Situational Awareness with Perry Chmilar

I have a love/hate relationship with
flying in October. On the one hand I did my 150 mile cross country
solo from City Center-St. Paul-Vegreville-City Center. The October
weather was CAVOK, meaning almost no wind or clouds, temps in the
+10-15C range. The scenery was fantastic, farmers working their
fields, ducks & geese fattening up for their flite to the southern
parts of the USA. Three good landings & takeoffs, a great experience,
except for not switching the compass to the right heading from St.
Paul to Vegreville, but that is a story for another column! On the
other hand I had an situation @ Cooking Lake that I will never forget!
I was doing solo circuits, the weather was ideal & better yet I was
the only one in the circuit. As the runway is short, all circuits are
full stop landings with a back track for the next circuit. On what
ended up being my last circuit I was dialed in, airspeed & altitude
spot on, t-checks & radio work done on time, and I came in for a nice
short field landing. The only problem occurred after the landing when I
looked out to see a cow moose & calf walking across the runway! What
the______! How in the world could have I missed not seeing the moose when I was downwind or at least on final?! Were they bent down and I couldn’t see them or was I so zoned in on landing that I wasn’t paying enough attention outside the plane? To this day the situation is still a puzzle to me. Especially when you consider the area north of the runway is
mostly short grass & little in the way of trees. So the next time your on short final, take a second or two and look left and right to make sure there are no animals that might be about to cross the runway!

Finally from the dept of what the______! I was at EFC on Oct. 20 & watched a flock of
about 500 Canada Geese fly low & slow, maybe 200-300 feet AGL, along
the length of runway 08. Interesting to watch from the ground but
would have been scary from the air on short final! I just watched a
documentary on aircraft frame assembly and It was RIVETING…!