American Journal

Read about November.

Friday December 1st 2000

Today I was going to fly with my roommate Jurriaan to Naples, but we also had to stop in Venice to refuel. We couldn't do that at Naples, because of the fuelprice. So we had to change our plan a little bit (we were supposed to eat lunch in Naples, but because of the time we couldn't do that. We were flying to the south and Jur was behind me staying in touch with me over the radio for position reports and just chit chatting. I managed to take a picture of him with my tele-lens, but I don't know if it'll be a good picture, because of the bumpy ride. The air was quite turbulent. We were heading towards Fort Myers, which is class C airspace (radar controlled) and we got into contact with Fort Myers approach and we were told to select a certain transponder code so that they can identify us on the radar. Jur's transponder didn't work so he was told to stay clear of class C airspace and he decided to make a 180 degree turn. I couldn't get into contact with him, because we were on the approach frequency, so I decided to continue to Naples and Venice, because you have to have 8.5 solo cross country hours for the checkride. The approach to Naples was absolutely beautiful.. I flew along the west coast of Florida and I could see all the hotels and beautiful villa's on the beach. I made a few pictures of it. I made a touch and go and I was on my way to Venice, again following the coast line and again with a terrific view. I stopped in Venice to refuel and it was quite funny. I parked my little puddle jumpers between to big executive jets ( a Gulfstream and another jet). I sat in the sun for a while, while my plane was being refuelled, the only thing missing was a glass of coke! :-) This is the life! After about 10 minutes I was on my way to Lakeland again, because I was a bit in a hurry to get back before dark. On the way back the air was unbelievably smooth. I sat with my arms crossed for about 20 minutes trimmed out and making very small corrections with the rudder, while watching for other air traffic and enjoying the scenery.

Saturday December 2nd 2000

I went to fly with Carlo, Dennis, Martin and Jur today. We left the ACA ramp and taxied to the runway. It was pretty funny. Five ACA planes doing their run-up at the same time and holding in line for the runway. We almost drove the ATC guy insane! :-) We were waiting behind each other and I switched to tower frequency and told him I was ready for departure at runway five. He replied with: "Aircraft calling tower, don't report until you're first in line." Then Dennis came on the frequency and told ATC he was ready for departure at the runway.
Again the same answer from ATC. Then Martin switched to tower frequency and he as well told ATC he was ready. The guy almost flipped out and yelled: "ALL ACA AIRCRAFT, I DON'T WANNA HEAR ANYTHING FROM YOU UNTIL YOU'RE NUMBER ONE IN LINE!!" Then we flew towards Inverness and I was following Dennis and I had him in sight almost the entire flight. I had to cut back on the throttle, because he was flying N95633, which isn't fast at all and I was flying N25301, which is quite fast. When we did our landing at Inverness I went back to Lakeland, because I didn't have to do that many hours of cross country, and Carlo, Dennis, Jur and Martin went on. They were on a 6 or 7 hour flight-plan, because they're a stage ahead of me. But for as long as it lasted, we had great fun.

December 3rd till December 31st

I didn't have much time to update my journal everyday, so I'll give you a short summary.

Both me and my roommate Jur bought a car in this period. Jur bought a red '93 Chrysler LeBaron convertible, while I bought a white '91 Honda CRX. I'll make some pictures of my little Honda and place them on the site. I like it alot. When I pull away at the traffic lights I leave all the big American cars behind me, but that's not strange when you have a maximum of 7500 RPM :) Compared to the American heavyweights is also very good in mileage I get a full tank for $12,50 (average), which is about 9 gallons and I can drive 300 miles with it. The battleship of Carlo, Martin and Dennis for instance had a tank of 26 gallons and they could drive around 250 miles with that.

Carlo, Jur and I tried to get our Florida drivers licenses on the 11th of December. We walked in there and said we wanted to take a test, so they gave us a little booklet to study and we had to wait until it was our turn. After about half an hour we were calld upon and we had to take a computer test. The first 20 questions were about roadsigns, which was a big joke! They show you a roadsign and it actually says on the roadsign what it means and then they ask you what the roadsign means. So we all nailed the first test, but then the second part was about rules and regulations. Very stupid questions that nobody cares about and all three of us failed. The good thing was that we didn't have to pay anything and we could drive home in Jur's new car and pick up my car at the dealer and drive home on our Dutch licenses. When you think about it it's quite funny. We both failed the test and yet we both drove home in our own cars.

At ACA things weren't going that well, because I was on the ground for over a week due to bad weather and bad planning, which led to the fact that I couldn't get my PPL checkride before the Christmas break. I had all my PPL practical stuff done about a week before the break, but there weren't enough examiners to do all the checkrides planned for that week. So I couldn't do anything but attend groundschool and study for the oral exam for PPL.

In the Christmas break Jur, Martin and I went to Naples for 2 days. Naples is a town on the westcoast of Florida, which is like the Monaco of Florida. The things you see there are amazing! Very big and (of course) expensive cars and big and expensive hotels as well. The beach there was nice and so was the weather. The rest of the week the weather was crap and bloody cold so we couldn't do much. On christmas and a few nights after it Jur, Martin and me played cards with 2 EAT guys, IJle-Jan and Roland. We had a very good time playing blackjack, smoking cigars and they were drinking beer and wodka and going to the Mirage (a club in Lakeland) as well.

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