August 30, 2009
Last weekend I had the opportunity to fly with two friends and aviation entrepreneurs. Rod Rakic is the founder of MyTransponder, a growing aviation social network. He had a last minute cancellation and instead of flying alone decided to invite some fellow Chicago pilots to join him for a flight on a beautiful summer evening. I jumped at the offer as did Charlene Gervais. Charlene is the founder of Aviation Vacations, a new company offering flying tours of North America.
When Rod is not flying for the Civil Air Patrol he prefers to fly the Diamond Star. I have several hours of PIC of the smaller DA20 but have never flown in the DA40 so I was looking forward to the experience. I was also looking forward to just my second flight out of Midway. There is something special about landing and departing with all the commercial air traffic at Midway.
I have known Rod for several years and although we have tried we have never gone flying together. As a pilot who is fairly particular about who I fly with I was immediately put at ease when Rod provided a very detailed pre-departure briefing which included how we would handle emergencies and setting up guidelines for a sterile cockpit during the departure and arrivals. My CFI taught me such great habits early on in my training and I am always surprised to see that many pilots hop in their plane and depart without a briefing for passengers or other pilots on board.
Once airborne we had a short and smooth flight over to Lansing where we landed and took just enough time for Charlene and I to trade seats before getting airborne for the return trip. As we returned to Midway the sun started to drop offering a beautiful display of colors and a nice view of the lit Chicago skyline. It was nice spending a few hours with some fellow pilots and sharing stories and enjoying a beautiful summer flight. I shot a few little clips of video during the flight and have posted the video below.