Wing view

Wing view

Click on image for full size.

The view: The view from 23,000 feet over Utah, on our way from Seattle’s Boeing Field to El Paso, Texas.

The pilot: Dave Sandidge

The airplane: SA227-AT Expediter

The mission: A cargo mission—the gritty side of general aviation…

The memory: You sit in one position in one chair for over three hours. You stare at electro-mechanical needles and dials for those same three+ hours, eyes darting from one to another quickly because you have no autopilot. The fellow next to you is numb with fatigue and inadvertency. It’s his turn to rest, but he’s losing badly at summoning sleep. Occasionally, you turn your head away from your only links to survival, your instruments, and consider with much respect those marvelous products of science and art which draw you to such musings, your wings and engines. Sadly, they receive barely a pallid affection, and only when the eye has nothing else on which to focus.

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Dave Sandidge
5 replies
    THEO TRUTER says:

    Just imagine the mission required. It was in a battle-weary Piper Chieftain being used for night freight flights five times every week. The route was from Rand Airport ( near Johannesburg in South Africa) to a coastal town, Port Elizabeth, which took 3 hours. The autopilot often failed, so hand-flying it required. A most useful external aid, was to keep the convenient Southern Cross star-group in the windscreen. Knowing the towns by their street-lights became second nature. There was only one en-route airport, equipped with runway lights at Bloemfontein, so any en-route emergency would require diverting there, if able to!

    • Dave Sandidge
      Dave Sandidge says:

      Yes, inadvertency. It is a noun. Inadvertency is the trait of forgetting or ignoring your responsibilities due to, among other things, fatigue. Synonyms are: heedless, unmindfulness.

  2. Brian Lott
    Brian Lott says:

    Love the view! You are living the dream, make sure that you take time to enjoy it. I am 64, on BasicMed so I won’t have the opportunity to get there. I started multi-engine training today in a Duchess, just because it is something that I want to do and I really enjoyed it.

    • Dave Sandidge
      Dave Sandidge says:

      Brian, I hope you do go on and obtain a multi-engine rating. And I hear that BasicMed is okay for just getting back into the air. I’m retired airline (66) and flying Merlin IIIs and IVs now. There’re not too many around anymore, so if you see one it might just be me behind the wheel. I still enjoy it and I’ll do it as long as I can. I’ll look for you sometime in that Duchess…

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