August 6, 2005
What a great flight experience I had today. I woke up early to make it out to Midway Aviators by 8am. As I drove down Cicero Avenue I heard the roar of a Southwest 737 departing Chicago Midway International Airport - the very airport I would be flying out of this morning.
The security at Midway is much more stringent than the standard uncontrolled fields I have spent so much time at. Instead of walking from my car directly to my plane, I met with Alex, my Certified Flight Instructor, at the Midway Aviators office. From there we drove to a security gate where he needed to show Midway credentials for us to have access to the flight line.
We completed the pre-flight review of the plane so next up was to start the communications with Midway ATC. First, I contacted Midway Departure Clearance. I let them know I had listened to the most current weather briefing and told them I would be departing to the south. After that, I was directed to contact Midway Ground Control who said "2-2-zulu-mike taxi to 4 left via foxtrot-kilo hold short of 4 right." A Southwest 737 was landing on 4R so we held short as directed and enjoyed watching it land right in front of us. As soon as that flight passed we expedited our taxi across 4R and made our way to our runway.
Once at runway 4L, I contacted the Midway Tower and notified them I was ready to depart. The provided me clearance to take-off and asked me to follow the runway heading on departure and to climb to 2,000. I was excited that I was able to handle all of these radio communications without difficulty. I was feeling very confident.
Once I began my takeoff roll the Diamond Eclipse did not take long to get airborne. This runway points directly at downtown Chicago so I had a great view of the city skyline in front of me and the Midway Terminal filled with 737s below and to the right. I was in heaven!
After clearing Midway airspace and flying south for a while I performed some standard practice maneuvers (slow flights, stalls, 45° banks, etc.). All of which are fun in the Diamond Eclipse. Then I performed my best landing in a while at Lansing Municipal Airport where we stopped to fuel up.
After departing Lansing we tuned the navigational devices for Midway and flew directly to the airport. The airport activity had picked up while we were gone. I was now having more difficulty listening to and deciphering the radio communications. Luckily, Alex was there to help out with many of the communications with Midway during our return so I could concentrate on landing the plane. The ATC had us fly over the airport so we could make a left turn onto the downwind leg of 4L. So as we flew over the airport we were flying directly over runway 31C which had an ATA 737 that was waiting for us to clear the airspace before departing. It was kind of fun knowing those people below were waiting for my little two seat general aviation plane to fly over before their trip could begin.
As I turned onto the downwind leg I could see a Southwest 737 coming in on final on the runway parallel to mine. As I turned us onto final for 4L we had a great view of the airport and the city and Alex was kind enough to take a photo of it for me. I think I must have been distracted by the view because my landing was not very good But, it could not put a damper on my day.
I really enjoyed flying out of Midway and my second flight in a Diamond Eclipse. I look forward to getting back out there. I uploaded a few photos from the flight to share with you.