Friday, August 22, 2014

July 31st: A Looooong Day of Flying

I woke up when Dave's alarm went off at 5am the next morning. As nice as it would have been to sleep a bit longer, I rolled out of my nice warm sleeping bag and started stuffing it into its carrier. It was time to go home. Boo!!

It didn't take too long to get everything packed, especially since we just chucked it all in the back of the plane without really organizing it. Dave's camp chair had broken the night before, so he had already tossed that in a dumpster, and we didn't even bother trying to get my tent crammed back into the nice little carrying case. In the back it went!

We had topped off the tanks the day before, so the preflight went pretty fast. The tricky part was getting the plane pushed out of the spot. Since we had been there for five days and a few rainstorms, the wheels had sunk down into the ground. Thankfully, some of our camping neighbors were already awake and gave us a hand. It took four of us to get the plane pushed out so we could taxi!

One last walk-around before startup. Goodbye, North's been fun!

We started up shortly after 6am, along with a few other planes. We didn't even get to the end of our row before we ran into a traffic jam; there were a few other people all trying to get out of the North 40, but nobody had lowered the flags along the flight line! There weren't any flag people around, either (I'm not sure why), but after a minute someone ran over from one of their campsites, towel around their shoulders, and lowered the flags so we could all get out. I fell in line behind the other planes, which worked out well since we didn't see a flag person or pink shirt controller the whole way out to the runway. Luckily everyone else knew where they were going, so I just followed them.

Waiting to depart runway 27 behind this Piper. He took off IFR, so they had to sort out his release.

Eventually it was our turn and we were cleared for takeoff. Goodbye, Oshkosh...I'll hopefully be back really soon!

It's a little blurry, but Dave managed to grab a shot of the North 40 on takeoff. That building with the green roof is the shower house; we had been parked a couple rows to the left of the picture. There were already a lot of empty camping spots, and it looked like more people were leaving, too.

We followed the departure procedure (basically, stay low until you're clear of the arrivals), then climbed up a little bit and headed south to DKB. It was a little hazy, but nice and smooth. We made a quick stop at DKB, checked the weather, and got right back in the air for our next leg to Indiana. We had decided to just fly our outbound trip backwards, since we already knew how to get fuel at each airport and could make quick stops to save time.

JOT: Joliet, Illinois. We flew over this airport both ways but never did stop.

Our next stop was HHG. This time there were a bunch of cropdusters on the ramp, filling up their hoppers and heading back out. We topped off our plane, pushed it back into a tiedown, and went inside to check weather and pay.

As we were leaving the FBO we wound up talking to the owner of this Tri Pacer. Turns out he was heading to Fredericksburg, which is only about 20 minutes from HWY! He had spent a few days over in Vintage camping and said the North 40 sounded like more fun. (Which is good to know for when I eventually get my C120 out to OSH.) We made arrangements to check in with him on an air-to-air frequency, then took off a few minutes behind him. We compared rides for a little while along the way; the clouds were starting to build, and it sounded like it was bumpy at every altitude.

Dave and I somewhere over Indiana or Ohio. We were making great time, but man, was there a lot of flying!

Our next stop was CDI. Even with knowing what to look for, I still didn't see the airport until we were almost on top of it! 

The nice guy at the FBO topped off the plane while we went inside and stuffed ourselves with popcorn and cookies. If you're ever headed west, this is a really great stop! We checked the weather for our last leg, and while nothing was showing on radar we could see some buildups that we'd need to pick our way around.

This leg also had the highest terrain of the trip, and we needed to get up to at least 4500' to clear everything. Things were looking a little sketchy under the clouds at first, so I got the bright idea to climb to 7500' and try to fly over everything. That was nice in theory, but the clouds were higher than that, so after a few minutes we started back down again.

New personal best in the C172: 144kt groundspeed! Sure, I was in a power-on spiral at the time, but it still counts.   :)

Once we got past the last few clouds, it actually looked better and we had no problems the rest of the way back.

Somewhere near the border of West Virginia and Maryland. This entire ridge was covered with wind turbines.

We made pretty good time and were back on the ground at HWY right at 4pm...a full 8 hours before my annual ran out. Perfect!

Back in the hangar.   :)

Overall, we flew 15.1 hours, traveled somewhere around 1300 miles, and had an excellent trip. It was great to get to hang out with Dave again, and we had a lot of fun at Oshkosh. I can't wait to go back!

Now the fun part...unpacking. Ugh!

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