Saturday, June 25, 2011

State #37 (NE) and Missouri River Flooding

On the way back from Sioux Falls, the weather once again played a factor in my route.  I needed to leave SD before the storms arrived and I was also hoping to hit one more state on the way.  

I was heading to Lexington, KY and found a routing through Omaha that worked perfectly:
On the way to Omaha, I noticed a very unusually shaped TFR (temporary flight restriction), which is the red outlined area in the picture below:
At first I wasn't sure what to make of this .... Then I realized that this TFR was over the sections of the Missouri River that were experiencing some major flooding.  The TFR was surface to 4000 FT.  I overflew most of it and saw how just how bad it was first hand:

Omaha, which is right on the Missouri River near the Iowa border, was also affected by the floods.  The airport was still open despite flooded areas adjacent to several taxiways. 

After landing, I jumped into a crew car and headed to the Hollywood Diner.  It was simple, regular diner food.  But it did have some unusual decor.  The whole place is decorated like a 1950s diner with tinsel town memorabilia in every wall, ceiling and corner.
The final leg of the journey was from Omaha to Lexington.  This part of the journey was smooth and uneventful.  Even had a moderate tailwind most of the way.

== T.J.==

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Angel Flight "on the way home"

It has been quite a while since my last Angel Flight.  Over the past month, I checked the AF website each week for a suitable mission that would fit into my schedule.  Nothing came even close.

But this week I found one that worked!  It was sort of "on the way".  I was in Tennessee on business and I was heading home to Tampa.  The mission was to transport a cancer patient who lived near Knoxville to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for treatment.  You can see the route home on the left.

The patient was a young lady named Kristin, who was fighting a rare form of cancer called carcinoid cancer.  She needed some very specialized care that is only available in a few places in the country.

After a brief introduction and preflight on the ground, we took off from Knoxville Airport into some beautiful weather.  Knoxville has mountains directly to the southeast.  While the mountains are not very big, they are certainly enough to affect your flight path.  As a result, ATC cleared us for an initial climb heading southwest.  After we got to our cruising altitude of 11000 FT, we were cleared direct to our destination.  The altitude was just perfect.  There were occasional clouds below us and around us.  But we had a smooth ride and some great views along the way.

While Kristin has taken Angel flights before, this was her first time sitting in the copilot seat.  As you can see from the picture below, she was "drinking in the scenery".  

On a couple of occasions, we flew through some very light clouds, which she seemed to particularly enjoy.  

After a "quick turn" @ Sky Harbor Aviation, the last 150NM leg was a fairly straight shot (except for those pesky military airspaces that I had to fly around).  Overall, it was a very smooth trip and really "on my way home"!

Hopefully, I can find more missions that are "on the way" soon!

== T.J.==