The starfighter goes to Michigan.

Starting to go through photographs from our flying adventure to the Traverse City area. From my student pilot perspective the trip was good practice for my learning how to talk to ATC on the radio (you get to say stuff like "niner" and "roger" and "wilco"!), and good lessons about how weather reports may or may not accurately reflect what you'll actually encounter in flight.

It was a beautiful time - I've never been to that part of Michigan and can't wait to return. I'll post more photos as I work on things, but for now...

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The Empire airport. I walked four miles into town on flip-flops. Needless to say, I really didn't want to walk back that far, so we stopped in at Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak and asked if someone might be able to drive us back to the airport. Eli offered, and John gave him a ride in the Starfighter to say thank you. Because I'm usually the one inside, it's always such a treat to watch someone else get to have a great time. Not to mention that the Starfighter is just a beautiful thing to watch...

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Woolsey Memorial Airport just north of Northport, on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. I saw this grass strip on the chart and knew I wanted to go there! It felt like being at the edge of the world. We camped for two days under the wing, got our water via an old-fashioned hand pump, and borrowed the airport bicycles to ride into town for breakfast and tea in the morning. Oh - I forgot to mention the stars. SO many stars. The way I remember them when I lived in Vermont. Shooting stars for wishing too...

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More to come.

Starfighter washing day.

John hadn't washed the starfighter in five years?! Well, it was one of those surprisingly warm Ohio November weekends...

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An oil change is first on the list, so what better reason to fly to the Plaza in Mt. Victory for breakfast than to warm up the engine. Did I mention they have the BEST homefries? AND they let me take home the mug!

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Back at the hangar, we finish the day in piles of grease-covered paper towels. There has to be a better way of doing this. But the oil is out and the starfighter's belly is sparkly clean! Never mind that the flesh is peeling off my hands from the industrial strength de-greaser. Hmm, should I have worn gloves? Oh well.

Day two starts with a flying lesson, so what better reason to fly to the Airport Cafe for breakfast than to practice a landing? Hot cocoa was the first order of business.

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I'd had it with squirt bottles and paper towels. I thought a good old-fashioned bucket of suds would be a better idea (and more fun). So, finally, off to the hose! It's a long way from the hangar.

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Hmmm... guess who's doing all the work while the boys in hats stand around gabbing?

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Just kidding. The inimitable John Popio appeared on his motorcycle to lend a hand and things went much faster. We even inspired Lee to wash his Cessna! I am looking forward to spring, when we can do this all over again (with more hose fights).

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The starfighter.

This is my flight instructor's plane. Lucky me is learning how to fly it :) It's a Chinese Nanchang CJ6A military trainer. Looks old, feels old, but it was built in 1982. I call it the starfighter because, well, that's what it feels like when I'm flying in it. Just the coolest thing ever. I'd never flown in a plane with a canopy... it is the most amazing thing to be able to look around and see forever. To look up and watch the clouds coming closer. To sneak a peek into the troposphere.

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