It was the first time I have just taken a friend flying, one who has never been up in the small plane before. I usually go out with friends who have much more experience than me like instructors or fellow pilots like me, hour building on the lower rungs of the of the piloting ladder.
So the first consideration for me was to make sure the conditions were right and to stay on the side of caution as not to put my friend Ozzie off getting in a plane ever again and more importantly keep a very good friend a friend.
So when I saw the initial radar when there was only one cloud over the whole of Florida and it was sitting right on Tamiami airport with a warning of heavy rain and hail I wondered if lady luck was indeed telling me something.
I decided to delay for half an hour and see what intentions this menace of a big black cloud was up to. I have enclosed the radar picture.
I made sure that I went through everything slowly and precisely with my passenger, just to warn of lumps and bumps which can happen, and also went through the procedures for taxiing and running up the engine, just so that he wouldn't be lost in a whole load of radio speak, codes and could sit back and relax as much as possible.
We got the plane fueled ready to go and taxied off for runway 9L and got through the run up and I got to show Ozzie what the various bits and bobs in the cockpit do and the reasons for them.
After a quick safety briefing we were radioing "ready for departure" and full power was on and off into the dark Miami sky we went.
At 1000' feet Ozzie informed me that from the moment of applying full power to leveling out he had forgotten to breath........
Noting he might be a little nervous in unfamiliar surroundings instead of heading straight down the Keys I turned left to take him for a ride down south beach Miami, so that he could spot the various land marks and get to grips with now being 1000 feet above them instead of driving a car passed them.
He seemed to adapt to his new environment well, we even got to fly by the Goodyear Blimp so after a circuit of south beach I decided to to turn us north once again and got him to follow me on the controls for gentle turns to the left and right which he did really well. I have never seen my friend have such a smile on his face.
I felt there and then I might have a flying buddy for life.
We did a few more circuits of the south beach area and Key Biscayne, the showers from earlier in the evening were starting to move around a bit and I didn't want to get caught out and put Ozzie off after he had settled in to things so well.
I thought about heading back to Tamiami airport, just as I started on my way there I heard the tower talking over the radio warning a fellow pilot in the area of light-moderate showers in the vicinity of the airport itself so we decided to go and chase the Goodyear Blimp for another half hour or so and give those showers a little privacy to do what they do best.
Upon hearing the weather had moved to the south east a few miles it was time to head back to base and was once again given runway 9L on left had circuit, as we approached we found a shower or 2 to dodge but managed to get in onto a very wet runway but thankfully managed to pull a pretty sweet landing out of the bag and another 2 hours of flying in the book.
Smiling like a cheshire cat my new found flying friend was a happy man and he insisted upon a few beer to celebrate....
Cheers Ozzie. Time for you to start the studying.