LEG ONE- Lubbock (LBB) Direct Greenville Majors (GVT)
The alarm was set for 5:30 am the plane was packed and ready to go Thursday evening so all I had to do was preflight and go. I entered all the way points into the gps and called ground giving them my request for departure to the east, direct to GVT (Greenville Majors)with flight following. "Taxi to 17 right" was there reply. After a runup and a deep breath called tower and informed them ready for departure.
It was still dark with a little light direct ahead of me, Going to be tough when the sun breaks the horizon was my thought as I observed the airspeed at 172kts. As the sun came into view I was almost half way to DFW. Time to review TCA map. As I was handed off to Dallas approach requested to fly through airspace at 5500 in route to GVT. Instructed to maintain 5500 and continue on Course. Several flight advisories were given and the BIG boys were spotted a long way off (OSH it was not). 8 Tango Charlie Report Majors in sight. "Have the airport in sight." Contact tower on 118.65. Tower reported runway 17 cleared to land. Exit next taxiway and taxi to parking. no big deal flying through DFW airspace was my though as I Pulled mixture and it got quiet.
How may we help you was asked by the manager of the airport. "Top it off" fresh coffee inside. "Great" after helping with the fill up went inside to have the cup. and as the bill was figured looked in my flight bag for my credit card. "OOPS grabbed the wrong bag" went out to the plane to retrieve the right bag and to my surprise its not there. I had placed the wrong bag in the plane. all that was in this flight bag was a 12 pack of batteries and an adapter for my hand held gps. Where could my little flight bag be with my billfold, credit cards, address book and medical, pilots license be. Back inside the FBO asked if I could use the phone to make a long distance call "Sure." Called Mickey an got her voice mail and asked if she would look around the house and at the airport and in my truck to find the duplicate flight bag with all my good stuff in it and if not too much trouble to FED EX it to my Uncle Staves house so I would have it tomorrow. Hope she checks her voice mail . Guess this will be a cash sale, as the manager could not help but to overhear my one sided conversation with an answering machine. Gas $1.80 2.0 hrs,15.9 gal,292 miles. now on to leg two.LEG TWO. Greenville (GVT) Direct Vicksburg Tallulah Regional (TVR) . Leaving GVT wondered if FAA Would be at TVR just waiting to impound the plane as I had no license nor medical. The thought continued to haunt me. The sun was up a good bit by now. But still shown directly in front of me. the country side went by under the big high pressure that covered the whole southern U.S. from the rockies to the tip of Florida. It was starting to get warm even at 6500 ft but any higher and the haze would be hard to see through. Lots of air Hugs low along the Mississippi with an evaluation of 86. There are quite a lot of big bodies of water between Dallas and the Mississippi river which came into view sooner then I thought. And there it is TVR just before the River. a small airport with very friendly people.5002 long but didnt even use half the length. Quite a thrill making an approach and watching the old man river snake by underneath. Randy Woods the manager Was a private pilot with a lot of questions and Cheep Gas. Called Mickey to confirm previous message and was informed that FED EX guaranteed delivery by 3:30 the next day. We had a nice visit before I had to make like a baby and head out. Told Randy that I would be back through next week and to have the coffee ready. He assured me that it would be here and if not he would make it when he heard me On the Unicom.
Gas $2.29 14.3 Gal 1.9hrs.259 miles.
