Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lazy Weekend Flight around FL

With a quiet weekend and not much going on, it was the perfect time to do some flightseeing and some air photography experimenting this weekend.  As many of you know, I just got my first Mac this weekend and I was looking for some photos/videos to experiment with.  Being a bit of an IT Geek and a PC user since forever, it was quite a traumatic decision to get a Mac. 

But I am relieved to say that it was really painless.  Within no time, it just "felt" natural.  So this is my first post from the new machine.  But hopefully, as I explore some of the Mac tools like iPhoto, iMovie, etc, you will notice an improvement in the quality of my blog entries soon.

So let me tell you about today's flight...

Today was a beautiful day in general.  But there were a couple of "less than ideal" conditions.  First, it was windy.  The ATIS @ VDF announced winds 110@11 gusting to 16.  Second, there were multiple scattered and broken cloud decks.  While I was on the ground, these didn't concern me much.  But, once airborne, it was a different story.  I took off on runway 5, headed east (as I have done hundreds of times before).  I climbed to ~ 2500 FT, then turned around and called Tampa Approach to request a clearance into Class B airspace.  I wanted to get some pictures of Tampa International and downtown Tampa.  I got cleared to 3500 and was supposed to overfly the east/west runway.  This is a standard clearance that Tampa Approach often issues, so it was not a surprise.  
However, as I began to climb, the clouds didn't really cooperate and I quickly realized I would be unable to maintain VFR legally.  So I called ATC and asked them for an IFR clearance.  They were happy to oblige and gave me something they called a "local IFR" clearance.  I had never heard of a "local IFR" clearance... But was thrilled to get one!! The controller was not very busy today and was VERY cooperative.  
So I overflew TPA airport and passed downtown entirely in the clouds.  (So much for those pictures!)  Shortly after I passed the airport westbound, the clouds totally cleared and I was greeted by a fantastic view of Clearwater Beach.  As soon as I cleared the clouds, ATC offered to cancel my IFR and continue with VFR flight following.  I happily accepted, turned on the Sirius radio, and enjoyed the view the rest of the way to Venice.  From that point on, I started taking pictures. You can see some of the pix for yourself in the Picasa web album at the end of this post.  

As I got close to Venice, I was surprised to hear that I was SLOWEST airplane in the vicinity.  This often happens when I go to a big airport.  But rarely, when I go to an uncontrolled field.  On this day, there was a Citation X jet directly in front of me on the GPS 13 approach, a Meridian waiting to takeoff, and 2 other King Airs nearby.  :-(   In fact, one of the planes even referred to me as the "little, bitty Cirrus" on final.  Venice was also a bit windy.  But luckily the wind was lined up nicely to runway 13.  I videoed the landing and plan to do some editing tricks on the new Mac later this week b4 posting on Youtube later this week.  After a bite at the always entertaining Honoluana Grill, it was time to head home.  On the way home, the clouds cooperated a bit more and I was even able to get those pix of TPA and Tampa downtown!

Hope you enjoy the pix! 

== T.J.==


  1. Great shots! I have a friend who lives in Clearwater and have yet to visit, now I know how it looks :)

  2. Thanks! ... My pix don't even do it justice... It is a must see (from the air and the ground)!!

  3. ....referred to me as the "little, bitty Cirrus", you're way nicer than response would have been but I'm flying MY plane, who you driving that shuttle bus for?

    I read a good post about the same thing and the single engine response was if the big iron pilots kept making landings like that he would make another plane out of the spare parts....or something to that effect.

    Great phot's as always...oh to be in the south where it's warm and still green!

  4. gr8 response Gary... (Have to remember that for next time) ... BTW, next time might happen tomorrow. I am doing an Angel Flight into a Jacksonville International, where I will surely be the smallest plane in the vicinity. Will tell u all about it tomorrow night.

  5. TJ... having trouble logging in with my Yahoo acct but will hopefully get that fixed... anyway I wanted to again wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and again say thanks for the ride from Destin to Jax. Very smooth and had great company along the way. Found out I am back to TX in about 60 days and will be calling AFSE so maybe we can hook up again... I am up for a detour to OK to help you knock down a green state lol.... Hey not sure how your pics turned out but I got a really nice snap of the tail and plane with the sun off the nose so if I can figure out how to post I will...



  6. Mark,

    My pleasure! (I may take you up on that OK detour)

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

    == T.J.==


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