Your connection with the sky

Night flying to PDX

On April 20th, I had to do a night operation in order to complete my training. I needed to do ten total takeoffs and landings at night as the sole manipulator of the flight controls. I first did eight takeoffs and landings with my instructor at my home airport. I completed the task without problems and then did the next two takeoffs and landings on a different night and at a different destination. I was required to fly at least 100nm roundtrip at night to move on with the training, so I flew from Independence State Airport (7S5) to Portland International Airport (PDX).

As I flew to Portland, it was warm, in the low 70s, winds were calm. It was a beautiful flight with spectacular views from above. It was something that not so many people experience and I was blessed with the opportunity to fly at night and to see the beautiful creation…earth. I was able to identify different cities by their rows of streets and light.

As we were about 20nm from PDX, my instructor contacted the approach control prior entering class C airspace for me. Due to my deafness, my instructor handled the communications as I did the flying. He did a really good job keeping me up to date with the radio information from the tower, etc. As the tower cleared us to land on 28R, we were number one to land into PDX as long it was not busy at the time we approached PDX. During the base leg, I was able to see the runway with lighted centerline and it was unbelievable. I never thought I would ever land at an international airport and it was fantastic! I landed into the runway’s centerline perfectly. I was amazed at how massive the runway was as I touched down. It was about ten times wider than the runway at my home airport!

I taxied to the general aviation parking area, which was at FlightCraft. I closed the flight plan and entered the hangar and tried to find some cookies. Unfortunately, the cookies were all gone! We rested on some comfortable armchairs and then played some pool. We got back to the airplane and requested clearance to depart PDX. As I taxied to the runway, a United Airline jet landed right next to me! As a pilot, I’ve never been that close to a jet at an active airport. It was very cool to be in the "scene." I took off and headed back to 7S5.

I flew right across downtown Portland and it was amazing to be able to see everything from the sky. Like I said, not many people experience something like this and I am very fortunate. The flight was beautiful and successful. I look forward to doing some more night flying and enjoying these magnificent views.

Right now I have 20 hours logged and the next thing is to make three takeoffs and landings at a towered airport. In this case, the tower will be using a light gun for making commands to me as I takeoff and land. End of story!

3 Responses to “Night flying to PDX”

  1. Brian Redpath Says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Great job, Brent! I'm looking forward to reading about the light gun landings! Keep up the great work! ILY, Dad

  2. Debra Plymate Says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Oh! Brent! You have really expressed what it's like -- the spectacular adventure of flying into PDX at night like the pros do. You are a pro yourself. Thank you so much for sharing the experience with us.

  3. Grandpa Ray Says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Brent! I can't wait 'til you get your "ticket". Then you can take your "poor old Grandpa" for a ride. I am really getting anxious to get back to flying and getting my "ticket". The size of the commercial airport IS AMAZING compared to the small local strips you normally fly from. Don't let the "big guys" bully you. They all started where you are in a little 150 or 172. Keep up the good work. Gma and I are proud of you! See you soon,
    Gpa Ray

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