Thursday, April 24, 2008

Buffalo. Again.

The work gods saw fit to dispatch the IFR Pilot back to Buffalo for the umpteenth time in the last few months. So, after rising at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to fly to Columbus for the ORBAA meeting, your faithful narrator was up at 5:00 a.m. and out the door at 5:45 this morning for a 6:30 launch for Buffalo.

MS, faithful co-pilot that he was, decided to accompany. It was, after all, the beautiful CAVU day and who wants to spend such a glorious day cooped up in a downtown office building when you can be in Buffalo? Well, at least the Anchor Bar, home of the original chicken wing is in Buffalo!

Court was convening at 9:00 a.m., and there's no being late when you've been summoned by a federal judge. Thus, the 20 knot headwind that we stumbled upon at our cruise altitude of 4000 feet was most unwelcome. Even after we climbed to 6000 feet, we barely saw the ground speed exceed 100 knots. In fact, I think the highest we saw until we descended was 104 knots. That sure makes for a long, long trip to Buffalo.

The Garmin 496, mounted in a new fully articulable mount that MS scored from Aircraft Spruce, showed an arrival time of 8:28 a.m. That was cutting it close. Our descent at 140 knots shaved a couple of minutes off things, but then we were confounded by ATC. Although winds were calm, the traffic was landing runway 23. So, even though we were set up perfectly for a direct to runway 5, approach sent us around to runway 14.

The IFR Pilot made a nice landing on 14, we made the first turnoff to taxiway Q, and were at Prior Aviation by 8:30. They were kind enough to have driven the rental car onto the ramp. So we jumped in and sped for downtown Buffalo. The traffic demons were at rest, and MS dropped the IFR Pilot off at the federal courthouse with 10 minutes to spare. Perfect!!!

Several grueling hours later, boosted by a "healthy" lunch at Chili's, we were back at Prior Aviation. A little friend was waiting for us on the ramp:

Departing VFR, shortly we caught sight of something we hadn't noticed before: Apparently, there is a windmill farm just south of downtown Buffalo. We've got one of these in downtown Cleveland at the Great Lakes Science Center, but it was neat to see several of them in a row:

Turning southwest, we enjoyed a nice 140 knot ground speed all the way to the Home Base. MS did one of the few things at which he is especially talented:

Oh well, at least he wasn't bitching at me about leaning the mixture or listening to "crappy music." Truly, he's delightful company in the cockpit of Mike Hotel.

Tomorrow calls for a 7:00 a.m. blast off, with Nashville as the destination. The justification? Attending the 2008 Aviation Insurance Association meeting/conference. There's some weather headed this way, so we'll see if perhaps an early start will help us avoid cumulonimbus buildups that are sure to afflict the route by the afternoon.


Pilot In Command said...

Flying into KBNA? It's a pretty nice airport, I've been in and out a few times myself. I'm a private pilot working on my ratings at Middle Tennessee State University just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro.
If you're looking for a cool pace to eat in Nashville, try Cafe Coco in the downtown area.
Enjoy your stay! Smooth landings,


eric said...

I read your captions out of order and momentarily thought the 'windmill farm' was referring to the Black Hawk. :)

Looks like you're keeping busy with some quality cross country time. How's the Arrow treating you long-term? Thinking back I really enjoyed the time I spent training in the R-201... I just wish it actually had 201 horsepower!