Lesson 111
22 June 1999

A neat thing happened today.

I flew to Wakefield (AKQ) and visited the National Weather Service office, a short walk west of the airport. (It's the big white NWS radar dome that locates the runway from the side at pattern altitude.)  Got the grand tour and learned all sorts of fascinating things about how they collect and report weather data.  The biggest surprise was that most of the data--wind, temperature, rainfall, river levels, and so on--are collected by 10,000 volunteers, most of them unpaid.  The greatest compensation any uf them receive is a commendation after 50 years of collecting.  One North Carolina family has been doing it for over 105 years--all in the same house.  (They moved the equipment across the room once or twice.)

After leaving the NWS, hiked into town for a quick dessert at the Virginia Diner.  That was a second treat.  The third occurred on the walk along the highway, back to the airport.

A car pulled over suddenly and stopped.   The driver leaned across the seat and called out to me, "Are you a pilot?"

Wow--no one had ever asked me that before.  Cool.


"Is that your plane at the airport?"


"Get in," he said.  "I'll drive you back there."

That was the best treat--the "Are you a pilot?" part--because when I began writing this log entry I realized that  tomorrow I will have been a certificated private pilot for one year.  Is that silly?  So it's silly.  I still find myself chuckling once in a while, just thinking about passing that FAA check ride..

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