The struggle (the flying lesson struggle) is real

14 October, 2018            The struggle (the flying lesson struggle) is real

Wesson and me early yesterday afternoon at KBCB. Photo credit to my brother Shane. Thanks Wesson and Shane and Ernest!


I’m kidding, of course, about the “struggle” part – flying is a blast, 100% of the time.

My brother Shane took that top picture with me holding his son – my incomparable nephew – Wesson. Shane also took all pictures of the plane in flight. Plus hosted Ernest and me on short notice! 

Flying was extra  fun yesterday when my instructor Ernest and I took my first long cross-country (“XC”) flight. Our plan was to depart from our “home” airport (KOFP, Hanover County Municipal Airport) and fly down to KBCB (Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport) near my brother Shane’s house. Where my excellent sister-in-law Kristin of course also lives, the mother of my outstanding nephew Wesson and his lovely sister Teagan. I hoped I’d get to see all four of them but it was nap time and I only got to see Wesson and Shane. Wesson skipped his nap so he could come watch Ernest and me land! Wesson was relaxed and easygoing, much more than I am when I skip my nap.

Shane took this picture at 1:10 PM, just seconds before we touched down. My flaps are all the way down (30º) and we’re probably going around 50 knots or 57 mph. Ernest keeps a watchful eye on me but I’ve done over a hundred landings and I’m moderately competent: 

Moments before landing at Blacksburg on Saturday. I’m actually flying! Thanks again for the picture Shane:








90 minutes later, taking off to head home:







Here’s the sign in front of the airport: 

KBCB – Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport


We flew at 8,500’ for most of the flight so I got to take a handful of pictures from the plane. This is Smith Mountain Lake. On my phone’s GPS it says “Huddleston” which I see is east of the lake. The next pictures say “Moneta” which is still east of the lake but closer. Have a look:

Smith Mountain Lake from 8,500 feet (1.6 miles!):


We were only on the ground in Blacksburg for around an hour and a half. Shane and Wesson took Ernest and me out for a sandwich then Shane took all of us on a tour of his fascinating workplace, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute – Advancing Transportation through Innovation – Shane carrying Wesson


Well, a few more typical (read: predictable) blog post pictures before I sign off. Monday I had a fantastic breakfast before (and after) my early morning work and went straight to the pool and swam a mile. A bicycling friend of mine (Pat) offered to meet me for an early afternoon ride and we rode (possibly ill-advisedly, in hindsight) forty-five miles! It was an outstanding ride though. Monday evening I took Mackey and Turner for a five kilometer walk to finish off my “triathlon.” When Pat and I used to do long rides regularly, we’d ride out to Owens Creek Corner Store [[1534 Owens Creek Rd, Mineral, VA 23117]], so we did that ride. It’s 24 miles out there and 21 miles back. Here’s a picture of the store. It’s not beautiful but they have great stuff like peanuts and m&m’s and Gatorade and water and Mountain Dew and Starbucks Doubleshots, all the hi tech foods you want to help you make that long ride back. The store:

Owens Creek Corner Store, my bike on the right, Pat’s on the left. This place is an oasis on a long ride:


Here’s a picture a bit more beautiful. Evelyn’s loving attention ensures her roses continue to thrive. Check this out – I took this on Wednesday. That’s a rose and that was October 10!:  

Another of Evelyn’s roses. Every time I think they can’t get more beautiful, they get more beautiful.


Obviously I’m not going to let a week go by without a raptor picture. It’s always a prize for me to get a “double” red-tail. This is one of the highest likelihood spots for double Red-tails, the cross on top of Discovery United Methodist Church in the far West End:

Watching like a hawk:


I noted last week that I’d been reading a book called Man’s Search for Meaning by a man named Viktor Frankl. I hadn’t quite finished the book when I put up the blog post. I later read the afterword and the person who wrote it quoted Dr. Frankl saying “I do not forget any good deed done to me, and I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.” And I thought what a great motto that makes. Not always achievable, but a worthy goal.

We had our first fire of the season after I came home from my big adventure yesterday, and Dash took immediate advantage. I’ll sign off with a picture of him renewing his acquaintance with the woodstove. I hope you can be this relaxed at some point this week! All best,


Dash is under the spell of the woodstove. Believe me, it’s a powerful spell:


This just in. Dash later found the fire too exhausting, so he had to jump up on “his” chair to recover: 

Dash recovering from the exhausting effort of warming his old bones by the fire:



About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Birds, cats, Cessna 172, Flowers, Fun, People, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, roses, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The struggle (the flying lesson struggle) is real

  1. Jackie says:

    AWESOME! Looks like the best day
    ever, Wesson is the sweetest and most likely the luckiest ❤️

  2. Peter Meiller says:

    nice post Jay that was an action-packed weekend

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