Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

This week’s challenge: Whether your own or someone else’s, literal or figurative, take us on a photographic adventure.

Because I am a hopelessly literate thinker, no risk of a figurative adventure here.

Do you know the difference between the aviation terms “VFR” and “IFR”? Doesn’t everybody?

VFR= Visual Flight Rules. This is how most private pilots fly, never going on to earn their IFR designation. It means, basically, that you fly and navigate by looking out the window. VISUAL. You are not permitted to fly through clouds and must maintain sight of the horizon at all times.

IFR = Instrument Flight Rules. To earn this designation, a pilot literally flies under a hood unable to see anything except the instruments on the dashboard. Navigation and piloting occur using absolutely nothing except the instruments. My pilot, a really smart guy, said it was the hardest test he’s ever taken. Once earned, a pilot can fly through clouds and in heavy, low ceilings.

Any pilot would be screaming right now at my gross oversimplifications, but we get the drift, right?

The weather is the main reason we fly IFR.  In July we had two big events coinciding over the Fourth: a family reunion and our 40th anniversary. The weather in Virginia was glorious, but forecasts warned us of big storms as we flew into New England. If my pilot were not IFR – rated, the flight would have to be canceled.

This is “One-Niner-Three-Three-Mike,” my favorite of the four planes in my husband’s flying club, “The Wingnuts.”



The James River in Richmond, VA as we headed north:


As we approached Maine, the weather got progressively worse. On-board radar is a beautiful thing. The blue/purple line is our flight path. Flying between two storms like this is called “threading the needle.”


This is where instrument training comes into play as cloud cover begins to block the horizon.


Ahhh, at last. Portland, Maine in sight:


Safely on the ground! Portland is my kind of town: coffee shops, book stores, rugged Yankee architecture, museums, the harbor, and, oh yes, lobster.

About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
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54 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Adventure

  1. Your husband might like my young friend Swayne’s piloting blog, Private to Professional Pilot, http://www.swaynemartin.com. It’s really taken off.


    • What a GREAT young man!!!! There is such discipline involved in flying, and I am chuckling at his remark about flying above the streets on which he was not yet allowed to drive.I am sure Roger will really enjoy this. Thanks for sending.


  2. Mary Ellen Yost says:

    Loved this. Learning flight info…..fun!

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. mrsmrs says:

    Ster-ewth, Barbara ! – rather you than me. I should probably have been screaming ‘LET ME OUT !” …


  4. joannesisco says:

    Great story and I learned a few things – a great combination 🙂

    The radar picture and “threading the needle” made my stomach clench involuntarily. Although I have flown considerably more than the average person, I like to have my feet planted on terra firma!


    • Stomach clenching and white knuckle moments were the norm when I first started flying with my husband. Now I’m much more relaxed as I have an idea what to expect.The “threading the needle” is infinitely more scary on the radar than it was in real life. You know I find adding a little visual drama irresistible!


  5. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, Flying has become so common that we forget the aura of adventure that surrounds each flight, as well as the incredible skills of the pilot that allow even visual flight, let alone that by instrument.

    By the way, it has been a long-time dream of mine to visit Portland, especially to see the old architecture. It is amazing how many early buildings are there, considering the devastation resulting from the great Fire of 1866.


    • Hello, Jim! I adored Portland – everything about it. A very approachable and walkable little city. As you observe, it has retained its character via its architecture. Wonderful mansard roofs (which we don’t see too often down South) and brick, granite, and wrought iron abound. Not to mention real book stores. Re: flying. Roger would tell you that other than earning his IFR, the hardest part was learning to land smoothly.


  6. I love Portland and pilots! (Jeremiah and my dad are both pilots…and of course my day job is dependent upon pilots.) Well done.


  7. Diane Ahlberg says:

    I am so much better not knowing what is happening while it’s happening. I’m sure after many air miles under your belt with Roger you can see storm to the right storm to the left . With weather changing I’m not sure why any pilot would chance it and not learn IFR. If I were to ever fly non- commercial Roger would certainly be one if not the only one I would feel secure in being the pilot!
    “If” being the operative word-
    You two fly safely and enjoy!


