How do YOU celebrate a birthday? I’m going flying.

After some scheming, some brainstorming, and some encouragement, this weekend is going to be a memorable one.

I’ve been kicking around for months the idea of hitting 28 airports in a day as I turn 28. It’s a challenge that only gets harder as I grow older (though the Wichita man who did 50 for his 50th boggles my mind) and after some encouragement from my family, it’s time to do it.

With any luck, I’m headed tomorrow on a trip that should be a lot of fun.

After much planning I eliminated my first choice of aircraft, the 162 SkyCatcher. I’m not going to judge the airplane yet, but there wasn’t enough time to finish transition training, and I could tell this much time in that airplane would leave me pretty uncomfortable physically. The 152 dropped off the list because of lack of equipment, comfort, and just not being fast enough.

So the mighty 172 it is! While my flying club figures out what our next airplane is I’m utilizing the fact I stay checked out in the fleet here in Lawrence to grab one of their birds for the day. I’ll be taking N2465H, a 2005 172SP with a fuel-injected 180hp Lycoming and Garmin G1000 glass panel. While I have hours in the G1000, I’m looking forward to really learning what it can do cross-country.

But now I had weight to spare, and a long trip for it. So I sent a random email to my friend Nathan who pushed me over the edge into learning to fly. We’ve had a few adventures, including a trip out to the Beaumont hotel. Taxi across main street on your way to lunch? Yes please.

Man, I miss that plane…

And I got the weirdest answer back, because I knew it was a long shot of long shots. “could be able to work something out.” Well the details worked out and he and his girlfriend (also a pilot) are coming in from Boston to help out.

It’s going to be a lot of fun and a definite challenge.

Obviously with something like this safety is a big deal. I will not let a number goal compromise safety. There’s a number of weather or fatigue factors that can come into play so officially the goal is to have fun. If I make the landings goal, fantastic. The best I can tell from my logbook 15 is my most in one day, from back during the solo phase of my primary training. Since then 8 in a day isn’t all that special so both those numbers can be goals. But this is Kansas – known for its winds. I don’t know the route yet, we’ll see what the weather says. I have a few routes sketched out – one West all the way to Colorado and back and one South to the Joplin area stopping at a bunch of fields sentimental to Nathan and myself from training in the area.

But it’s going to be a LOT of fun.

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