11 November 1985

Was that fun or what?

Liz and I were returning from Oklahoma in a Cessna 182RG. There was a widespread area of low clouds and low visibility over much of the mid-west. Near Indianapolis I heard the controller tell an airliner that Dayton Cox was closed. The ceiling was indefinite, visibility less than one-quarter mile.

My destination was close to Dayton and almost certain to have the same weather. I asked the controller for Indianapolis weather. It was 300-foot ceiling, visibility one-half mile, rain and fog. We were as close to home as we could get. I asked for an ILS approach to Indianapolis. The controller quickly replied, "Turn left to a heading of 070, intercept the localizer for ILS 4."

Fortunately the approach book was in the front seat. I fumbled through it and found the approach. As soon as I dialed in the frequency, I saw the localizer needle starting to center. After one quick left turn, I was inbound to the airport. A few miles later I had to make three right turns so an airliner could pass me on the approach. I rejoined the localizer and landed without incident.

The following day, the weather had improved but not very much. As we approached Dayton General airport we saw the 1000-foot TV towers northwest of the airport sticking up through the undercast. Towers poking up through clouds is one of aviation's strangest sights. Shortly after that we turned on to the localizer. My job was to fly the airplane. Liz's job was to look for the airport and call the DME (distance measuring equipment). One-tenth of a mile from the missed approach point, Liz shouted, "I have the airport."

I could barely see the end of Runway 20. I pulled the power to idle, dropped all the flaps, and the airplane settled in for a routine landing. After we were on the ground, Liz looked at me and said, "I hate to admit it, but that was almost fun." To this day she has never been fond of flying for flying's sake, but she does like the freedom and speed that it provides. This was the first time that she almost enjoyed flying.

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