Peace and Quiet at 1,200 MSL12:15 PM
On the way home from a meeting, the OAT was unseasonably warm for an early July evening the Pacific Northwest..so much that I had the window of my truck most of the way down. As I eased out of Eugene's downtown towards my home just on the outskirts of town, I began to notice that the sky was crystal clear, not a cloud to be found anywhere on the horizon. I also noticed the wind was 0000KTS, the perfect night for a flight:
Prior to my recent night landing when my CFI-I and myself landed back at KEUG when delivering 8527W up here from SoCal, I had not done any night flying in years. I cannot blame that night flight draught on anything but my lack of wanting to arrange a rental plane after hours. But now, as a sole owner, I get to reap one of the finest benefits of owning a plane – you do not have to "arrange" anything, there is nothing to schedule. Not that renting is bad, it is not. The place I was renting from was a great flight school, and I recommend them highly. But of course, due to insurance requirements, I would have had to go up and get a "night checkout" in order to do a few laps at night around the patch. So just to get current, I was looking at a couple of hundred bucks. So I remained a day only VFR driver until I bought 27W.After making the "go" decision, I blasted through my house, grabbed my flight bag and jammed the 10 minutes to the airport –
KEUG was deserted at 9PM, and as I taxied out, I immediately remembered how suck most GA landing lights are as I almost taxied straight onto the grass. After following that HUGE yellow line to 16L, I screwed in the throttle and 27W launched skyward into the clear, still night. I was about to enjoy the view when I realized that with 235 ponies pulling me and that monster Hershey Bar lifting me, you get to pattern altitude in no time. I pulled power, spun in some nose up trim, and set up for a nice stable downwind and final. After a decent arrival, I flew one more lap, and planted 27W back on the runway with a "no chirper", one of those landings you remember – one that is so sweet, you don't even hear the wheels touch down. Yes, this was a landing any pilot would love to brag about.I had forgotten that night flight was truly wonderful. Just me and Katy up there dancing across the perfectly still night sky, the lights of Eugene sliding by under her belly. I love how well this new KEUG runway is lit up at night...an arrival at a commercial Class Delta patch at night seems like you are in your own airliner, it feels important.
This, my friends, is freedom.