Two words about politics: I vote

4 November, 2018            Two words about politics: I vote

If you think our country’s doing well, vote to keep it this way. If you think our country needs change, vote to make it. But don’t be passive. Vote. 

Mackey. Turner and Yuki on the banks of the James River this morning:


Monday morning I saw an unprecedented (for me) three different varieties of hawks in less than an hour. Red-tails (you may be aware) are the raptor I photograph most. I got one of those but I’ll spare you. In second place is Red-shouldered hawks; I got a nice one Monday morning. But at the same time I was photographing the orange striped breast of the Red-shoulder, I rotated my gaze about 180º to the left and saw the white striped breast of what I thought for an instant was a Red-tail. They’re common. But as I looked more carefully I saw the distinctive long tail of a bird hunting accipiter. This was an immature  Cooper’s Hawk

Immature Cooper’s Hawk


I’d planned to fly Tuesday but the plane was having work done and it wasn’t ready. I was bummed that I couldn’t fly but I got to see the engine of a Cessna for the first time – incredible. I took my first flight over a year ago, I’ve flown nearly seventy hours, and never seen an engine! I got to spend a lot of time looking and learning Tuesday though. Here it is with the cover off. They ran it with the cover off too; it is really loud. When you’re flying, you always have your headset on so you don’t even hear it. Quite loud: 

Cessna 172 with the engine cover off


Speaking of flying – I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned – but the FAA is making it more difficult for me to get a license than I’m willing to do. But I can fly as many hours as I want with an instructor, and all the ones I’ve had (three) have been excellent. Flying with an instructor only costs about 35% more than renting the plane solo, so it’s not a huge deal. I’m going to keep flying for a while. 

I don’t have any flying pictures from this week – Tuesday was my only scheduled day. I’ll add a leftover from last week a minute or two after we’d taken off from Ocracoke: 

Climbing out over Ocracoke on a pretty day


The Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) has a program called the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program. We have 66 airports in Virginia (including Dulles, etc) and each airport has a stamp. When you begin the program, you get a passport. I started on October 4, 2018 at (of course) Hanover County Municipal Airport (KOFP). Here’s my passport: 

My Virginia Aviation Ambassador Program passport









I’ve landed at and gotten stamps from seven of Virginia’s 66 airports. It’ll take me a while to finish the remaining 59. You’re allowed to drive to airports and get a stamp if flying is not a good choice for you; I may not fly to Dulles. Or Reagan. We’ll see. Here is the inside of my passport showing my stamps from Tangier (KTGI) on October 23 and Blacksburg (KBCB) on October 13:

Two of the seven stamps I’ve accumulated so far








As I mentioned earlier, I’ve flown nearly seventy hours and have around 120 takeoffs and landings. I’m competent at both. I’m improving on my navigation skills with every flight. Communicating on the radio with Air Traffic Control is the most difficult for me, but I’m slowly picking it up. All of my current hours are in a Cessna 172. When I get up to 100 hours – in December or January, depending on the weather – I’ll probably start learning to fly a Tecnam P92 Eaglet. After I’ve gained proficiency with that plane – maybe after 25 hours or so – I’ll see about flying a twin-engined Tecnam P2006T. But that will all happen in 2019. For the rest of 2018 I’m going to fly a little less but work on getting more stamps in my passport. 

This is our proposed path for our next flight – next time the weather’s clear enough to fly for a few hours and my instructor and I and a plane are all available at once. As I said, I currently have seven stamps in my passport. This flight will add five more.  We start in Hanover (KOFP) then fly to Orange County (KOMH) then an 8 mile hop to Gordonsville (KGVE). Another quick hop to Louisa (KLKU) then down to Chesterfield (KFCI). Then to Petersburg (KPTB) then home. Our literal plan is for me to do all of the takeoffs, landings, flying, navigation and radios. I’m not making this up – my instructor is going to sit on the taxiway with the plane while I run in, get a stamp and come back out. Fun!: 

5 stamp flight plan
























Meanwhile – flowers. Maybe a few more this week – we all hope – but outdoor flowers will be finished for 2018 soon. A pair of Evelyn’s incomparable nasturtiums and a pair of the Y’s breathtaking roses – enjoy! 

Evelyn’s wonderful nasturtiums (1)



Evelyn’s wonderful nasturtiums (2)


The YMCA’s incomparable roses (1)


The YMCA’s incomparable roses (2)



























VOTE! And come back next week! 

All best, 


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 accipiters, Birds, Cessna 172, Cooper's Hawk, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, James River, Pony Pasture, raptors, Rivers, roses, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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