Our race preparations date back over a year ago without our even knowing it. Heather began a health and fitness regime in the first quarter of 2009. She was making great strides in losing weight and feeling fit by the time I decided to join in. Sometime in June of that year we decided to make the Air Race Classic a “goal” date for us. Without putting a specific “weight loss” amount out there, we just determined to view the race as our opportunity to GAIN fuel.
For those of you who fly, you’ll already know what that means.
The Piper Warrior uses 100 Low Lead fuel (100LL.) 100LL weighs 6 pounds per gallon. The plane can hold approximately 50 gallons of fuel, or 300 lbs. That’s a lot of weight considering the plane itself can only hold about 925 lbs. total. Weight (what it can hold) and Balance (where the weight resides within the plane) are critical factors in the ability of the plane to perform correctly and react as anticipated. Add to that the fact that the summer months (warm and humid weather) have an adverse affect on the airplane’s performance and therefore you don’t want to push the limit with how much weight you are carrying.
And so, without knowing it, Heather had already begun a journey to “gain fuel” and by the time we decided to fly the race I joined the cause. We would celebrate our 6 lb. milestones and say we had “gained another gallon.” While we’ve both had ups and downs on the journey, together we’ve gained nearly 14 gallons of fuel (which translates to a combined weight loss over 82 lbs!)
Good thing too….we not only have to account for the fuel and ourselves…we have to account for our flight gear, charts, overnight bags and of course….my computer!
What am I doing here?… I better hit the gym and see if we can make it 15 gallons gained!