Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Angel Flight of the year

With year end fast approaching, I have been wondering if there was time to squeeze in one last Angel Flight in this year...

Then late last week, while scouring the AFSE website, I "found" one that was just right. (Shorter than my usual Angel Flight, but very convenient from a schedule perspective.)

The mission was to transport a teenager, named Sean, who just finished his latest round of treatment at Shriner's Children's Hospital in Tampa, back home to the East Coast of FL.  Like every Angel Flight passenger I have taken, Sean had a great attitude despite having to overcome some pretty major physical challenges.  He leads a totally normal high school freshman life and seems to take things in stride.
For me, this mission was a simple trip from my home base Tampa Executive airport to Lantana airport in West Palm Beach, FL.  This was a very short trip of ~ 150 miles, which is usually under an hour, as long as traffic, ATC and weather cooperate.

Today the weather was somewhat strange.  Visibility was great... There was no precip between Tampa and West Palm Beach.  However, there was a solid cloud deck between 5k-6k FT.  So, I filed IFR under the Angel Flight call sign for 7000 FT.  I didn't realize at the time what a perfect altitude 7K was.  After climbing to 7000, we literally skimmed the cloud tops the whole way along our relatively direct route.  See for yourself:

It was quite scenic.  Around Lake Okeechobee, ATC cleared us down to 3000.  After breaking through the cloud deck we canceled IFR ~ 20 miles out.  Winds were favoring runway 15 and the traffic pattern was surprisingly busy with 3 other planes practicing in the pattern.  You can see how we squeezed into this pattern in the video below:

As you may notice, I am still experimenting with good spots in the plane to mount the camera... Much like flying, I am noticing that taking good aerial photos/videos also takes practice.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

== T.J.==

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