Yesterday was a day that I had been looking forward to since the beginning of my flying career: hitting the 500 hour mark! It seemed like such a distant goal, but with over 400 flights this summer, it definitely started to feel like I was up in the sky more than I was on the ground 😉 .
My 500th hour was celebrated in the PH-JBY; our trusty Cessna 206, with 4 German passengers. 35 minutes into the flight, I had a little victory dance behind the yoke, and dropped down for a low pass at Ameland airfield (neighbouring Island). The passengers laughed; maybe they enjoyed the flight, or maybe they thought I was crazy for having spent 500 hours of my life in tiny metal birdies like this one, and STILL had fun playing around in the sky.
After an hour long scenic flight I parked the 206 back on its spot and gathered my stuff for the next flight. It was time to celebrate my little victory, and no better way to do this than a trip down to my favorite airfield, EHHV. This summer I started working at flying focus, the aerial photography company, and since this is more of a hobby than actual work, I requested to be paid in free flight hours instead of a normal salary. This meant I could take the cessna 172 for a quick hop back to the mainland and have lunch with my brother and mom.
The flight along the Markermeer was stunning as ever. It’s funny how you become so familiarized with certain airspace. It was like driving home on the same old ‘road’; through Dutch Mill airspace, passing east of the Amsterdam CTR, and finally reaching PAMPUS VOR. Then straight towards the tiny airfield where I basically grew up.
After a great lunch I took my brother up for a quick flight over the lakes of Loosdrecht and the busy city of Utrecht. Our first and last flight together was 2,5 years ago; on a crosswind training flight during my PPL course. Our flight was long overdue, but I’m so thankful I got to experience this day with him. It felt like I was a kid again, with my big brother next to me, both giggling at the fact that I, his baby sister, was flying a plane like it was the easiest thing in the world.
As if my day couldn’t get any better; upon arrival at Texel airport, I was asked to take the 206 up for some jumper dumping. A plane full of friends keen for some hop & pop’s at 5000 ft. who says no to that? In the cold weather, our “doorless” PH-PCT climbed like crazy, but I had some serious regrets about not bringing any gloves…
The cherry on top was my last flight of the day. There was a NOTAM given for para jumping exercises overhead Den Helder, and we had 2 tandems that wanted to do a sunset jump from FL95. With a cabin full of jumpers I took off for a long steady climb out; In the distance I could already see the shimmering lights from the harbor.
As I turned in for the jump run, and pulled the throttle back, it seemed like the time had frozen still (just like my hands). The view was absolutely breathtaking. Candyfloss clouds filled the skies over the North Sea, and in the distance I saw the sun set over the western horizon.
Within a few seconds all my passengers were gone, and I commenced the high speed descend back down. The air was smooth, my face icy from the cold, and I couldn’t help but smile. Once again I got to see the sun set from the prettiest office, 9000 feet in the sky.
Here’s to the next 500 hours of madness!