Monday, April 30, 2007

"Requesting permission to buzz the tower"

"Hey dad, when they open our airplane door to arrest us for landing at Reagan without permission and for flying around the monuments in DC, boy won't they be surprised when we're upstairs in our room going to sleep."

Saturday I was browsing the freecycle and noticed someone was giving away a USB flight control stick with Flight Simulator 2002. Needless to say I jumped on it and brought it home to questions of "Does it have the Osprey?" and "What is a Klingon bird of prey?"

Well, since I did buy it under the guise of teaching the kids aerodynamics and basic flight theory, I figured I'd let them have turns at night and tonight was Charlie's turn. After a paper airplane model using aeirlerons, flaps, elevators, rudders and whatnot, we laid out a mild flightplan to take off from Dulles and head toward DC for some sightseeing (and I was curious if the program would come over the radio and tell the user he was entering restricted airspace.)

Well, they didn't bug us on the radio so Chas flew us past the Lincoln, across the reflecting pool, just missed the Washington monument and straight down the mall to the capital building before circling over the Redskins game and making a return flight over the center of town and then wandered south to fly over our house. He did a great job up there and was very easy with the controls and made a smooth flight. He handed it over to me for the landing which we made easily into Reagan National, though without permission, and I explained to him that when it is done in real life, you have to ask for permission, wait in line, and come in on a controlled course.

It was after we parked, killed the engines, analyzed our flight, he got his bedtime drink, and I was tucking them in bed when he made the above comment. I thought it was great.

On another note, Sunday, Jackie had a "tea" so I rescued the boys out for a day with dad in DC. We saw it all (west of the Washington Monument) and walked everywhere. We went to the Lincoln, the Vietnam, the WWI, the WWII, the POW, the Women's War Memorial, Declaration Island, everything. The boys were absolute champs through it all especially for having walked miles. We got back to the van (finally) and after buckling I asked the boys, after seeing soooo much history, what was their favorite part:

Chas-I liked it when the Mallard Drake and Duck hopped out of the reflecting pool, walked across the sidewalk and jumped into the water at the WWII memorial.

Simon-I liked seeing the daddy and mommy goose walking their baby geese.

Me, I liked the smiles on their faces for hours and hours as we just hung out with nowhere else to be.

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