Leg 3 from Vicksburg Tallulah Rgnl (TVR) direct to Dothan Rgnl (DHN)
Over half way to Florida and it is just 11:30 Things are going well as flight following continues to be most cooperative. As I become airborne following the Big river for several miles, just for fun I see the Mississippi River fade in the distance get out my map and check on progress. lots of H in little circles along the flight path> I asked about theses with my friend Stan before I departed and discovered they are Army Heliports. Along the route there are many and listening to center there seemed to be hundreds of helicopters flying below me. Looking down there were many, maybe not a hundred but a bunch of them doing their stuff. Fort Rucker is nearby and a bunch of auxiliary and primary landing spots seam to fill the area. Several forest fires filled the shy with smoke which seemed to make the few clouds appear small in comparison. Seeing the forests being harvested and the replanting looked like corn fields. The pine trees planted all in a row was something I had never seen before. flying over Jackson was funny listening to the southern Draw that prevailed in this region. Glad I do not have a strong accent. On into Dothan regional (DHN) was a very easy part of the trip skirting a perfectly round restricted area. It was small so looking into the area saw many helicopters on the tarmac just sitting there waiting for pilots to takeoff and practice practice practice. Landing at DHN was a treat as I have never landed on such a steep upslope. Not much but more then I have ever landed on. The Service at this airport was exceptional. had a FAA office there so went in and introduced myself and asked if they knew anyone at the Lubbock office. Thought I might get a story on one of the men in this office and rib them a little. My thinking was that if I went to them they might not try and ramp check me and ask for my license or medical This is beginning to really bother me the farther I get from home. Steve the line man a private pilot was asking me all about the plane and how fast it cruses at, and stall speed, how much it cost, ECT, ECT, ECT. He said his wife is a pilot also and they have a 172 in partners with his father in-law. I asked if he ever considered building one and if he had ever flown in one. He said not really so I asked if he had time to go for a ride. I am ahead of schedule and would be glad to take him up. He said I got off work 20 min ago but hung around to visit with you. Let me get my headsets. We went around the pattern a couple of times and showed him a few things. When we Got back down he bought me a coke and we visited a few min. Cant wait to get home and tell my wife. We might just build us one. He stated as he rushed out the door.
Gas 16 gal $2.30 292 miles 2.1 hrs
Leg 4 Dothan Rgnl (DHN)to seminole vortac (SWZ)to Greenville Vortac (GEF)to Taylor Vortac (TAY) overfly keystone (42J) Kay Larkin (28J)to destination New Smyrna Beach Muni (EVB)
Dothan Ground, experimental 468 Tango Charlie ready to taxi. "Taxi runway 14". Dothan Tower Experimental 468 Tango Charlie ready for departure to the south east toward Tallahassee. "Cleared for takeoff". After a short distance down the runway I was airborne on the last leg of my adventure. Dont take long to get airborne at 400 msl. Climbed to 5500 in order to check out the country below. Still lots of water; lakes and rivers and the vegetation is green, not just green but a deep forest green. Tallahassee approach 8 Tango Charlie with you . "Yes." Enroute to SWZ then east to TAY. "Swak 4263".Continue on course. I left out the Greenville VOR as they are close and not but a 3 degree course change. This part of the trip brought me to the first swamp land. lots of little green lakes. Tallahassee handed me off to Cairns approach and stayed with them until reaching Jacksonville center. Cairns approach would like to descend to 3500. "No Traffic decent approved". at this altitude have a better view of the swamp land. and the very few private airports that show up on the gps but real hard to find looking for them. After passing TAY turn south again over more swamp land and pick up Atlanta center and they hand me off to Jacksonville and all of a sudden I become "garbled and unreadable" OK garbled and unreadable was my reply with just a touch of sarcasm. yeah right, oh well I could climb, then Ide loose the view due to the haze. I opted to stay low and a little bumpy for the view, instead of high and talking. Life is good.
