Saturday/Sunday 12/13th March 2011

It seemed strange today, to wake up without having a specific task to complete during the day. I could just please myself in what I did, my course was finished. I donít return to the UK until Monday evening, so I can chill out over the weekend, and do just whatever I want, without having to get to the school for a specific lesson, or study for an upcoming exam. I decided I would return by car to St. Augustine, to spend some more time in this interesting city, and also to have a run in the Challenger, I had only used the car to go backwards and forwards to the school each day, so far. I had a leisurely breakfast, and then called into the school to book a flight for myself on the Sunday. I still had a half hour owing to me, so decided it would be nice to have a short flight, as a fully qualified Pilot!

It seemed a little strange to be amongst the hustle and bustle of the EASA office, but not really be a part of it any more, now my course was officially over. I checked with Hector, the Dispatcher, and booked a half hour slot for early Sunday Morning. After that, it was back to the house for a bit more breakfast. I have got used to having a couple of slices of toast when I get up (usually between 6-7 AM), then having a mid morning bowl of Frosties. Iíll have to get out of that habit soon enough. There was just Lydia in the house, sunbathing in the garden, and Dean doing some studying. Lydia had finished her course, as was due to fly back to the UK today. Not only has she re-validated her License whilst she has been here, she also managed to fit in a skydive with one of the schools in Deland. We had watched the video of her skydive last night, before we all went out.† Suddenly, she called Dean and me into the garden, and when we went out, there was an aerobatic aircraft at about 10000 feet in the sky above us, skywriting. It turned out to be a message from one of the local religious organizations, which spelt out U+GOD=J†† Only in America!

When I set off for St. Augustine, rather than take the I95 Highway, I drove down to the shoreline, to take the beach road. Although slower, this was a much more interesting and picturesque route. When I arrived at St. Augustine, it was much busier than the day I had visited with Jens & Andreas, and it took me ages to find a parking spot. In the end, I parked quite a way from the town centre, and walked in. I wandered around for a couple of hours, taking in the sights and sounds, and then succumbed to the temptation I had resisted on my last visit; I went to the Ice Cream Parlour. It was worthwhile. I did take the I95 to return to Ormond, thinking it would be quicker, but as it happened, there was a traffic jam that held me for about an hour, so it took just as long as the beach road, but without the benefit of the sights.

When I arrived at the school early on the Sunday for my short flight, I found that I would be delayed, as I still needed an Instructor to sign me out, and of the two on duty, one was in the air, and the other had called in sick. I hung around for a while, but couldnít wait too long; I had to get the Challenger back to Daytona Airport, as the rental expired at lunchtime. It later learnt that the reason the Instructor didnít land earlier was that he was tutoring Ali, in preparation for Ali going solo, which he did later that day. When Ali came back to the house, I was the only one in, and I was delighted to be able to congratulate him on his achievement, and share in his excitement. I had earlier postponed my flight until later in the afternoon, and returned to the house so that Andreas and I could return the cars. Andreas booked another car out, as he is not leaving until Wednesday. This time, he and Jens have a Chevy Camaro. They do like their fast cars! I enjoyed the drive back to the house in their new automobile.

The time for my re-scheduled flight was 3 PM, but not having a car, it was back to the long walk to the Airport. I cut through a shortcut I had found through the golf course. Arriving at the Airport this time, I had no trouble in finding an Instructor to sign me out. It seemed strange to be taking an aircraft out to do just what I wanted, rather than a specific task, as part of a course. I decided to head up North along the beach (the route I had driven yesterday), to see the same views as I had enjoyed yesterday, but this time from the air. I also landed, and took off again from Flaggler Airport, so I can record another airfield I have visited in my Log Book. Back on the ground, I carried out the post flight checks for the last time.

Rather than walk back to the house, the old bike I had previously used was parked outside the offices, so I hopped on, and cycled back. Bit of a change from posing in a sleek white automobile, to slogging away on a tatty bike! When I got back, I found that we had been invited around to one of the other houses for a barbeque, so a few of us went to Wal Mart to collect some food, and then had a most enjoyable evening with the other lads from a couple of roads away.