Powered by Lycoming

About 80% of general aviation aircraft fly using Lycoming engines. Clearing the trees at the end of the runway. Leaving 4500ft for 6500ft. Maintaining airflow and generating lift across the wings. All are impossible without a reliable engine. Lycoming powers my training aircraft and so fuels my quest for a private pilot certificate. This blog is a record of my thoughts and experiences on life, flight, and learning.

25 April 2008

Cross Country to Omaha, NE

On Wednesday, I took a nice long trip in the DA40 to Omaha. Over 1300miles and 11 hours in the cockpit! It was my longest day in the airplane so far....and honestly, wasn't too bad. If we had flown in a straight line, we would've been landing in Salt Lake City, so....I'm thinking that a western/west coast cross-country really isn't too far beyond the realm of possibility.

It was a beautiful day, although it started out a little hazy, the skies cleared up very nicely over Illinois. We had originally planned to stop for gas in Pontiac, IL (KPNT), but over the Indiana border, I whipped out my BlackBerry and managed to connect to 100LL.com to check and see if there were any cheaper FBO's. Just as I suspected, gas was only $3.96/gal in Washington, IA (KAWG). A few clicks of the G1000 cursor later, and our flight plan was adjusted another 80miles to Washington. We had stopped there last year on a trip to Des Moines, and it's a pretty nice little airport with intersecting runways and a nice little self-serve operation.
We crossed the Mighty Meandering Mississippi river on our way to Nebraska. The mississippi is a lot different than other rivers (like the Ohio) that I'm used to. It just seems to wander all over the landscape, and doesn't really appear to have a reason for being where it is. The Ohio River, on the other hand, is right in the middle of a valley, which gives you a pretty good idea of why it is there and not anywhere else.

Downtown Washington, IA

Turning Base for Runway 13 at Washington, IA

Diamond DA-40's look best on the ramp at an airport 350NM from home

Happy pilots paying less than $4.00/gal for 100LL - guaranteed to put a smile on any pilot's face!

After grabbing 35 gallons of 100LL, we took off and continued to head west, however, as I was climbing through 2000ft, we noted that there was a strong 24kt tailwind. Since I like to fly low (and fast), we stayed at about 1000-1300ft AGL for the remainder of our travels across Iowa. Since I was flying the second leg, I only managed to get 1.5 hours of time, but it was a fun 1.5hrs. We landed on 14L at Omaha, and it was a beautiful landing (if I do say so myself). Smooth as whipped butter, it was. Of course the 18kt headwind coming straight down the runway didn't hurt at all. I think that my groundspeed was about 35kts when I touched down. Nice.

Downtown Omaha, Nebraska - home of the Union Pacific Railroad, Boys Town and many other american institutions

After the meetings were done, we packed it up and headed home for Ohio. The weather was good all the way back, and we didn't have a change of underwear, so we kind of needed to head home:).

Power-on turn onto Runway 18 at Omaha - Heading Home!

A big, big soybean oil refinery at Council Bluffs, IA

We had a little gustier, bumpier ride back, and really had to climb high to get above that tailwind we rode on the way in. It was 9500ft before we settled into a nice cruise with a slight quartering headwind. We managed to stay away from the nasty, nasty looking thunderstorms that were building across Kansas and heading our way. It's pretty stinkin' nice to have a G1000 with XM weather on board. Have I mentioned that before? Here's a picture of the Nexrad and cell movement. Pretty cool to have this information updated every 6-10 minutes on your dash. Very cool.
Angry weather, just about 50NM south of us. I love XM Weather!

From 9500 ft, there really wasn't a whole lot to see. It was still not really springtime yet, so the ground hadn't sprung into green life yet. We basically watched for other traffic, tried to estimate how far the looming cloudtops in the horizon were, and listened to some XM radio. As we crossed the Mississippi, I snapped another picture - all that water just really amazes me....plus, that we're just letting it all flow down to the Gulf instead of using it or something...
The Mighty Mississippi from 9500ft

I tried to get my Blackberry to work again to check out fuel prices, but no dice. I think that at 9500ft, we were too high. It really couldn't decide which tower to lock on to to download all the web pages. So, we made our descent into Kankakee, IL, for some fresh gas and a bathroom break. On our descent, we crossed over a really cool quarry with a very, very green water covering the bottom, and some railcars with cool shadows. I like it!

Railcars full of limestone gravel - heading to a driveway near you!

Green water at the bottom of an Illinois quarry west of Kankakee, IL

Short Final for Runway 4 at Kankakee, IL (KIKK)

Fading light of a long day - she's fresh and ready to keep flying!

21 April 2008

Flying Season!

It's flying season again! Here you see my three sectionals spread out on the floor for my flight to Omaha (KOMA) this week. I'm headed out for a little business, but couldn't resist the look of the charts spread out on the floor. I can't wait to get back in the air!