Friday, November 19, 2010

Memory Triggers, Flying Into Mackinaw Island

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Map courtesy of GoogleMaps
Mackinaw Island.  To the left is the Upper
Peninsula.  I-75 indicates the Mackinaw
Bridge which takes you approximately
5 miles from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City.

The other day while preparing a three day series I titled, "The Horses of Mackinaw", over at Reflection's Flora and Fauna, I set off another memory trigger, "arriving on the island via airplane".  (There are basically two ways to arrive on the island, by water ferry, or by air.)

I have arrived at Mackinaw via air on two occasions, once with my mother as the pilot and another time several years later with a friend of Man's as the pilot.

My mother had done her homework, she knew the runway, how there is not a lot of distance between one end and, mmmm, the water (looking at maps I am guessing it is about 2000 feet).  She knew because of prevailing winds we would be landing and taking off in the same direction, with that water in our view.  (AKA, taking off to the west.)

Map courtesy of GoogleMaps
I left the scale on the bottom left, using
it, it sure looks like a little less than
2000 feet from end of runway to water,
flying west (actually, slightly south-west).

(By the way, there is a web page from AirNav on Mackinaw Airport, with oodles and oodles of techy and other information.  I am still amazed at what I can find on the net in just seconds.  Of course, there is a Wikipedia page as well, with a photo of the airport taken from the air.  You can see from the photo that if you take off towards the water you better be air born and stay that way, or you will be swimming.)

But, I digress, another little tidbit my mother was aware of was that there are prevailing winds that hit your plane as you land from the side.  She also knew that we would feel the affect of this side wind very close to the ground and she would need to do on approach, which, was to do what pilots call "crabbing".  (See this page for a description.)

On our landing my mother did her approach, crabbed the landing, and just like she wanted, we landed in the middle of the runway, not off to one side, which is one of the things that can happen when you do not crab during the landing.

The next time Man and I flew to the island for the day with a friend of his from work.  While chatting on the way up, we discussed my mother and the crabbing landing.  I got the feeling our pilot friend did not fully buy into my story or hints. 

And, so, we make our approach, coming in just right, down the middle of the runway, when, OOOPS!  that cross wind snagged us, and nope, our pilot friend was not crabbing (or not enough).  He had underestimated, he corrected.  I don't remember if we landed in the middle of the runway, what I do remember is his apparent shock, if I remember, his remark was something akin to, "WOW, Who knew?"

MMMMMM, I knew, and, snicker, I tried to warn ya!



*Graphic courtesy of horton-szar.net

4 comments:

IrishEyesJG said...

Wow, I love it! Your mom was a pilot; that is amazing!! I'd love to read more about her. Your pilot friend should have listened to you. I hope you felt a little bit smug. Cheers! Jennifer

Nita said...

Wow Carol!!! Your Mom sounds like quite a woman! Not only could she sew beautiful clothes for your doll, she could fly an airplane! Great stories and wonderful memories!

Nolichucky Roots said...

Kinda like men not asking for directions - only scarier.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Great story. Your mom must have been one gutsy lady. Or I am just a big, huge chicken. I was biting my nails the whole time reading this story! LOL