I was cleared for solo flight during my ultralight training at Blue Yonder flight school. The aircraft was an EZFlyer and I enjoyed early morning flights looking for my happy place.
It was an early fall morning with just a hint of the coming frost in the air. I arrived at the field early, pulled the aircraft out of the hangar and completed the pre-flight walk around, making sure that all the parts were there and attached. The correct number of parts firmly bolted in the right places generally ensures a reasonably safe launch, flight and return.
The sun was just breaking over the eastern horizon as I gassed her up, fired her up and warmed her up. Once everything was in the green I taxied out and checked the windsock. There was a light breeze from the west so I decided that, even though I wanted to go east, a takeoff into the westerly breeze would be prudent. Lined up on the active I slowly advanced the throttle and the EZ surged ahead, seemingly as eager as I to levitate.
Once airborne we climbed to five hundred feet above ground, executed a left climbing turn to pattern altitude one thousand feet above ground and made a final left turn to downwind and proceeded to leave the circuit heading east. I was on an IFR flight (I Follow Roads) along Highway 22X, planning to run out for a half hour, do some air work along the way and then a half hour back for coffee and hangar talk.
Beautiful! The rising sun was just clearing the horizon and the air was calm and all was right in my world. Then I noticed a movement off my left wing. What the!! A lone Canada Goose had pulled into formation with me. I wasn’t sure what next steps should be as I’d never been formation flying before. It soon became clear that we were both making about the same airspeed, we were both heading in the same direction and neither of us was in a conflicting flight path.
The air work exercise became secondary and I settled into a leisurely cross country with an old wild goose as my wingman. Once we reached my half hour time and distance target I eased back on the throttle to let my wingman pull ahead then executed a one eighty turn to head back to the field. The smile on my face lasted all the way back to a smooth landing and continued for most of the day.
I still smile when I remember or retell this story and that experience certainly was a happy place for me.