Tuesday, October 26, 2010

East Coast Journey (Going Home)

Seven new states, and 5 IMC hours later, it was time to go home.  The journey home involved a stop in Frederick, MD (state #32).  Here is what the final route flown looked like:

Since I needed to stop in MD, it was only natural to stop @ FDK.  I was hoping to squeeze in visit to the AOPA headquarters and also meet a fellow pilot, whose blog I really enjoy.

But getting to FDK was NOT an ez task.  There was a pesky 40-50 knot headwind the whole way there!
Note the 43 knot headwind @ 10000 FT
 But it was a good excuse to use the the new GPS Z approach to runway 23.  I had read about GPS Z approaches, which are the latest/greatest precision WAAS approaches with LPV.  But I had not seen one in person.
Surprisingly, the missed approach goes into the DCADIZ
So that approach led to another soggy landing (and the 4th landing in the rain during this trip!) 

But the stop was definitely worth it!  I did get to meet up with a fellow pilot blogger, Toriaflys  If you haven't checked out her blog yet, I suggest you take a peek (it's really quite good).

While at Frederick, I also took a tour of the AOPA headquarters.  I already knew what a great organization AOPA was.  However, Silvana Cannon, one of the AOPA staffers, showed me some of the behind the scenes "machinery" that makes this organization tick.  Now I am even more impressed!

After FDK, the trip home should have been rather uneventful.  The weather forecast was very good and hopefully all that IMC was behind me.  I donned the cannula and was cleared up to 16k (where the really good views are)... See for yourself:

 The plan was a quick fuel stop @ Homerville, GA and a short final leg back to Tampa.  Unfortunately, the city of Homerville (and it's mayor) has truly ignored it's airport.  When I arrived it was an absolute ghost town.  There was not a single person or plane there and they didn't even have fuel!!  Apparently, the fuel pumps were out of order.  Even the runway was in shabby condition.  But being the eternal optimist that I am, I made "lemonade" out of this lemon stop.  Even though it was deserted and locked, their wireless worked from my Iphone on their front porch.  As a result, I was at least able to catch up on calls/emails in relative comfort.  Then I took a quick 20 mile flight to Valdosta, where I was able to satisfy both the plane's thirst and my hunger.  Then finally a quick VFR trip home to Tampa:
Mission accomplished! Just in time for dinner!!
Overall, the journey has really put my piloting skills to the test (both in the air and even on the ground).  Can't wait to start planning the next batch of states!!!

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