Friday, August 17, 2012

Angel Flight to Stuart

It has been a while since my last Angel Flight mission.  In fact, I don't remember exactly when the last one was.  So today after work, I decided to fix that by transporting a Moffitt patient (Mendis) and her daughter (Carmen) from Tampa to Stuart, which is on the east coast of FL.  

The weather in Tampa wasn't looking very cooperative and I was seriously thinking of scrubbing the mission.  You can see why in the picture below:
But mother nature smiled on us.  The weather cleared about 30 minutes prior to our scheduled departure time and we didn't even get wet as we boarded.

Approximately half of the flight was in rain and solid IMC.
But Carmen's preflight prayer really seemed to work.  Despite the rain, we had a totally smooth ride and listened to music the whole way.

As we got closer to Stuart we had some good news and some bad news.  

The good news- Stuart was dry so we would be able disembark in comfort.

The bad news-Stuart was surrounded by nasty weather, which made for a windy, bumpy approach.

We flew the RNAV 12 approach with a circle to land on runway 30.  I felt like I was wrestling  with the a 23 knot gusty winds the whole way down!

But as you can we were dry when we landed!
Mendis, Me and Carmen

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Recurrent Training and a rough trip home

This past weekend I went to Atlanta to visit an old friend (Bill) and to do some recurrent instrument training with one of my regular instructors (Trip) of Adventure Flight Training.

On the way up to Atlanta On Saturday, I had a pretty challenging flight dodging weather and landing into KRYY with a  900 FT ceiling.  
You can for yourself, in the video clip below:

But that seemed like just a warm up for the instrument work that Trip and I did the next day.  I was able to capture quite a bit of good video footage, which I hope to edit/ polish into some clean R9 instructional videos. 

But the real drama of the journey turned out to be the ride home.  First, there was a massive line of weather that was directly in my way.

This required a detour to the east over jacksonville.  Then I noticed the engine seemed to be riding a bit rougher and hotter than normal :-(

At first, I was not very concerned, and I just flew a little slower (65% power) to be safe. Then it started to sound worse and the #3 cylinder seemed dropped off of EGT gauge altogether! 

Now I was getting a little concerned.  Luckily, I was at 17500 FT, which meant I had plenty of time to figure out what to do.  I told the controller I was experiencing a rough riding engine but did not declare an emergency.  Instead, I slowed down even more (~45% power) and stayed as high as I could for as long as I could.   Finally, when I was about 80 miles from destination, I pulled the power to idle and began a steep descent. 

I landed using as little power as possible.  While it was not a true emergency, I definitely did breathe a huge sigh of relief as I taxied directly to the maintenance hanger!

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