Friday, May 21, 2010

Pre-Memorial Day Flight

With a VIP TFR scheduled for a 10:30pm start running through Saturday at 1pm, I thought it best I bag a day of work and get the Annual Wilkes-Barre pre-memorial day trip completed. Every year since I was a kid our family tradition was to visit the cemetery and place flowers for our family members that have passed. My Mother and Father are buried just north of the left down wind for runway six at KWBW. We always have problems with the weekend car rentals so we started to fly into KAVP, Wilkes-Barre Scranton instead. The FBO, Saker Aviation, usually has a crew car available. Today was perfect, we were in the air by 9:30ish and on the ground at AVP by 10:30, it sure beats the 2.5 hr drive. I will say that I had fueled 08Romeo to 25 gallons per side, leaving only room for maybe seven gallons. I wanted to save some room to purchase fuel at Saker for the use of the crew car. Once we had the plane secure and the car taken care of I instructed the FBO to top it off. Yes, I gave it some extra thought due to density altitude but with 7,500 feet of runway and a notch of flaps if needed, I was plenty good to go. We borrowed their crew car/van and headed out on our mission.

The first stop is a flower market just off the cross valley expressway and on the way to the Italian cemetery. We walked around, picked out the flowers and were off again. We came up to the Wyoming valley airport (KWBW) on our right which is where we turn for our destination. Always a trip down memory lane as I drive through the area, good memories of fun summers as a kid and even better times as a teen and young adult....but I digress. Mary and I get the planting completed and then make the rounds to say a few prayers at various family members. As I mentioned to Mary, I only come up here to plant flowers and make things nice, I think of my folks everyday, they are always with me.

We hopped back in the van making one stop to top off the tank for a total of nine dollars. Van checked in, fuel top off paid and nature stops complete, it was time to saddle up for home. Walking out to the plane we decided on making a lunch run on the way home. We thought we would try the Kitty Hawk Restaurant in York, PA. I was still concerned with the temps climbing knowing I had full fuel and only going to burn maybe ten gallons on the flight. The York runway is 5,100 and density altitude when we landed was 1,900 feet.

We secured the plane and made our way into the restaurant. We met a nice man that is a teacher in a local school. He was there with a student that was interested in learning to fly. The teacher asked if we would talk to him. Mary and I ordered drinks and we sat and chatted with the potential pilot. I did catch the teachers comment that he was trying to spark an interest in school with the young man. I told him flat out I didn't like school much and pretty much cruised through but....there is always a but. After working my butt off and having a very serious accident that changed my career path I put myself through school and did very well. My advice was don't wait until your an old fart like me, learn the lessons now that we all go through eventually. The same for learning to fly, I told him it's a challenge, you have to study and work hard but if it's your passion it doesn't seem like work. I asked the young man to check out the flying forums and to send me an email. I will make it a point to fly back to York and get him some air time. I'm looking forward to his email.We said our goodbyes and I wished him well reinforcing the thought to email me so we can get in the air.

Mary and I ordered lunch and drank down our cool drinks. The waitress was great and she chatted with us about the restaurant and the owners, which we got to meet. What a nice couple, very friendly and really wanting to make this place grow, great for general aviation!We saddled up for home looking at a thirty minute hop through the scuzzy haze. I had around 45 gallons on board and the DA was still 1,900 feet. I set in one notch of flaps and decided a short field take off application would be fine. I announced departing runway three five rolled on the runway, ran up the throttle and let the brakes go, we were off. 08Romeo was wheels up in a short distance and showing positive climb, she's a working machine.
We bumped along all the way home straining to see the Salem nuke cooling towers. Visibility was maybe 20 miles but the haze was really thick. I was directed to enter a right base for one nine and call. I ended the day with a short field landing needing to add plenty of throttle to make the first taxiway, kilo. Plane secured, home in the air conditioning and eating a bomb pop while I type. 3.5 hours today and some sunburn on the face....this is way better than working!

I miss my parents everyday....I'm thankful for the lessons they taught me about being a man, a good husband, hard worker and provider. I often wonder what they would of thought about me learning to fly and owning an airplane.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Very special flight to visit your parents - thanks for sharing the trip.

Lots of trees down there in some of those photos, by the way!