Saturday, April 16, 2005

Cross country to Evergreen

I got to the airport about 9:00 and Don got there about 5 minutes later. We both prepped and preflighted our planes and discussed the trip and arrival into Middleton Field, the site of EAA's South East Regional Fly-In (SERFI) and we left about 10:00. The wind was gusting from the northeast and it was pretty bumpy. There was a military training route that we had to cross about 30 miles into the 50 mile trip. The MTR altitude limits were 500 AGL to 4000 MSL, so we gradually climbed to 4000 feet to safely pass above it. It was pretty cold up there, even with the snowmobile suit I was wearing. It was the first time I had been up that high in my MX with the previous record being 3500 feet way back in 1995. We found some smoother air past 3800 and enjoyed the rest of the flight at that level.

Don had some pictures that he wanted to take near the city of Evergreen, so while he was down on the deck, I hung out way up high, with the runways of Middleton clearly in sight. It took me several minutes to spiral down to approach altitude and as I was doing so, I spotted Don coming toward me from his picture-taking task and I gladly let him take the lead to the approach. We landed on the taxiway of runway 10, the same designated traffic pattern when SERFI is held. I didn't see Don's landing as there was a hangar in the way, but the wind was blowing! I didn't have any problem landing, but it certainly wasn't one of my prettier meetings with the pavement! We taxied to the FBO and shut down our engines and quickly made our way to the bathroom, as it was a 1.3 hour flight. After our business was done, we relaxed and smoked a cig or two and just shot the breeze. Before I left I took a couple of shots of the two static aircraft F-86 sabre and a T-28 Trojan. The attendant at the FBO cheerfully filled up my 2.5 gallon can twice while I mixed in the oil and topped off my tank. I paid and we suited up and left shortly. We followed basically the same path home and the air was even bumpier than before. There was no really smooth air to be found up to 4000 feet, but it was better about 3800 than it was at 3000, so I stayed there. Don decided to stay lower where he thought he was getting a better ground speed for his chosen RPM.

We flew around Greenville and the east side of the airport runway before following a familiar route back to Ft. Deposit. Landing was a non-event, even though I had a low bounce or two before losing enough airspeed to stay firmly planted on the ground. The wind was gusting directly across the runway but didn't pose too much of a problem.

The total distance for our flight was 106 miles and about 3.2 hours flight time. This trip provided two firsts for me...longest distance covered in one day and highest altitude in my airplane. It was a fun trip! Can't wait to do another!


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