Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tough Start To A VERY EZ Journey

This week's mission was to go from Tampa,FL to Danbury, CT, which is a perfect mission for an SR22 with one fuel stop.  

Surprisingly, the weather forecast was beautiful everywhere along the route except Florida.  Usually, it is the other way around.  So I was expecting a takeoff in moderate / heavy rain, which is OK.  (I don't mind rainy takeoffs.)  But I was dreading the preflight in the rain.  

I left the plane in the hanger while I did all the usual checks.  At this point, one of the Tampa Exec line guys (Nathan), really went out of his way to help me and made the preflight as good as it could have gotten under the circumstances. 

After fuel and oil, Nathan towed me out of the hanger with me sitting nice and dry in the cockpit! Just when I thought the service couldn't get any better,  Nathan parked my car in the hanger, closed the hanger door and brought me my keys!!!

As I sat in the cockpit getting ready to startup, I was feeling really spoiled. 

Then a dose of reality struck...

While trying to start up, I must have used a bit too much primer and flooded the engine.  Ugh!!

As I have mentioned before, starting an SR22 is a bit of an art.  Even after a 1000 Cirrus hours, I still feel my starts are less than elegant.  Usually, it is only tricky with hot starts....But for the first time, I screwed up a perfectly normal, cold start.

After waiting ~ 20 mins, I tried again with much better results.  The plane growled and came to life right away!

The takeoff was exactly as advertised on the ATIS, which meant heavy rain, low ceilings and a generally bumpy climb out. 

Since I already posted a very similar YouTube video of a rainy takeoff, I didn't even bother setting up the video equipment this time.

During the climb-out, the weather onscreen looked awful:

But by the time I leveled off @ 17000 FT, I was above all the rain and clouds.  The rest of the trip to NC was totally smooth with not a single cloud or bump!  In fact, ATC was so quiet, I did a few radio checks just to make sure the radios were working.  I could have really used a flight attendant serving drinks and an in flight movie ;-)

As I approached Duplin County, the Wilmington Approach ATC controller also went out of his way to help me.  He asked " Where was I going after getting fuel @ KDPL? And did I want an onward clearance?"

This shocked me! He gave me a full clearance, including a squawk code and a frequency for my second leg.  I thanked him, cancelled my flight plan, and made a very easy landing in NC in calm winds and 10 miles visibility.

After fuel and a quick turn, my next leg was even smoother and in clear, blue skies.

Washington center laughed at my direct routing and gave me  a typical Northeast clearance with 3 victor airways and 6 fixes.  Luckily it was close to a direct routing and the weather was so nice, I didn't notice the time go by.

Cape May, NJ
As I was on final approach into Danbury, I got some great views of the Hudson River and even the IBM office in Somers, NY, which you can see below:
Hudson River
IBM Somers Office
So what started out as a tough journey ended up being extremely easy!

The weather forecast does not look as promising for the trip home ... 

Hmmm... Might need to take a creative detour home!

== T.J.==

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