Thursday, October 11, 2012

"El Reno Traffic, Dust Devil 1 base runway 17..."

The day after my race was the last day off I had in Oklahoma, and since the weather was good I wanted to make sure I got one last flight in before I flew back home to VA. I decided to head up north for a change and picked a couple airports that I hadn't been to before.

This time, I made sure the first one was just far enough away to count as a cross country!
There is a pretty big wind farm about 10 miles north of Chickasha.
After crossing over I-40 I followed some railroad tracks on the way to Watonga, my first stop. This is the town of Geary; it was in the middle of nowhere!
Aside from a random town or two, this was basically the scenery I was flying over the entire time.
After a little while I made it to my first stop: KJWG - Watonga. Just like the airports I went to last week, I was the only one moving in the area. I landed, taxiied back, and took off again, and started heading south to my next stop.

The scenery was just as exciting on the way south as it was heading north.   :)
My next stop was 2O8: Hinton. There was actually someone on the ramp here, gassing up his plane. The taxiway layout here was a little confusing, but I eventually figured out that I had to backtaxi to get back out of there, and off I went. I found out after the fact that there is a state park near the airport with hiking trails and a small canyon. I'll have to keep that in mind if I get to come back out for another class!
After Hinton I had one stop left: KRQO, El Reno. It was only about 17 miles away, so I just stayed at pattern altitude for the short hop over.
Crosswind for KRQO. Just like the other airports, I was the only plane in the area, but this time I had to share the traffic pattern...with a small dust devil! I flew right past it on final, and it was really cool to look down and see it swirling around in the field.

I flew right over the wind farm again on the way back to Chickasha. Since I had a little extra time, I decided to drop down low and zip around just above the turbines. Mitch later told me that they really had fun with the wind farm while they were building it, because you could drop down really low and use the towers as pylons before all the blades were installed. Not exactly something I'd try now.   :)

Left crosswind for 17 at CHK; you can even see the grass runways in this shot. I was having fun in Oklahoma until I got back into the pattern right here, because it suddenly sunk in that all of my fun stuff was over and it was almost time to go home.

Overall I had a really good time in Oklahoma! The class I took was really interesting and the people made it a lot of fun, and I got to do some pretty neat stuff on the weekends so I never really got homesick or bored, even though I was gone for almost three weeks. (I think it also helped that I stayed in the same apartment complex this time as I did the first time, so when I opened the door the first day it felt kind of like being home again anyway.) I'm requesting a few more classes so hopefully I'll get the chance to head back to the Academy again!

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