Tuesday, June 21, 2011

State #36 (SD) and Weather Detour

The plan was elegantly simple! (Direct from Tampa to Sioux Falls, SD).  As you can see in the clip below, this is what the flight plan looked like in my head:
Then I started the real flight planning and realized that it wasn't quite that easy!

First, I realized it is ~ 1200 miles, which means I would need a stop for fuel.  Since I started using the Foreflight app on the Ipad, this part was easy.  Type in the route and Foreflight shows you a map with a fuel price overlay ... This is the coolest software feature I have seen in awhile... (It even works when you are in the air!)

Second, I checked ATC routes, which didn't really change my plans at all. (There were no preferred ATC routes along this route.) 
Then I checked weather and that's when things got interesting... There was a front passing right through my direct route. 

I thought I was being clever by timing my departure so that I would reach my fuel stop in Paris, TN just after the front passed.  As you can see from the picture below, this part worked:
After some self serve fuel and a break, I checked the weather again.  This time there was a line of some nasty weather directly in my path to Sioux Falls.  I was planning to "wait" for a couple of hours to let it pass.

While I waited, I was reading the digital version of the AOPA Pilot magazine on the iPad and came across an article about an interesting restaurant at the Wichita Mid Continent airport called the Hanger One Steakhouse.   When I looked at the map, flying to Sioux Falls via Wichita avoided all the nasty colors on the map (including the turbulence airmets and convective sigmets).

Sooooo I quickly filed IFR, did a "hot start" on the Cirrus and was off on my detour.  You can see the inflight weather and how nicely it worked out below.  I think I found the only smooth route in the entire area.

While I did successfully miss most of the bad weather, it was very hot and windy in Wichita.  The METAR shown below gives you an idea of just how hot and windy it was:

After a tough, gusty landing, I felt like I got a sunburn just walking from the plane to the terminal.

But the detour was worth the trip.  Hanger One, which is in a control tower shaped building, is a "must visit" for any pilot.  Aside from the obvious aviation history and decor on the walls, the waitresses where various types of pilot uniforms and even the music is from aviation movies. But the coolest part was the furniture, some of which was made from airplane parts.  Here's a table made out of a Pratt & Whitney engine:

After a great meal, it was time for the last leg from Wichita to Sioux Falls.  Because of full fuel and a 100 degrees, the plane was VERY sluggish in the climb.  I struggled to maintain to 700fpm climb and had the A/C full blast until ~ 8000FT.

Eventually, I reached the 36th state!

Instead of the weather causing unwanted delays, on this trip, it enabled a scenic detour that made the journey even more memorable!



  1. Wow, that fuel price feature looks awesome! Don't think I'll ever hop on the iPad wagon until I get my IR and have a need to carry so many charts, but they do seem nice.

    Nice flying and trip reporting as always. :)

  2. Excellent write up and pictures. That Cirrus gathers no dust, you always have her flying!

    +1 for the iPad and foreflight, great products for aviation.

  3. Thanks Gary & Steve! A wise mechanic once told me the "best" maintenance a plane can have is to be flown often... (I am just trying to follow his advice!)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...