In the four months I've had Truman, I have not had the chance to take him flying with me like I've done with Kili. This mainly has to do with the fact that I was not able to trust him not to fly around the airplane, poop everywhere, and cause trouble. However, in recent months I have worked a lot on socializing Truman. I began taking him on extended car rides, meeting new people, and going to new places. Although not with the same confidence as when I took Kili for her first flight, I was ready to bring Truman up with me before the onset of colder weather.
The hour and a half drive to Braden airport was good carrier practice for Truman. He stayed quiet for most of the ride as it was still early in the morning and he had a meal to eat inside the carrier on the way. He used to scream endlessly during car rides but the more we do it, the more relaxed he is about it. Upon arriving to the airport, I got briefed about the day's weather and preflighted the PA28R-180 Piper Arrow.
As soon as the airplane was ready, I quickly moved Truman in his carrier from the car to the airplane because the weather was brisk. I strapped Truman's carrier into the front seat, let Kathleen into the back and then we were all set to go. The engine took a lot of cranking and didn't want to start. With enough coaxing of the throttle and mixture, it finally lit up and we ready. After just five minutes of taxi and engine run up, we were on the runway taking off. The Arrow lifted effortlessly off the ground both thanks to the light payload and colder air setting in.
At 150mph, the 17 mile flight to Sky Manor was so quick that I had to rush to get Truman some out time. I had just barely leveled off when it was time to descend again, so I popped the lid on the carrier and took Truman out. He was excited and very playful. He even got to fly the airplane for a bit from the right seat. He assisted me flying the plane and gave me suggestions. When he sat on my shoulder he obsessed with my headset, most likely disappointed that he didn't get one like everybody else.
I brought the plane around a tight pattern and made a smooth crosswind landing at Sky Manor airport. Meanwhile, Truman was sitting on my shoulder preening, vocalizing, and finding new exciting ways to be a pain in the butt. We left Truman in his carrier in the plane while we went to have lunch at the airport restaurant. We did not entirely forget about Truman. Upon returning from lunch, we harnessed him up in the plane and took him outside for a little bit. He didn't feel like flying recalls so we just let him explore the park bench for a little while. It was cold and windy so we did not leave him out for too long.
The flight back was just as quick and uneventful. I let Truman out a little sooner and let him stay out for a bit but not again for landing. Braden is pretty much the shortest airport around so it takes a little concentration to put a fast airplane onto the tiny strip. Nonetheless, the crosswind landing was fine and I managed to use only half the runway (about 1000ft).
By exposing Truman to as many different scenarios now, regardless of whether or practical or not, it helps shape him into a less fearful parrot in the long run. He will be more used to change and less stressed out if I ever need to do a lot of car travel or move to a new home with him. Since parrots live so long, changes are inevitable. This is why it is best to begin preparing your parrot from when it is a baby. Socialization is not merely about teaching your parrot specific new objects/situations but also teach it to be accepting of the concept of change in general.
Here is a video of Truman's flight. While it is a bit long, there are cute scenes of Truman throughout the video so I recommend sticking it out and watching the entire thing:
wow! I thought that was really great!
My favorite part was when Truman was up on the dashboard (probably not what it's called, but I know nothing about planes) & ya'll were coming in from a landing, but you could see another plane taking off beside you.
I've only been in puddle-jumpers a couple of times, & to be honest, they made me pretty uptight. Too loud, too bumpy, & not nearly enough around me to allow me to forget I'm that high up flying thru the air!!
This looked like fun outing though - thanx for sharing.