ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Welcome to Sunny(?) Florida

Above is the gulf of Mexico after a particularly nasty storm last (Saturday) night. It's windy and cold right now but we're hoping it will warm up a little.

Yes, I'm officially on vacation. This should mean that I will have more time to blog things, much to the delight of "my editor" and profliferous co-blogger Saint Wendeler (oops, haven't had much time yet). But hey, no promises, it's not like your paying to read my delightful prose.

For those that would like to more, below is the trip report of the journey down here.

As some of my family knows, I'm a Private Pilot with an IFR rating, and the plan was to take the airplane for which I'm a partner in, down to to Destin, FL for a week of sun and fun. The no-wind flight plan called for approximately 4.5 hours in the air, as opposed to over 12 hours of driving. The original route of flight was to be (pardon the aviation talk): 1H0 (Creve Coeur Airport near St. Louis), CGI (Cape Girardeau, MO), JKS (Jacks Creek, TN), RESGE, KMSL (Muscle Shoals, AL) where we'd make a fuel stop and get some lunch.

From Muscle Shoals, the route would be: KMSL, OKW (Brookwood, AL), JYU (Selma, AL), CEW (Crestview FL) and on to Destin, FL (KDTS).

For the last week, I've been over at NOAA's Aviation Digital Data Service poring over prog charts watching as the various low pressure systems traced across the country. The prog chart for Saturday (the original departure date) looked particularly nasty, showing a major storm front moving across the midwest. Given that thunderstorms are not something I would be able to fly over or around in this instance, I quickly amended the plan to leave Friday morning, instead of Saturday morning. This required modifying the various reservations (car, lodging) we had at Destin, but was mostly a non-event.

Friday morning, showed that the storm was due to hit St. Louis later that afternoon, but was already moving close to the bootheel of Missouri. I changed the plan and filed a flight plan to KMSL, that went over Marion, IL to give us a little more room.

The flight to MSL was mostly a non-event, there was a little turbulence as we proceeded under an overcast and a little rain.

Landed in MSL at 10:43am local time. The friendly staff at Shoals Flight Center (airnav link) helped us get some lunch by offering their Dodge Neon courtesy car. After a delicious lunch (including of course, sweet tea to drink, we headed back to the airport for fuel and a 1:43 departure to Destin.

We quickly ran into some headwinds that slowed the groundspeed we were making to between 85-90 knots. The 2 hour and 15 minute no-wind trip was quickly ballooning to a 3 hour trip. As we got close to the Alabama/Florida border turbulence picked up to a moderate level. I tried descending to pick up some ground speed, but the turbulence was even worse down there, so we quickly climbed back up to 5000 feet. About 50 miles outside of Crestview, FL I told Atlanta Center, that I wanted to divert to Crestview (KCEW). I wanted to put some more fuel in the tanks in case we had any issues getting into Destin, as well as to give our bodies a break from the shaking.

We landed at Crestview/Bob Sikes airport picked up some relatively cheap for the area fuel, and were back on our way at 4:30. Eglin approach quickly routed us around the Temporary restricted area over Eglin AFB due to the airshow practice that was going on. As we headed south, I quickly saw the beautiful white beaches of the gulf shore, and picked out the KDTS airport. Cleared direct to KDTS, ATC advised me that they were landing 32 (while departing 14) due to the restricted area. This would result in me landing with around a 7kt tailwind. Not really a factor for my airplane with a 6000 foot runway, but it still would result in a fast speed touchdown.

I kept in close due to the proximity of the various hotels and condominiums near the beach in a very dramatic looking curving approach to the runway. Perfect landing and rollout to the wonderful folks at Miracle Strip aviation.

*** Update ***

Ok, so this sat in Draft status for the past 2 days, because, well, I've been on vacation! Destin is a real nice beach town with some pretty decent seafood. If you'll excuse me, I have to head off to the beach.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Comments (2)
Monterey John said...

Well, er, ah... has it snowed yet?

St Wendeler said...

Glad you made it safe! Any chance there's room in that bird for a crazy brother?

Nothin' like Appalachicola oysters & a frosty adult beverage. Petting dolphins is pretty cool as well, which is why we head down just west of where you are every couple of years.

Enjoy and keep us posted on the April weather in Florida!