Tuesday, April 1, 2008


One of those pesky insurance forms sent me to my logbook, and I noticed something about last month's flight in the Diamond Star: the checkout instructor had entered the airport identifier as KLGB, rather than just LGB.  This is embarassing: I always write the full aircraft identifier in my and my students' logbooks.  Why not write the full airport identifier?  

I've had the privilege of flying many aircraft whose registration marks did not begin with 'N'.  I lived in Canada for a year, so flew a bunch of different airplanes.  My favourite [sic] was C-GGGZ, and I tried to avoid C-GOIS, because "Oscar India Sierra" is too much of a tongue-twister for a Bostonian.  

In England, I flew a Tiger Moth, G-AHIZ, surviving an open cockpit in January.  I didn't have a car, so I bicycled to the airport.  I ate an apple before bicycling back to town.

I toured the Mediterranean coast in Archer F-GGMH with an instructor who spoke little English. My French is pretty good, but a whole day of French so exhausted me that I fell behind the airplane.   I ate couscous at an Algerian restaurant that night.  

My wife and I took a memorable overnight trip in an Australian Skyhawk, VH-LIO, visiting out-of-the-way places in Queensland as well as Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef.  None of these were accessible by road, especially the island: no airplane would have meant no visit.  In Cooktown we ate giant crabs and crocodile ravioli, and were kept awake by a couple fighting outside our hotel room.  She had caught him with another woman and we were both afraid that she might hurt him (I have never heard such anger, or such cowering) and afraid to interfere for the sake of our own safety.  

Most recently, I got to fly a Wilga, HS-SSR, in Thailand.  That's the picture in my profile.  I was so excited that I skipped lunch, and later ate street food in Bangkok.  (No, I did not get sick.)

When I've flown overseas, in Alaska, or in Hawai'i, I have written the full airport identifier.  From now on I will  use it for all of my flying, whether cross-country,  a session of Lazy 8s, or instrument approaches.  If nothing else, using KSLC instead of SLC or KBOI instead of BOI will remind me that I hope to fly in exotic places again.

There is one big exception: what do I use if I land out in a glider?

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