    • I totally understand that “not wanting to know” aspect of being a passenger. It’s not so much storms, Di, that limit being able to fly, it’s clouds. If you are VFR, you are FORBIDDEN to fly through clouds, period. So it could be a nice day but a heavy cloud cover would keep you grounded. You know that didn’t fly (bad pun, sorry) with Roger.


  8. nrhatch says:

    Sounds like an adventure to me ~ loved learning about “threading the needle.” And Maine is such a great destination. We haven’t spent much time in Portland, but we’ve enjoyed many other coastal towns ~ from Ogunquit to Bar Harbor/Acadia.


    • Acadia National Park is one of my favorite places on earth, Nancy. And I am driving around with a moose decal on my car from Bar Harbor.


      • nrhatch says:

        One of our favorite things in Bar Harbor ~> “Cool As A Moose!” bumper stickers, t-shirts, postcards. 😎

        If ever you are looking for a place to stay, check out the Balance Rock Inn (overlooking Frenchman’s Bay). Breakfast and afternoon tea included. Off the main drag, but walking distance to town.


      • That’s the one on my car! There’s a story behind me and moose which I might write about some day if I’m feeling in a particularly revealing mood…..Balance Rock Inn, duly noted. Also…on another subject, I have a card for an acupuncturist. Moving ahead on this. Thanks again, Nancy.


      • nrhatch says:

        Awesome. Our acupuncturist is a D.O.M. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine). I think that’s what you want to look for.

        And I’d love to hear your Moose Tale some day.


  9. dorannrule says:

    Wow! I am so impressed! Your flying journeys are true adventures and make me dizzy just reading about them.


  10. Jennifer Howe says:

    Loved reading this post. We share something in common! My husband is a pilot, too! Although, he does not fly privately. His love for flying started when he was young and eventually he entered the Air Force and went on to fly heavy planes. He is retired and now flies commercially. It would be fun for him to one day fly privately and your adventures remind me of how great it would be for me to fly with my husband. Enjoy the day and I look forward to your next blog post!


    • So your husband is a REAL PILOT. Air Force pilots are the best! Maybe someday he could look into joining a flying club like mine has done. It is so much more affordable than owning your own plane and we can almost always have a plane when we want to go somewhere (rarely are they all booked, I mean.) Thanks so much, Jennifer, nice to see you over here!


      • Jennifer Howe says:

        My husband would say that all pilots are real. He really loves flying and it’s been my experience that everyone who flies a plane is in one big club. We recently took a trip to Lake Okoboji, IA and they have a small airport close to the lake. My husband and I talked about how much fun it would be to fly right to a vacation spot. Maybe someday and I will see if he can look into a flying club, it sounds like so much fun! ~Cheers!


  11. Simply irresistible. Love your journey and the photos, Barbara. 😉


  12. Jane says:

    Very interesting post! I learn so much from my virtual friends! Thank you!


  13. Good for both of you! The smallest plane I’ve ever flown on was a 14-or-so passenger plane from Denver to Sheridan, Wyoming. I figured if we had a problem, we could land on the interstate. 🙂 The co-pilot handed out drinks and asked me if I wanted to sit in his seat for a time, as I was trying to take some photos, as I recall. Good stuff.



    • Janet, you’re absolutely right about landing on the interstate. Although I never want to actually experience landing there or in a field, it can be done, and pilots are trained to always be looking for the place they might have to put down in case of engine failure. I hope you got some great photos that day!


      • I don’t know whether I did or not. That was many, many years ago in the days of regular cameras and prints. I’d have to go through my boxes and see whether I have any from then. I’d love to do it now, though.


  14. Thanks for the education, Barbara. I really like “threading the needle” – that can certainly make for some adventure.


  15. Pingback: Behind the Mirror [PHOTO CHALLENGE] | Ramisa the Authoress

  16. Eliza Waters says:

    What an awesome adventurer you are – thanks for taking us along!


  17. Margie says:

    What a great story! I’ve only had a few opportunities to fly in a small plane, and though I trusted the pilots, I know I would have been very uncomfortable if I hadn’t been able to see the ground at all times!


  18. RamisaR says:

    Beautiful images. An adventure indeed. 🙂


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