Monday, January 24, 2011

Trip to TX

The trip to Houston this past Sunday happened "almost" as planned.  On the one hand, it reaffirmed my flight planning/route selection process.  But on the other hand, it reinforced the need for flexible plans enroute.   when I was getting ready to depart, I thought the weather was "perfect".  Shortly after takeoff the visibility (and views) were great:
While there was not a cloud in the sky, something just didn't feel right...  After reaching a cruising altitude of 16k, I noticed what it was.  There was a nasty 50+ knot headwind.  See what I mean:

Despite a true airspeed of 186 @ 75% power, my groundspeed was hovering ~ 140 knots!  At this rate, the 2hr planned leg would surely be much longer.  But what can you do?  "Nothing!" I concluded other than "Plan B", which is just find some good music and relax...  Unfortunately, the satellite radio had its own plans.  After about 10 mins of flipping channels and not finding anything, I resorted to Plan C: Iphone4 plugged into Aux input of the Zulu headset:
It was at this point, I discovered a really cool feature of the Zulus... When ATC speaks on the frequency, the Zulus do NOT mute the music.  Instead, it reduces the volume by 80%.  This may not sound all that significant.  But I found it to be such much more pleasant than the typical hard mute!  After a much longer than planned flight, I landed in Bay Minette, AL for lunch and a break and then went on to Houston.  Thankfully, the headwinds were  quite tame for the 2nd leg!  But since I was running, I ended up skipping Galveston.  Maybe I will stop there on the way home...  (Even better maybe I can ride a massive tailwind home!)

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