Ground Lesson #5 or "I Used to Think that the Most Intimidating Thing on the Planet Was Hot Women."

Let me start by saying that yes, I’m still having fun at ground school. But at times, I think my poor little brain has exceeded its capacity to store and retrieve information.

But back to the subject at hand. Women intimidate me. It’s true. I see a tall, gorgeous hottie (Or even a short one. Ok, ALL of them.), and I break out in a cold sweat. I stammer and stutter my way through conversation when all I REALLY want to do is just stare. And drool. But we’ll leave out the description of mucosal secretions for another discussion.

Since Ground Lesson #5 last night, all of the hot women of the world are now safe from being covered in Dan drool. I found something far more intimidating than y’all.


Yes, airspace.

What I mean by “airspace” is the classification of various areas in which aircraft operate. It’s different over airports. It’s different over open terrain. And it’s different around big cities. But that’s just the beginning. For each of the six (if memory serves) classes of airspace, there are nine requirements which must be strictly observed for EACH of the six classes. (Enough of the memory crap – I had to look that one up.) It makes for a chart that’s obviously nine by six, or 54 different things to memorize. And that doesn’t count the “except on alternate Tuesdays” or the “if the weather’s crappy, this doesn’t apply.” Oh, no! No such luck that it would be simple and straightforward. I don’t know why I would expect such simplicity from an agency of the federal government, but that, too, is another discussion.

Ok, I can do this. I can memorize this. I’m not THAT old yet. Flash cards – yeah, flash cards is the way to do this!


You mean I have to be able to APPLY this to charts and maps, too?


Sidebar: When I lived in Los Angeles, I had the good fortune to live next door to the Penthouse Pet of the Month for September, 1992 or some such. For the first months I lived next door, every time she walked past the kitchen window in full model regalia, meaning short-shorts, heels and a clingy tank top, I’d drop whatever was in my hand. I’d just forget I was holding on to a plate full of spaghetti and meatballs and down it went, the victim of both gravity and my own hormonal imbalance. I was in the pool one sunny California afternoon, and when I looked up after diving in the water, there she was lounging luxuriously at water’s edge in a Harley Davidson one piece bathing suit. I was stuck in the water until she left. Damn good thing it was cold water, too. (Didn’t help at all that her bedroom and mine shared a common wall.) Anyway you get the point.

Trying to figure out airspace is much more difficult than talking to my neighbor would have been had I ever worked up the nerve to talk to her. The study of airspace redefines “difficult” for me.

Here’s an example: “Generally, if the airspace is not Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D, and it is controlled airspace, it is Class E airspace. Class E airspace extends upward from either the surface or a designated altitude to the overlying or adjacent controlled airspace. When designated as a surface area, the airspace will be configured to contain all instrument procedures. Also in this class are Federal airways, airspace beginning at either 700 or 1,200 feet AGIL used to transition to/from the terminal or enroute environment, enroute domestic, and offshore airspace areas designated below 18,000 feet MSL. Unless designated at a lower altitude, Class E airspace begins at 14,500 MSL over the United States, including that airspace overlying the waters within 12 nautical miles of the coast of the 48 contiguous States and Alaska. Class E airspace does not include the airspace 18,000 MSL or above.”

And a partridge in a fucking pear tree. (And I thought the thousand-page-plus Health Care bill was hard to fathom.)

So hot women of the world, here’s to you! It’s been nice and it’s been fun, but you’ve been replaced. You’re no longer the most intimidating thing on the planet. I can deal with you now. But let not your heart be troubled: this won’t last long. Because once I get the hang of airspace definitions, I have no doubt you’ll be returned to your rightful place at the top of the “scares the shit out of me” list.

That’s because once I understand airspace, it won’t be a problem anymore.

But I’ll never understand women.

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