18. Tokyo (Narita) to Fukushima - 13 June 2004

  On the ground with
the big boys at Narita
  Nearby hills in fog
  Final approach to Fukushima

I see now that almost two weeks have passed (in the real world) since my last official flight. Some of that time was spent putting this website together. There were other factors, as well: another flight sim (IL-2 Sturmovik), trouble with my joystick, and the addition of pedals and a yoke, both of which required some retraining, most of which took the form of traffic patterns around Meigs Field in Chicago.

The return to Japan was, I confess, a bit anticlimactic. There was a bit of a wait getting out of Narita -- as I taxied to the runway, I found myself in line behind three passenger jets -- but ATC moved the next plane into position as soon as the one plane was on its way, and the line moved quickly. I studied the chart before going and saw that the terrain would be hilly until I reached Fukushima, but there was nothing in my flight path over 2,500 ft or so, so I stayed at 3,500 ft. A clear day around Tokyo, but as I got closer to Fukushima (a 93 nm journey as the crow flies), the clouds accumulated and visibility dropped, though not so much so that I couldn't see to fly. Also, I knew that I was flying high enough to avoid any obstacles, so there was no real anxiety.

Still, I noticed after landing that two weeks of fallowing have made me careless about some things: I entirely forgot about leaning the fuel mixture and in my haste to lose speed on approach I deployed the air brake and then forgot to take it off on final. The landing itself was all right, but I stalled closer to the beginning of the runway than I wanted to.