Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Floating Birds, Hummingbirds... Wounded Birds

I awoke Tuesday morning to a familiar whoooosh sound. Familiar... but foreign, too. It took me a few seconds to place it.


I rushed out onto the balcony -- camera in hand -- and caught some quick pictures of the first official hot air balloon sighting of my return to New Mexico. "Official," because this was the first time I was able to capture photographic proof; I saw one a LOT closer to the apartment last Saturday, but didn't have my camera at the time.

So, that was a pretty neat way to wake up, I think. Come Balloon Fiesta time, this place should be a neat spot in the mornings.

As I type this, I'm preparing to head north of Seattle, for the annual Arlington air show. I sincerely hope I make it there, as the trip is on US Airways -- rated in most major polls as the single worst airline in the country. Should be fun. I leave EARLY Thursday, get back EARLY Monday (as in, 3:00 am) and then have all of three days to get ready for Oshkosh, which already looks to be an arduous show.

I bitch... but it's better than sitting in a cubicle.

In addition to propane burner wake-up calls, I've also been able to become reacquainted with some other trappings of the Land of Enchantment, too. I have regular hummingbird guests to my feeder -- I hadn't realized how much I missed hummingbirds!

Sunday, I drove my Mom and I up to Sandia Crest... a tourist-y thing, OK, but it was also cool to be in the mountains again. And, it should be noted, at an altitude of 10,678 feet -- over 10,000 feet higher than standing outside my door in Addison. My former door in Addison.

And speaking of Texas... I stumbled upon the reason why "my" plane went down for repairs the week before I left Dallas. There's an NTSB report on it, which is never a good sign. Turns out a crosswind caught the plane during takeoff from Grand Prairie, and sent the plane off the runway and into a shallow drainage ditch. As the prelim states, one of the maingear legs and the nosegear gave way... which probably led to wing damage, as well as a prop strike and, maybe, engine damage (the blades of the plane's Woodcomp prop are designed to splinter off, which in theory saves the engine from seizing.)

Both people onboard are OK, which of course is the most important thing... but N676EV is the first plane I've ever flown, that later got wrecked. I honestly don't know if it will ever fly again; it's off the schedule completely at Aviator. If it is repairable, it's down for the count for the foreseeable future.

This sounds weird... but I kind of feel like a friend got hurt, and I'm now in a different state and not able to make it out to see if they're OK or not. Yeah, I'm anthropomorphizing... but planes tend to lend themselves to that, and this little airplane represented more to me than most. So I'm not apologizing.

I hope you fly again, my friend.

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