Six Niner Eight Delta"
"Niner Eight Delta Schenect tower."
"Niner Eight Delta is on the Richmor ramp. I'd like to taxi to the active. I'll be VFR to Martha's Vineyard."
"Niner Eight Delta taxi runway 4 via 10. Winds are light and variable, altimeter two niner niner seven."
"Niner Eight Delta runway 4 via 10. Roger."
Runup, final checks, ready to go.
"Schenect tower Niner Eight Delta is ready for takeoff."
"Niner Eight Delta cleared for takeoff, right turn out approved, contact Albany approach on 118.05 after takeoff. Have a good flight."
"Niner Eight Delta cleared for takeoff. Good day." I was sure that this would be a GREAT flight.

I'm finally off! I call Albany and get cleared through their ARSA and I'm on my way. Heading 143 on radial to Chester VOR.

I love flying, the freedom is unbelievable! I won't need to talk to anyone for a while so I slip Momentary Lapse of Reason into my box and relax. This is a real easy flight. The sky is so clear I can see from horizon to horizon. It is almost too perfect to believe. It looks like a matte painting, some incredible special effect. All of my problems are far below me now, nothing to worry about. Just me and the airplane. For a short time I'm in total control of my life, I hate to come down.

The VOR already? Time sure flies. Course now 127 radial from Chester VOR. I tune Putnam VOR for a double check. Right on course. Enya accompanies me as I sail through the air. The landscape rolls towards me and falls quickly behind.

I can see the coastline in the distance. This is what I've been waiting for. I've been planning this for so long. I switch off the radios, I won't be needing them anymore. There's no one I want to talk to.

I remove my tapes from my flight bag and replace them with my charts and kneeboard. I don't need any charts for the rest of my trip, I know where I'm going. As the coastline falls away behind me I open my window and drop the bag into the bay. As I pass over the Vineyard I switch off the transponder to make it a bit harder to be tracked. I firewall the throttle and trim the Skyhawk out for a steady climb.

Once I clear Nantucket I pull out my wallet and scatter its contents in the slipstream. I watch as my IDs scatter over the ocean. The shackles which society used to bind me.

I turn due east as I continue to climb. The aircraft flies itself in this calm air, I have nothing to do.

I turn up the music and recline in my seat. I wonder how high I'll actually get? How far will I fly? I'll never know. Hypoxia should set in soon after I clear fifteen thousand. I try to get some sleep.

The Skyhawk crashed into the Atlantic just over 200 hundred miles off the coast after the tanks ran dry. A few scattered pieces of floating wreckage were found over the next few weeks.

My spirit never came down.

-megazone, day dreaming, 8/2/92

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