Thursday, August 11, 2011

Migration 9 Trip Summary

I have finally arrived in Colorado Springs and the journey was quite amazing!

It is hard to summarize a 4200 mile trip.   (But here goes...)

Some of it what was "as expected " ; Some of it reinforced how flexible you need to be on a journey like this. 
Between weather, customs formalities, spotty radar, icing, even the exact route was not as planned.  You can see the "planned vs actual" route below:

The blue line was the planned route.  The magenta line was the actual route.  As you can see, I tried to follow my plan.  But needed to make lots of adjustments along the way.

On my first leg from Tampa to Hopkinsville, KY, the weather in the picture below forced me to do an enroute diversion to Shelbyville,TN:

I landed and topped off minutes before it started pouring!

After the storm passed, I continued to Sioux Falls, SD where I did my first overnight.
The next day started mostly as planned Sioux Falls,SD > Bismarck, ND > Glasgow, MT.

As I made my final Preparations to enter Canadian airspace, the Canadian authorities (Canpass) informed me that the Kamloops customs was "Closed for the day" So I had to pick an alternate destination and chose Kelowna, British Columbia.

With a new destination, I entered Canadian airspace for the first time to find more surprises. While crossing the Rockies, Edmonton ATC informed me that radar coverage would be "lost over the
 Rockies", which was not very comforting!  They gave me a frequency and told me to "try calling Vancouver" in ~ 30-45 minutes.

Luckily, the weather was good and of course the view over the Rockies was breathtaking.
(I am still trying to sort through the pix to make a Picassa album.)

Kelowna turned out to be a wonderful destination.  The  airport is rather  unique due to the terrain.  It is in a valley, which causes you to fly an unusual approach with a fairly steep descent. (Still working on editing that video)
The next day I flew to Ketchikan, Alaska, which was a very challenging flight.   Canadian ATC instructions/phraseology is just a little different than the US.  But I managed several surprise instructions and even a last minute approach change and had an incredible landing, which is shown in the video below:

After that landing (and enjoying Alaskan hospitality and seafood), I thought that Ketchikan would be the highlight of the journey.  But after a couple of more states, the real highlight of the trip materialized in Leadville, CO.  Lake County Airport in Leadville, CO is the highest airport in North America @ 9927 MSL.  I landed there on a precision approach with a "circle to land" into an 18 KT headwind Gusting to 28 KTs, (Perhaps NOTmy most elegant landing... But certainly  one of the most difficult and satisfying landings I had done in a long time.  

As you can see from the pic below, they really do issue certificates for landing there!!
After Leadville, a short 20 minute flight to Colorado Springs and I was warmly greeted by the staff of Colorado Jet Center.  So after this incredible journey, I am now ready for the main event (Migration 9), which is scheduled to start tomorrow morning.

== T.J.==

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