"8 Tango Charlie how do you read now?" wow there calling me. loud and clear. "Just handed to me. where are you going?" Overfly Keystone and Palaka , to New Smyrna Beach. "Enjoy your stay". I will.Just skirting restricted air space make a small course change toward Palatka. Lots of water around here. Haze seems to be getting thicker. I strain my eyes looking to the east and yes it is there- the Ocean. Where is my camera got to get a picture. "8 Tango Charlie contact Daytona approach on 125.8" Wouldnt you know it. Click Click took a couple quick ones. "8 Tango Charlie contact Daytona approach 125.8". Roger contact Daytona approach on--- what was that frequency? "1 2 5 . 8". 125.8 thank you Sir. Daytona approach 8 Tango Charlie with you. "8 Tango Charlie say altitude" three thousand fivehundred."8 tango Charlie descend to 1500 and when you get to Interstate 95, That is the big Highway in front of you. Turn south until you pass airport then east to one half mile off the coast then direct to New Symerna." 8 Tango Charlie. My thought were - Hurt me some more. This is great. Now there is a LOT of water down there. IT is hot. A lot of people along the beach. Lots of traffic around here. I punch in direct to (EVB) New Smyrna. Air speed reads 165. Too fast I dont want this trip to be over yet. I slow down and enjoy the view. 8 miles 3 min Oh man Im here. Daytona approach 8 Tango Charlie has airport insight. "8 Tango Charlie swak VFR frequency change approved." I change freq. to 122.8. Lots of traffic in the area I listen for the runway that the traffic is landing on. New Smyrna Experimental 8 Tango Charlie entering a long down wind behind the cassia for runway 24. Maneuver into position following the cassia, catch up to the cassia he drops down for final and and too close. 8 Tango Charlie going around. He had not cleared the runway as I passed over him at about 500 the go round was fun out over the ocean and a good downwind base and final. Not much of a roll out at 10 msl. Taxied to the FBO. Parked, cut engine, boy is it hot. opened the canopy no wind and it is hot. I made it. "Top It Off" Went to the FBO and looked up my uncles number in the phone book as I left his number in the case that should be arriving tomorrow before 3:30. What if he has an unlisted number? Where is the FAA to arrest me for flying illegally? Found his number called him. "Will be there in 5 min." He lives less the 3 miles from the airport. WE hugged Great to see him.
19.9 gal $2.26, 2.4hrs 289 miles. This leg took a little longer due to about 30 min taking Lineman Steve around the patch a couple of times. The worst part about this trip was not having The Supreme Commander along (My wife) .
Total miles 1132
Total fuel 66.1
Total hours 8.4
Total fuel cost $143.15
total oil 1 qt
Average fuel burn 7.88
Average Speed 135 mph
Not bad for an airplane built in ones own back yard. Can you believe it? Backyard built and flown half way across the United States. Strictly amassing. Commander: Terry E. Cole N468 TC
Friday Uncle Steve and I flew North up to Jacksonville, Graig airpark to visit my aunt Sally and Uncle Dave. Enjoyed the visit. Flying up the coast at 1000 agl. St. Augistine and the marinas are something to see. The intercoastal water way runs from Miami to Maine. It is visible with boats. as far as the haze will let you see through. We had to be home when Aunt Melenda got off work due to steaks being cooked out. discussed our trip to Jacksonville and She asked if we could go for a ride tomorrow? Sure.Saturday: Mid morning we took off to the airport. I received a heads up from one of the flight instructors at the airport to go south. After we took off going south several miles I changed radio freq to 128.55. Are you ready for this?---- NASA Tower Experimental 468 Tango Charlie. "8 Tango Charlie go ahead" 8 Tango Charlie about 6 miles north requesting the shuttle tour. "Roger 8 Tango Charlie Cleared for a straight in low approach runway 15." WOW This is really great. The VAB (vehicle assembly building) is off in the distance just visible through the coastal haze.Where is my camera? click click,runway 15 is 15000 long and wide enough to take off from.Click click, What a sight! at 1500 I slowed down to flap speed. full flaps and down we went to just 100 above the runway. and for a brief moment in time I saw myself as a shuttle pilot returning from space. What a thrill!!! I raised the flaps and continued down 15 at about 160kts.Click Click, NASA Tower 8 Tango Charlie requesting a left turn over the complex. "8 Tango Charlie RIGHT turn down wind approved." I tell Melenda "I guess they dont want us over the there." The down wind leg was flown was just off 15, downwind. NASA Tower we thank you sir. "Enjoy you visit, frequency change approved" Here we go,climb to 1000 agl and head for the coast back to EVB.Click click. What a Day. What a trip.
Terry can be thanked for writing this at TColeE@aol.com