Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

And a check ride report.

I realized this morning that I never did report on my check ride. When I mentioned that I was prepping for it, I promised a report the next day. That was a week ago.

In my defense, I’ve been unreasonably busy. Here’s a rundown of how I spent the past seven days.:

Friday I’ve Got Flying on My Mind

On Friday morning, I took my Part 135 check ride with an FAA examiner. It was a non-event. I didn’t fly as well as I wanted to — I guess having an FAA inspector sitting next to you while you’re flying and wondering what he was going to do to play with your head (think pulling circuit breakers, chopping the throttle, etc.) is enough to make me a nervous wreck. But I flew good enough. And once I realized the test part was over, I actually flew very well. I want to write more about this, but don’t have the time right now.

When it was over and I put the helicopter away, I had to start prepping for another round of house guests. I ran around like a nut, taking care of errands and prepping my office for use as a second guest room. I was still at it when my husband arrived with the house guests: his mother and her friend.

Saturday at Buckeye

Saturday was our big annual Buckeye gig. This was our fifth year at the Buckeye Air Fair and I hope I can do it for 15 years. I enjoy it so much. I do cheap helicopter rides priced low enough that folks can (and do) bring their kids. I think I flew just as many kids under 15 as I did adults. One flight was just three kids aged maybe 4 to 7. It was nonstop flying from 9:30 AM, when the first takers climbed on board to 3:15 PM, a full hour and a quarter after the end of the event. I had to shut down once for fuel and a bathroom break, but I didn’t even get much to eat.

I wanted to write about that, too — especially about the flight down from Wickenburg — but I just haven’t had time. Now the memories aren’t quite as fresh and I don’t think I could write something interesting about it.

Sunday’s Road Trip, with Helicopters and Big Band Music

On Sunday, I was on the road at 7:15 AM, heading west in my little Honda S2000. Road trip. I had to go to Ventura for a week for work, but I wanted to stop at Anaheim on the way to check out Heli Expo.

HeliExpoThe show was at least three times the size of the last one I’d gone to, which was back in 2004 in Las Vegas. It was like a candy store for rotor-heads like me, with millions of dollars in hardware sitting out on plush carpeting for us to caress and drool over. And climb on board to sit in cockpits. I didn’t take many pictures — it was just to damn crowded.

One of the highlights was meeting a Twitter friend, Keith Gill. Keith flies the big iron — including Air Cranes — all over the world. He’d just come in from a firefighting gig in Australia and was prepping for another gig somewhere else. Keith writes a blog called “Helicopter Pilot, Will Travel” with lots of great, real-life stories about his flying and travel experiences. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in what being a helicopter pilot is all about.

Another highlight was meeting Dennis Raubenheimer of HeliNews. I’d written an article for them at it appeared in the current issue. He had two copies for me and I eagerly opened one as soon as I had it in my hot little hands. I was thrilled to see that they’d used all of the photos I sent, many of which featured my helicopter. My only regret is that the magazine is based in Australia and few U.S. pilots (or helicopter operators interested in hiring pilots) would see it. Can’t wait to hand off a copy to Ed, my local mechanic, who is featured in a bunch of the photos.

After leaving the show at 5 PM, I took a roundabout route up to Burbank, successfully avoiding any Oscars traffic in the Hollywood area. I was meeting another Twitter friend, SaxDiva (Leanne), for the first time. She’s a college professor who teaches business by day and plays saxophone and other woodwind instruments in the evening. She was doing a big band gig at a Burbank restaurant called Victorio’s. I’d been wanting to meet her for a while and we finally connected. Another friend of mine, Deb Shadovitz, joined me for dinner. Leanne sat with us between sets and we got to meet a bunch of the other band members, including a singer who sounded an awful lot like Tony Bennett. There’s nothing quite like good food and good music at the end of the day. If you live in the Burbank, CA area, I highly recommend Victorio’s on a Sunday evening for a casual night out with live music and dancing.

From there, it was a nightime drive to Ventura. I only made one wrong turn getting on the freeway. I was in my room, 400+ road miles from home, ready to pass out, by 10:15 PM.

Talk about a long day.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Work, Work, Work

I spent much of the first three days of the week in a soundproofed booth, recording a new video for The rooms are like isolation chambers that completely shut out the sound from outside them. The work is pretty basic, but often frustrating as I trip over my own tongue to get the words out. I’m not really at liberty to say what the course is about yet — I’d rather keep it a surprise to the folks who don’t already know. (No spoilers in the comments, please!)

We did the live action footage yesterday. That’s when I get dolled up with makeup, etc. and talk to a camera. I was fumbling through the takes and was starting to think I’d never get it right when I absolutely nailed the last one. What a relief!

The Week’s Not Over

The week has two more days left in it and I’ll be working in Ventura both days. I think I’ll need both of them to get the material recorded. If I finish before noon on Friday, I’ll drive home. If I finish after 3 on Friday, I’ll spend the night here again. If I finish sometime between noon and 3, I’ll make a decision then.

At home, Mike is entertaining our house guests. They leave on Monday. I have nothing scheduled next week, but I know I’ll be doing at least one flight, probably to Sedona. I already have a flight booked for the week after that, too.

Too much to do. Too little time. It seems to be the story of my life.

I need a vacation!

4 thoughts on “Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

    • I have to admit that I’m worried about my office. I have a very large L-shaped desk, and when I left it was completely covered with my guest’s things. I don’t think I’ll be opening up my office to guests again. Too stressful.

  1. Hi Maria, I am settled in for a week and almost fully recovered from my marathon trip. It was an early morning in Brukunga S.A, ,drive to Adelaide, fly to Sydney,standby for 3 1/2 hours ,fly 13 plus hours to Los Angeles ,jump a shuttle and stagger around the HAI show and catch a shuttle back to LAX and then a 5 plus hour flight that put me in Orlando at 06:00. A shower and a swim and lay by the pool. 39.5 hours of travel and another 14 hours later I went to bed.

    Drove our RV from Orlando to N.O.L.A. and we are here for at least two weeks.

    It was great meeting you and thanks for the kind words.

    Fly Safe, Keith

    Keith Gill´s last blog post: Helping Out

  2. Always a pleasure to read of you helicopter adventures Maria … I’m looking forward to hearing more about your check-ride. I have to do one myself one of these days.. but just for my initial private license.


    Tom Murphy´s last blog post: Dreams of Space€¦

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