Sunday, July 24, 2005

Day 16 Summary

The day began with a surprise. We arrived at Eau Claire Airport, but were unable to locate 78S. It was one of those Twilight Zone moments. I know I tied my plane down here yesterday; where is it now???

I walked inside and politely inquired, "Ummm, hi. Have you seen my plane, 3978S?" After a moment, the nice folks at Heartland Aviation indicated that they had hangared it last night to make room on the ramp. Whew, that's a relief.

While they were retrieving 78S from her evening's lodgings, we surveiled the damage at the airport. As you will recall, we delayed launching east due to severe storms. Well, that was an excellent decision, if I do say myself, given the fury with which the storm whipped through EAU. Apparently, it didn't last long. But, according to the line guy, this happened with the first gust of the storm:

In case you can't interpret this photo, the scrap lying on the left side of the hangar is the former hangar door. It was blown right off from its cables.

The storm also extracted a tool on this Aero Commander, which couldn't be moved into a hangar in time to save it:

While it doesn't necessarily look bad, the flexing and bowing of the struts necessary to inflict the damage that you see to the fairings is probably indicative of severe stresses on the airframe that may exceed permissible tolerances. Sucks to be the owner of that airplane.

Anyway, we couldn't launch early as there was a pretty good overcast sitting on top of the airport. Some of the other folks that were also heading to Oshkosh weren't going anywhere, either. I figured I'm not necessarily smarter or a better pilot than any of them, so as long as they wait, I wait.

A couple of hours later -- after properly inspecting and testing the Pilot's Lounge -- we followed the other folks out of EAU. I tried to maintain VFR below the clouds, but at 2500 MSL, we were pretty close to the terrain. In fact, there's a huge tower about 20-25 miles SSE of EAU that reaches up to over 3000 MSL. After flying for about 20 miles this way, I decided that enough is enough.

Putting on my most professional pilot voice, I radioed ATC.

"Minneapolis Center, 78S with a request."

"78S, say request."

"78S requests IFR clearance direct to Appleton. Clouds are pretty bad down here, we'd like to try on top."

After confirming that I was IFR rated and the plane IFR equipped, we were cleared direct to Appleton at 6000 MSL. (Someone else called in shortly after, saying basically, "I'd like the same thing as that other Skyhawk." Good for him, but hey, never be afraid to ask for a pop-up IFR clearance. The worst they could say is no. If ATC had refused me the pop-up, I just would have gone back to EAU and filed there.)

We climbed for a couple of minutes, finding the tops at around 4800. We cruised on top, with a groundspeed that went from 92 knots below to over 120 above. Plus, it was nothing but clear blue skies up there:

About 30 miles out, I was told to descend to 5000. Appleton was reporting clear below 5000, and so I was told to expect the visual. No problem there.

After a couple minutes at 5000, I asked for 4000, thinking that would get us below and I could cancel IFR. I didn't want to clog up arrivals into Appleton by staying on the IFR clearance. ATC told me to expect lower in about 4 miles.

Just as advised, a few miles later, I was told to descend to 3000 at pilot's discretion and fly heading 090, vector for the right base to Runway 21. I complied, and we broke out at 4200. I gave Green Bay Approach at quick pirep of the bases.

Switched over to Appleton, they cleared me to land on 21. Then, they asked if I wanted 29, which was better for the prevailing winds. Fine by me. I was told to report midfield downwind for a right-hand landing on runway 29. Can't tell you the last time I made a right hand pattern. Again, not a problem, just haven't done one in a while.

It was getting busy at Appleton; there was an RV behind me, and a King Air inbound from the souteast. Tower told me to make a short approach. OK, now this is getting interesting.

Just past the numbers, I chopped the throttle, bled off the airspeed, dropped in the flaps, and charged down for the runway. I flared, planted her delicately on the runway, and made the first turnoff. How's that for helping out my fellow aviators?

We taxiied to parking, where there were already several dozen aircraft parked. Here's the IFR Pilot and Dadster proudly on the ground at Appleton:

Handsome devils, aren't we?

Look for a HUGE update tomorrow after we prowl the grounds at Oshkosh. Looks like we'll be home on Tuesday.

(Alas, we were unable to locate a DQ this afternoon. The IFR Pilot, however, using his reknowned oratorical skills managed to talk the waitress at Texas Roadhouse into giving the Dadster his ice cream fix....)


Anonymous said...


Susan said...

looking forward to a full report live and in person! Have a safe final day!

tüp bebek said...

Crianhas she helped me so much that one time when I will be stronger
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