Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rest Stop #1

The boys are 4.8 hours into ferrying Mike Hotel from San Diego to the Home Base in Ohio. Currently, MS and AW (obligatory CFI) are sleeping on the lounge chairs in the pilot lounge/personal residence of the fine proprietors of Blue Feather Aviation at Dona Ana County Airport (5T6), Santa Teresa, NM.

The day began with an early morning launch from Gillespie Field, which included a battle with the thick morning stratus. The IFR Pilot had all of .4 hours in 2MH when he launched into the scud in complicated airspace with a departure procedure that included a minimum climb gradient. I, for one, was sweating bullets until, .3 of an hour later, we were on top, smack in the middle of V6, headed for Chandler Arizona. We're giving a shout-out to SoCal Approach, who helped us quite a bit, by giving us a 360 climbing turn while still in the vicinity of Gillespie, so that we could clear the terrain.

You might be able to see just a bit of it on this graphic from Flight Aware:

Here's a picture of us and the scud:

While the IFR Pilot and AW did the work, here's what MS did:

We landed in Chander 2.3 hours after takeoff, and the IFR Plot managed an acceptable landing, if a bit firm. Not bad for only the third landing in this fantastic bird.

Overall performance wasn't too crummy, given that we're just about at max gross and the air temperature at 9000 was 55 degrees F. In other words, well, well above standard.

After a quick fill up to the tabs, MS took charge and logged his first few hours in 2MH. We made a beeline for 5T6, managing to dodge a variety of SUAs along the way. One of them was R-5115, which consists of a tethered balloon up to 15,000 feet MSL. Unfortunately, the IFR Pilot's digital camera wouldn't pick it up, so we've got no picture for you.

We chose 5T6 because it is has one of the longest runways in this area. The airport elevation is 4116 MSL, and temperatures are running pretty high. But the runway is something like 8500 feet, so we're pretty sure we can bust on out of here at any time.

But really, why challenge the desert in the middle of the day. So we're chillin' like villians, and will blast off around 6:00 p.m. local. That should put us in Lubbock, TX, just in time to hit the town for a bit of trouble making.

Here's a view of the terrain surrounding 5T6. Pretty much your archetypical scrubland:

Stay tuned for further updates!

1 comment:

Big Country said...

Congratulations on getting out of Gillespie! I told you the layer might be a challenge!

Fly safe,