Longest range visitor

Sam, a good friend of mine from Califonia, flew all the way here just to hop a ride in N410S.  I had to oblige.  Here’s the before picture.  It was a typical Atlanta day… hot, hazy and humid.  Visibility sucked but we flew up to the foot of the North Georgia mountains.  Landed at Wimpy’s, got gas and did some general RV goofing off on the way back.  It’s a pretty cool approach to Rwy 15 at Lumpkin County (Wimpy’s).  Thought he’d enjoy that and he did.

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Almost ready for my multi check ride!

Last week I started on a new venture.  My multi add-on rating!  My lovely wife Janet has been pushing to pursue my long time career goals… and now is the time to do it.  Better to go thru life knowing you gave something your best shot than regretting you never tried later.  Long story short… looked into various flight schools but decided to do it locally at KLZU where my RV is based. 

Side note – glad I didn’t blow $50K with the #$%$’s at All ATP’s. 

Today was my third lesson in the mighty Seminole and we’re already talking check ride next week.  Have logged a total of 3.9 hours so far.  The joke is that with your multi training – you never get to fly a twin with both engines working til after your rating.  Here is one of the two Seminoles at The Flight School of Gwinnett.

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The Spitfire Deli

One of the local hangouts is the Spitfire Deli at KWDR (Winder – Barrow County, Georgia).  A nice lady originally from England runs the place… hence the name Spitfire Grill.  Here’s a shot from the inside.

Unfortunately the airport is trying to kick her out by changing her lease.  Be sure to sign the petition to keep her in her current location at KWDR!

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New Mooney… for Bryan

Bryan, my hangar neighbor and all-around good guy, just picked up his 2005 Mooney Ovation 2 with TKS!  It’s a gorgeous ride – complete with a Garmin G1000 system.  He tells me it trues out at 190 KTAS!  OK, I relinquish the speed title… for now.  Wait til I get a Rocket.

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Back to LZU

Tried to stress the importance of leaving early before the earth heats up.  But alas I didn’t get airborne til 1:00pm since we got moving late and I gave a ride to my cousin Matt before I launched.  Tried to go direct… only could climb to 4500′ initially due ceilings.  A little light rain in Southern Ohio would set the mood for the rest of the day.  As I approached the bigger rocks I could see some buildups ahead.  Eventually I asked for 5500′ and settled there for a good while… dodging a small cell here and there.  Then I needed to make a decision… fly around the mountains or go through the pass towards KGSP.  Decided to head towards KTYS to make an end-around the mountain range (remember I couldn’t climb higher due to the buildups).  When the controller said there’s Wx up ahead I decided to head for the gap in the mountains… right towards Asheville, NC.   All was going well til the Asheville controller said “N410S, those are level 5 storms up ahead… suggest you alter course”.  To make a long story short, I took a hard left and then landed at Rutherford, NC (KFQD) to have a look at the weather on the ground.

The guy at KFQD was really cool and let me use the computers and hang out for a while.  Deciding that the coast was clear for a straight shot to Atlanta area, I launched.  Debated about filling up at 18A or 19A on the way home (19A being only about 25 nm further).  Settled on 19A… as that’s my usual fuel stop.  Filled up and then headed to KLZU.  Had to get the dog out of the kennel by 7pm!

Going home (to 4G4)

Ever since I first flew my RV I knew I wanted to take it ‘home’ to my hometown of Canfield, OH – the megatropolis that it is.  What a better day to do it than today?  Woke up to find that my wife and daughter went to the in-laws for the weekend.  Checked the WX on the net, called FSS, got the dog to the kennel and headed out to the airport.  What a great flight north.  Since I only had about 33 gal when I launched I decided to stop at Richard Downing Airport in Coshocton, OH (I40) on the way for cheap gas… $3.63 full serve!  After filling up on 100LL and some good local ice cream, I headed northeast for 66nm to arrive at my destination – Youngstown Elser Airport (4G4).

This great little hometown airport is closest to my parents.  Much closer than KPIT, KCAK, or KCLE when we fly commercial.  Each easily over an hour away.  It only took me about 2.8 to fly to 4G4.  Door to door it was about 3.5 hours!!  So much better than the 5.5+ hours it takes when we fly Delta.  The drive home to my parents only took 7 minutes compared to the 1 hour drive it normally takes from the big airports.  The RV is such a great machine.  Flew the whole way at 9500′ and it was as smooth as can be.  To date, this is my longest flight ever in any small airplane piloted solely by me.

After I arrived, I helped the parents with some landscaping.  Then we headed back to the airport to give some rides to family and friends.  Then it was time for some mexican food (ok, not the best thing in Northeast Ohio).  This was the weekend of the Hot-Rod Supernationals so it was a little more happening than usual.

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Lots of good food at 2J3

Just walked in the door after making it back from the Catfish Fry, generously hosted by Pierre Smith.  Alan, Mike and myself launched as a 3 ship out of LZU and picked up Reno overhead.  After we picked up Reno, Kahuna dropped back to pick up Alan who dropped well behind us.  Did a pass overhead with Mike’s smoke on and then came around for the overhead break on Rwy 31. 

About 4 RV’s beat us in.  But over the next hour or so the field filled up quite well.  Over 30 airplanes, at least 25 of which were RV’s made it out on this gorgeous day for flying.  Most of the planes were from the Atlanta area (about 100 nm northwest) but we did have one RVer all the way from Texas.  Think he was in the area on other business, though.  I’d have better pics but the batteries in my Digital Rebel died.  So I was stuck with the cheap Panasonic FX-01.

The catfish was great – cooked perfectly… and so was everything else.  I saw Barefoot Billy manning the fry station most of the time with lots of other helpers prepping the food… everything from hush puppies to fries to boiled shrimp.  So thanks to everyone who helped with the cooking duties… and many big thanks to Pierre for arranging this nice afternoon.

Pierre didn’t ask us for any money… if we wanted to give anything it would go to a great local charity, the Broken Shackle Ranch.  This facility takes at-risk kids (14 – 17) and teaches them all the valuable lessons of life.  From carpentry to church to opening a bank account.  So my money went in the bucket as well as lots of other givers.  Quote from their website: “Broken Shackle Ranch is a Christian youth home that specializes in helping young men ages 16-19 by teaching them responsibility, discipline, work ethic, and moral values.”

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