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Cessna Spiritual Essay

1980 words - 8 pages

It is a miserable, humid summer day in southern Michigan. Being outside is torture, the air clings to my skin and clogs my lungs with every breath; it feels like the atmosphere is made of warm honey. The cool grass of the springtime is now gone; replaced by a crunchy, matted, tangle of golden-brown vegetation, wrought with cracks and covered with a thin layer of dust.
I pull into the parking lot of the airport; I grab my headset and maps off of the front seat of my truck and begin the long, sweaty walk to the airplane. The heat causes the air to shimmer over the freshly laid tarmac of the airfield, and makes me regret the decision to leave the comfortable confines of my air conditioned ...view middle of the document...

It has a long sweeping tail that sticks up above the ground about eight feet, at the very tip there is a small ruby red beacon like a jewel mounted at the highest point for all to see. Painted down the side is the craft’s identification “N67824” in large gold numbers, the pilot’s around the airport call her “Old Eight-Two-Four” for short. The landing gear consists of three wheels of the same size; two main wheels right under the doors on long struts that are swept out at a forty-five degree angle, and one wheel mounted at the center of the nose; giving it an awkward stiff legged stance that could only be described as comical.
I attach the crimson tow bar to the nose wheel; it is a strange looking device that resembles a small rake with a wide “T” shaped handle. I grab hold of handle on the tow bar tightly with both hands, leaning back with all of my weight; the wheels reluctantly start to turn after a few strong yanks. As the wheels pick up speed I can hear the brakes gently rubbing; the aircraft has been sitting a few days due to bad weather, and the brakes shoes have settled onto the rotors, making it much harder to get moving. I turn the airplane parallel to the front of the hangar and bring it to a stop by digging my feet into the pavement and pushing toward the nose as hard as I can.
Preflight inspection is a ritual that pilots perform religiously before every flight; this procedure requires a keen eye and lots of patience. Every check has the potential to cancel your plans; if something isn’t perfect you must make a decision whether or not to continue the flight. I open the cockpit door, remove the control lock; releasing the control surfaces so that I can move them during inspection. Then I flip the electrical switch to lower the flaps on each wing, they extend slowly with the quiet grumbling of an electric motor. Beginning with the tires I check each piece of the aircraft, looking over every rivet; investigating every crack, every dent. Ducking underneath the wing, I use a plastic container, about the size of a soda can, designed to collect a sample from a port in the fuel tank to check for water in the fuel system. As I push the small protrusion of plastic sticking out the top of the container into the port; fuel pours from the wing, the radiant azure color of the water on a far off tropical beach. Some goes in the container but most runs down my arm in a cold, fetid stream—fortunately it evaporates quickly with the heat of my skin. Everything checks out, so I cram the tow bar behind the seats in the tiny cargo compartment and jump in the left seat.
The interior is cramped but reasonably comfortable when flying alone. There are only two seats, covered with slightly frayed, faded blue fabric; some of the yellow foam stuffing escaping from the rips. Dirty khaki vinyl lines the walls of the cockpit and frames the windscreen. The flat black instrument panel at first seems chaotic and littered with gauges, but at second look is...

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