First, the CAP (Civil Air Patrol) was hosting a huge training exercise out of Murfreesboro. this is good because they're the guys that come and look for you if you crash somewhere. There was like 8-10 CAP 172's at the airport, badass paint jobs and all. We took a long look at the chart and decided to fly to Crossville, TN, which is 60 some odd miles. I'll skip ahead to preflight, because that's when things get interesting.
The plane doesn't have a POH (PILOTS operating handbook) and according to the FAA, it's illegal to takeoff without one. We decide to do it anyway, because we know how to fly the damn thing. takeoff goes well, and the climb to altitude (5500) is uneventful for about 15 mins.. then my door flies open. trying to fly an airplane requires alot of attention, and people have probably died trying to close their door when they should have just kept flying. I didn't try to close my door. It stayed open for a good ten minutes, until I reached a point where I could divert my attention long enough to fix it. I gave it a good slam and it stayed shut.
Next came the asshole ATC guy. We called him like 5 times, and he never responded. We called back to murfreesboro FBO to make sure our radio was working. it was. We called him a few more times. He finally responded to us. our tail number was N89539, and he kept calling us N89569, even though we corrected him every time. Our transponder was inop, and he kept telling us to IDENT even though we were telling him it was INOP. it went something like this:
ATC guy: "Cessna 89569 Ident please."
US : "Cessna 89539 has no transponder"
ATC guy : "Cessna 89569 I don't see your ident, please ident again."
US : "cessna 895359 has no transponder"
ATC guy : "Cessna 89569 say location and IDENT"
ME : "Cessna 895 THREE NINER climbing through 5100, transponder inop."
then he says "cessna 89539 you're transponder is inop, radar services terminated, frequency change approved." which is basically his way of saying fuckoff i don't want to talk to you.
Soo the rest of the flight to crossville goes pretty well, and there were some pretty cool airplanes there, including an ultralight. we had some candy corn and coke and talked to some old guys in the FBO. then it was time to hit the road home.
Chris was PIC for the trip back to murfreesboro, which allowed me to enjoy the ride a little more, and snap some pictures. About 20 minutes into the trip, I notice that our ammeter is discharging, and there's a red warning light on next to it. Thats probably not a life-threatening problem.. but if we don't fix it, we could lose our electrical system. That means flaps, radio communications, the whole shebang. So we try about the only thing we know to do, which is turn off master switch and avionics, reset, and turn it back on. Problem solved! This airplane keeps you guessing, I'll say that for it.
So I get this bright idea to open the window during flight, which is pretty cool. I open the window a little, peek out, and close it again. Then I decide to turn the camera on video and open the window the whole way, hold on to the camera real tight, and stick it outside for a panoramic view. I did, and it made for a freaking cool video, if short. Should be up on facebook shortly. I will say one thing.. it is really freaking hard to A) hold a camera outside of an airplane without dropping it, and B) reach outside the airplane and get the window shut after its opened all the way.
So if a camera ever falls from the sky and lands in your backyard, you can have a pretty good guess how it got there.