ELY AIR LINES: SELECT STORIES FROM
10 YEARS OF A WEEKLY COLUMN, VOLUME 2
“The Great Northwest”
Don called his ground roll about twenty-five seconds later. My insides felt like iron. I had the skill and experience. I got this.
We scanned the engine instruments. Cylinder head temperatures were good—not too hot. RPMs were higher than normal cruise flight, but that was intentional.
Keep it straight; he’s not far behind.
Mike called, “Race 55, turn one.” I snapped into a bank, our left wingtip pivoting on the turn point, and just as abruptly leveled the wings quickly coming out of the turn.
Straight on course.
We watched the seconds tick on our GPS, listening intently for Don’s turn one call.
“Race 30, turn one.” He hadn’t lost any ground.
By the second turn, there were fewer seconds separating us. Keeping my eyes on the course, I asked Mike, “Can you see him?”
“No, but he’s not far.”
At the third turn, I dipped our left wing in a purposed, calculated bank. My eyes scanned quickly to monitor my inputs, my human factor performance.
Sharp left bank. Look down the wing. Wingtip on the turn point.
Hold that bank.
Eyes up, check altitude. Steady. Don’t climb.
Lower the nose slightly to increase speed in the turn.
Eyes back to the turn point. Check the compass.
Don’t overshoot. Turn out on course.
Quick, level the wings. Don’t let the nose come up.
Mike made our third turn call.
Silence in the airplane as we waited for Don’s call. We must have done better on that turn. We gained a couple of seconds on him.
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