Well, at long last, I have finally flown around in sunny Colorado. In July of last year, I sold my beloved Cessna 150, knowing full well that the little 100HP plane would not be terribly useful in the high country of Colorado. I also sorta put all aviation on hold, as there was a bit of financial uncertainty involved with moving 2/3 of the way across the country and buying a new house. Besides, I was getting my cycling fix. But ever since arriving in Boulder, I have thought about flying. The local airport is only three miles from my house, and the glider towplanes fly over my office every day. The scenery of Colorado's front range is breathtaking, and I've been thinking about what it must be like to view it from the air.

After a false start last week, where I had a plane and instructor booked but had to sit on the ground and watch the windsock point straight out, I woke up this morning to calm winds and incredible visibility. It was time to get back in the air.

I met my instructor and after a preflight we hopped in and fired up. After the run-up, I got an intro to leaning for performance at altitude, something I never had to worry about down at sea level. After that, it was time to fly. The goal was to fly around, get familiar with the local area, and get acquainted with flying at altitude, where some things work a little differently.

We climbed out to the east, and I demonstrated some maneuvers such as slow flight, steep turns and stalls, all the while making our way to Platte Valley airpark for a touch & go. My first landing at altitude was… pretty straightforward. Your groundspeed is higher than it is down at sea level, but it actually feels more comfortable for some reason. But the runway sure does fly by, and planning and airspeed control is definitely more important than ever up here.

After Platte Valley, we headed oer to nearby Erie Municipal for another couple of landings. From there, it was up to Longmont's Vance Brand Airport, and them back to Boulder Muni for what was supposed to be a full stop landing but ended up being a go-around following a too-high approach.

All in all, I flew OK, and the instructor felt the flying was solid enough to wrap up my biennial flight review and sign me off to take the plane out solo from now on! So after a six month dry spell, I am once again kicked from the roost and am looking forward to soaring above Boulder. The challenges of the mountains are the next task.

Flying Toward Boulder