Thursday, September 25, 2014

KLRO - Return Trip

A line of demarcation
It is amazing how dependent we have become on cell phone technology. In addition to all of the useful flight planning apps, its just the simple things like texting and making phone calls from any location that have escalated it from luxury to a necessity. Fortunately I did bring along my laptop and Nexus tablet, but for scouting out a new area nothing beats a smart phone.

The weekend weather was lousy. Rain, wind and low overcast most of the time. I finally saw the sunset Saturday night. Early Sunday morning I checked my laptop for the weather and saw a lot of red dots along the coast. However west of my track was all green. It was like my flight plan was the dividing line between good and bad weather. The forecaster recommended that it was NOT suitable for VFR. (However he also suggested I consider going west around the SFRA should I decide to go anyway.)

I could really smell the paper mills on my drive to the airport. Crossing over the bay on I526 I guessed the visibility to be greater than 6 miles. No ceiling or noticeable winds, it looked very VFR. Without my GPS I made a few wrong turns and was a bit worried about finding my way back to the airport. I thought some landmarks looked familiar, or maybe I just wanted them to be. Finally I saw the green airport sign on US17 and in a few minutes I passed through the gate and drove out to Sally. All was well.

As I finished the preflight 3 Globe Swifts taxied out to the runway. Just a beautiful flight of three, probably departing for their monthly breakfast get together. A good day for it.

Sally and I took off and contacted Charleston Approach for Flight Following. Smooth air, no clouds, good visibility, we stayed at 3500'.  Soon Charleston cancelled and advised me to contact Myrtle Beach. I found a Kind bar and a small bottle of orange juice and settled in for the journey.

A note on ADSB. I attached the unit to my tablet and started the Garmin Pilot app. It works well for weather, not so well for traffic. There are still too many planes it just doesn't pick up. I was thankful for Flight Following as they pointed out traffic on four separate occasions and once near Richmond, had me make a course correction to avoid traffic. Traffic I never saw...and neither did the ADSB. I'm spoiled with my 696. I didn't like the extra clutter in the cockpit required by this portable system Perhaps when I make it a permanent installation I'll be more of a fan but for now I'll fly without it.

Both systems had 'green' returns along my route, but as I flew into the area all I saw was clear blue with a high thin cirrus layer. Its not often I get to fly when the weather is better than the forecast.

Halifax–Northampton Regional Airport (KIXA) is a public use airport located eight nautical miles south of the central business district of Roanoke Rapids, a city in Halifax County, North Carolina. It is a new airport and could become home to a factory built LSA (Allegro) Right now it is very quiet. As I pulled up to the pumps the airport manager came by to see if I needed any assistance. We chatted as I fueled (15.3 gallons @ $5.79). This is a beautiful airport and I recommend it for a fuel stop.

We climbed back up to 3500' and I decided it was lunch time: Snapple and a granola bar. I checked in with Washington Center and listened to the traffic flying overhead. (Hello Gary! - Gary's Flight Journal). We took the east side around the SFRA and landed at Quakertown a little bit ahead of schedule.

A beautiful Sunday to fly.

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