Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scenic trip to Cedar Key

This morning I woke up and  looked outside to find typical weather for FL.  Sunshine as far you could see ; Clear blue sky ; AND a perfect day to go flying!  After my recent CPPP training, I have been sufficiently brainwashed into treating every flight as an opportunity to practice something.

So this morning, I decided to practice short field landings @ Cedar Key Airport, which is a small island airport just west of Ocala.  For a civilian pilot like me, who will likely never get to land on an aircraft carrier, this is as close as I will get.  As you can see in the Google map below, the sole runway  5/23 has water on both ends!

In addition to having a 2300 FT runway, which is short 4 me, they also have NO instrument approaches!  As many of you know, my comfort zone is IFR in Class B airport environments.  So going to Cedar Key was perfect for today!  This gave me a scenic place to fly and gave me some practice outside of my normal comfort zone.

After an uneventful preflight, I departed VFR @ ~ 9AM.  With the music on, I stayed under Tampa's class B airspace and flew westbound first till I got to the coast.  Then, miraculously without GPS,  I followed the coastline northbound and didn't get lost!  During the entire journey, I didn't even talk to ATC!! 

Before attempting Cedar Key, I wanted to practice a landing first on a longer runway.  So I did a "stop and go" @ Crystal River Airport.  The runway there was about double the length of Cedar Key.  Since I handled that with no problem, I felt ready for Cedar Key.

I easily found Cedar Key Airport but felt almost distracted as I approached for landing.  I was trying to concentrate on airspeed and attitude, while I kept getting distracted by sights out the window.  But other than the distractions, the landing was quite easy with calm winds and no surprises. You can see the landing for yourself in the video below:

After I landed and found a place to park, I realized how small the place was.  There is no fuel, no services and only about half a dozen parking spots on the tarmac and a another half dozen in the grass.  I didn't even see an FBO terminal.  Instead of an FBO, I was greeted on the radio when I was about 5 miles out by a very friendly cab driver/ tour guide named Judy.  She drove her car right up the taxiway and picked me up next to my plane. 

She showed me around the island a bit, which only takes a few minutes because it is so small.  Then suggested a quaint little place for brunch.  After a quick bite, I took off again and circled around the island to get some more pictures before going home.

You can see a few of them, in the slide show below:


1 comment:

  1. i flew there in c172 couple of months back. small quiet fishing island. Enjoyed the ride from plant city.



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