Learning Experiences

March 2008 Issue

Windy City

I’d had enough of Chicago for one weekend. It was spring of 2002, and the U.S. was still reacting to 9/11. I’d flown into now-defunct Meigs Field a few days earlier for business and pleasure. Now, I was ready to go, having overdosed on both. First, of course, I had to get through Mayor Daley’s gauntlet of airline-style security: After presenting my pilot certificate, driver’s license, a picture of my first-born male child and assorted other documentation, three of Chicago’s Finest watched me walk through a metal detector. I preflighted, loaded my bags, strapped in and listened to the ATIS. A Notam prohibited single-engine operations in a 20-knot-or-greater direct crosswind. The runway at Meigs, of course, was oriented 18/36. The observed wind was from 090 at 20 knots; the tower would not clear me to takeoff.

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