Touring Chicago

Greg got his pilot's license in March 2001. On April 1st of that year, the weather was pretty nice, so we headed out to tour Chicago. Greg flew down to Palwaukee airport, north of Chicago to pick Dian up, for her first flight. We headed out over Lake Michigan, toward Chicago...circled the city and flew back up to Wisconsin to Greg's airfield (Westosha Airport).

 

Greg and some of his pilot buds in the Westosha pilot's shack.
Telling war stories <smile>...
...and jokes!
Greg's shirt...from his solo.
Greg introducing his friends...Jack and...
...Carl.
Greg's successful checkride notation...licensed private pilot.
There are some characters at Westosha...and not all have their licenses yet...but they've got the idea. <g>
Yep, that's the prop swinging through...
Looking out at runway 30 at Palwaukee (KPWK) from Service Aviation's ramp
This IS a Cessna 172...so don't let the picture fool you into thinking we're in a taildragger!
Our esteemed, talented copilot and camera person (Dian).
Getting the ATIS (Automated Traffic Information System).
The pencil really isn't pointing to anything important...you just can't fly around here without a chart and a pencil!
Get the frequencies from the Flight Guide...
...And set them in the radios.
Did I do all that correctly? How about a conversation with the ground controllers?
3rd in line for departure on 30...
Number 2 in line rolls out...
...And then it's our turn.
I really like the 172. I did all my training in a 152 and the difference in power and comfort is remarkable. We haven't even hit the runway threshold yet and we're already rotating!
It was a bit of a bumpy day but it was clear.
Past the airport and headed for Vernon Hills.
And up to Libertyville.
Heading toward the upscale people in Winnetka...
...and Kenilworth.
Ze pilot, he is concentrating on his run to the shore.
At last, lake water!!
Once safely over the lake (fewer people to fret over in an emergency), we turn south and head for the big city.
There it is in the distance. The little hook of land just in front of us is Montrose harbor.
We have to stay low on this run; nothing over 3000' or the FAA will be inquiring about our lack of a clearance from O'Hare (ORD).
It was a Windows 95 sort of a day...
The detail is better than Flight Simulator...still.
The very familiar Chicago skyline. The white roofs are on Navy Pier.
My brother flies in the mountains and makes me nervous...
...I fly in Chicago; a different kind of lumpy terrain with its own set of little challenges.
That dark spot in the middle is within the locks of the Chicago river. Strange, it looks green when you're standing next to it!
Hyde Park and Kenwood, straight ahead.
Soldier Field, great landmark and about to get a face lift. They'll fit more people in there but I haven't heard anyone with ideas on how to get them all there.
Meigs Field (CGX)...
When taking the Chicago Aerial Circle Tour, talk nicely to the folks at Meigs...
...they'll watch you and keep you out of Midway's airspace if they have time.
Meigs is pretty from the air but it's not much fun to actually visit.
The city government is fairly intent on closing Meigs and has placed some stiff fees levied against anyone who lands there. Don't come here without $50 in your pocket. No touch and goes, no students, $35 to land, $10 to get driven off the ramp to the terminal.
If you've ever driven in on the Ryan Expressway, well, this is the spaghetti you're navigating when you hit downtown.
The Hancock building; use it and the Sears Tower for your ground references.
As the labels suggest, we have some interest in these places. That's the Chicago river that flows between the Merchandise Mart and Dian's office. I used to stand inside Microsoft's offices and marvel at the view. This is much more fun than that was!
Same place but zoomed out.
I don't really relish flying under Class B airspace and wanting to site see at the same time so we're heading North out of town.
The air gets smoother as you get away from the tall buildings and all that asphalt radiating heat up under your wings.
Lincoln Park's Harbor? Kinda hard to tell. I can't pull over and read the street signs so we'll have to let a real expert tell us.
After passing Waukegan, IL (UGN) and before Kenosha, Wi (ENW) you fly up on a little community called Pleasant Prairie. Dian's niece, Sammie, and her family have a horse stable there. That's their white barn below us.

Oh, uh, well, we've more strategic recon photos of the farm. The C-172 overflight produced these pictures. If you look to the back of the barn you can clearly see the Soviet SS-20 ICBM missiles that Castro has been hiding in preparation for a strike on Wisconsin.

I won't tell you what we think he's going to do with the manure!!

We're getting closer to the ground. There must be an airport around here!! I see a race track just off the nose to the right. Hmmm, must be downwind for 21 at Westosha (5K6) in Wilmot, Wi!!
Never exceed 30 degrees bank in the pattern...that's what the voice is saying in my head. It's really my instructor's voice and he doesn't really seem to mind when I borrow it from him.
Rounding the turn for final approach. This is almost the crab heading for a straight run in. Yep, it's really windy today...
...And since it's bad form to land all crabbed up, we have to lean the plane into the wind a bit...lotsa rudder at work here.
Really, we're on the extended center line!!! We're just leaning a lot, that's all!
See? It's not so bad. Everything's where it ought to be and...

Crap!! Just a touch hot so we bounced a couple feet before the stall horn came on.

Oh well, it still wasn't too bad a landing.

See? My glasses are still on, I look less than excited, and the camera lady is still burning tape so it must have been a half-way decent landing!

While Dian took some great footage of this flight, I think she'd agree that actually flying that trip, watching airliners go over our heads or a Bonanza racing by, or even seeing the plane that violated Waukegan's airspace was a lot more fun than these pictures suggest. If a picture's all you've got to go with then you're getting a thrill.

Actually being able to fly it? That part is without parallel. Even better is the fact that Dian has turned out to be such an enthusiastic and interested partner in the flying!!! I couldn't really ask for more than to be able to fly and have her along with me. It makes a great day to have someone with whom to share this kind of joy!