Kim was planning a solo road trip from Jacksonville, FL to Biddeford Pool, ME starting on September 22nd. Kim and Phil are attending their best friends' son's wedding in Jacksonville on September 20, so she convinced her husband, (also a pilot) that it would really be cool if they drove to Jacksonville. After the wedding Kim Dropped Phil off at Jacksonville Airport on Sunday afternoon so he could fly back home, then she will start her "road trip".
Just from reading her posts and all the comments associated with it, her trip is more then just "a road trip". I have followed along Kim's blog and listened to the comments she made today while enjoying lunch at Gettysburg. Yes, the trip has a purpose and as all destinations, a reason for taking place. I have always said in sports, which always seems to carry over as a life lesson, it's the journey we should enjoy and savor, it fills our memories and gives meaning to the ultimate destination. I would say we all had a fun day today, laughing and trading stories, learning about unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and sharing good company. It's always nice to put a face with those you share time with in the online world of flying, pilots and forums.
Today's trip started out a bit behind schedule since my flight briefing called out Instrument Flight Rule conditions (IFR) around Gettysburg, York and Hagerstown. Not a problem, Joe and I headed to the local Wawa for some cold water and I had to have something for breakfast so I picked up a rice pudding. We returned and made a second call to 1-800-WX-BRIEF and I asked for an abbreviated wx brief with a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) update. The wx was now Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and only getting better as the day would go on. TFR's were non-existent in my planned route of flight with the biggie R-4009, P-40 (Camp David) not expanded. Joe and I saddled up and taxied for departure from Wilmington.
The tower alerted us to a Falcon jet departing behind us and climbing through 4000' so I offered to hold my altitude at 3000' and with that was no factor for the jet. I was soon cleared to climb at my discretion, it's always nice to help the folks in the tower when I can. It was hazy as usual but Joe managed some photo's along the way. We made good time looking at ground speeds of 125kts (144mph) most of the way out. I did not see the Gettysburg airport at first so I held 500' above the pattern altitude as I crossed midfield (obviously having spotted the runway). I made the call crossing midfield to enter left down wind for runway six and started an immediate descent. I watched Tim turn base and final then set the Diamond down and taxi out to the ramp. I was next, now on short final and adding rudder as needed. The winds were light and I set 679er down with a good bit of stall horn which means a no flat landing. I retracted the flaps and taxied clear of the runway.
Rick (check out my six) provided transportation, and the group loaded up for Herr's tavern. Herr's is not open until 11:30 (lesson learned from our last trip) but today the sign read "closed on Tuesdays". I'm beginning to think this place has a thing for pilots and screwing with our plans. We all loaded up and Rick had us heading into downtown Gettysburg to find some eats. The Farnsworth House Inn was the choice. The service was good and the food was fine by me. I had the open face hot roast beef that came with mashed potatoes. I saw some garden salads with chicken served and everyone seems to enjoy their lunch. We sat and chatted, Kim revealing she had control issues, I acknowledged that is the first step in recovery, recognizing the issue. She was quick with the comeback asking if I was a psychiatrist, we all had a good laugh. The talk turned to airplanes of course and drifted to the UAV's as mentioned above.
As I have stated before and I will again, time with friends, especially those we share time in the sky with passes by way too fast. Pictured on the left is Kim, Paul and Rick. It was time to head back to the airport and head east for home. We said our good byes and everyone wished Kim a safe road trip on the rest of her journey. Joe and I saddled up once I completed a walk around and checked our fuel. 679er came to life and we taxied out for departure. I watched the winds favor both runways and as the windsock/airplane looked to be a steady crosswind I decided on runway two four for departure. I announced our intentions and was on the roll when Joe said the windsock changed to a tailwind, I had already decided on two notches of flaps for the warm temps, 41 gallon fuel load and our full tummy's. 679er climbed out with no problems and we turned cross wind and downwind prior to departing briefly to the south for some pictures of the battlefield. We heard Tim departing from runway six and watched him take off. The ride home was about an hour and we returned via runway one entering on a left base. I kept it close, turning a base to final and landing a bit long to save taxi time. Another good landing in a 22kt gust heard the stall horn moan and ever so gentle chirps.
2.0 hours in the book, a good lunch and fun flight. I was happy to share some flight time with Joe and chit chat along the way. It was nice to meet Kim, Rick, Tim and Paul. We hope to take a road trip (by air) some day and bounce around and meet fellow pilots and explore this great country. Mary and I often talk about taking off and flying until we feel like stopping for the night and exploring everything that destination has to offer. We would get up the next day and repeat the previous plan. All in good time....
Safe travels Kim! Enjoy Bloomsburg, the road trip and friends along the way. Take time to enjoy the sights, recharge the soul and clear the mind. Blue Skies!!