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Guest christianholmes

Unexpected company on my real-life flight tonight!

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Guest christianholmes

Well, I'm not going to chronical this under my "Real life flight training" thread since it's not about that. I have been going up practicing, and doing ground work- so nothing new to report there but check this out...I went up tonight and flew over the "practice area"- This is about 15 miles east of New Haven over Hammonasset beach. It's a good place to practice since the closed-but-still-usable-in-an-emergency Madison airport is right underneath, and there are lots of ground reference points and a nice stretch of I-95 for S-Turns (which I haven't done- I heard they don't generally do those on a checkride since there are not a lot of good place to do them).So I do some stalls and steep turns, and tried some MCA- MCA scares me- I feel like I could spin it, so I'd rather do those with an instructor.Then I figured I'd head back toward New Haven and find a nice place to do turns around a point. I chose a restaurant I frequent called the Guilford Moorings. It's right on the water, and they have some great seafood if you're ever in the area. My buddy, and longtime (high school) friend Brian is the manager. But I digress...So after a few circuits with the patrons looking up wondering what the #### I am doing, I decide to head back to New Haven, which is only 10 miles away- so I climb to fifteen hundreed. I check ATIS and get the Oscar information. I switch to tower on 124.8 and I usually wait until about seven miles out to call them. The freq. is quiet, and all of a sudden this airplane comes on and says "New Haven Tower, Liberator 10 miles west, I was wondering if I could transition your airspace at 1000". The tower controller, who is an older guy, comes on and says "Uh, what type are you?". The other aircraft calls back and says "We're a B-24 Liberator- About 10 miles out, and we want to transition the class Delta". The controller, very excitedly, comes back and says "Liberator, why don't you overfly the field at 500, down runway 2". After a few more exchanges with a notably excited air traffic controller, it is determined that there is a flight of a B-24, B-25, and a B-17 about the do a couple flyovers of New Haven!!! I called the tower, and he cleared me for a right base on runway 2. Listening to them, I knew the B-24 would pass by me, just a few hundred feet below. Sure enough, I saw this glimmering hulk off my left wing, and kept him about 300 yards from there. He passed right by, and I could hear those engines humming. There were a few more exchanges, and they decided to do a couple flyovers at New Haven. Just as I had landed, and was rolling off (rather quickly) I heard the tower controller say "That's the plane that won the war!" and the B-17 flew right over my head at 500 feet. Just behind it was the B-25. Since there was no other traffic, I opened my doors and jockeyed the plane on the taxiway to get a good view. It was pretty awe inspiring. Just like being back in time I suppose. They flew a couple more patterns, and as I taxied back I look around the airport, and pretty much every person there was standing on the tarmac gazing skyward. I parked and they were still out there watching the big bombers fly off toward the coast. The normally subdued and professional line crew was very talkative and happy. I am not psychologist, but it seemed for a small second everybody had a real sense of pride after seeing them- Almost like you could forget about about all the crap our government is doing now, and feel like you still had a reason to believe in them. 60 years ago we played a vital role in saving the world from tyranny, and as much as we seem caught up in ourselves today- it takes only a little bit of history to realize that at heart America as a whole does in fact care. It certainly made me proud to call myself an aviator- and an American.

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