Monday, January 29, 2007

Len's take on KLAL (w/ Cedar Key Arrival shot)

Ron Schreck, Larry Bowen and I took off around 9:30am Friday morning (as soon as the fog lifted) and joined up over RUQ for the flight down. Ron discovered he had not fueled the plane and had to land at RUQ for fuel ... Larry and I continued on knowing that Miss Izzy would have no problems catching us. And of course he didn't. You need to ask him about his join up on our two ship ... spectacular !!! Weather going down to our fuel stop at Hazelburst, Ga. was scattered and broken clouds but fairly low. We made that part of the trip at around 2000'. Ken Harrill (RV-6), James Clark (RV-6), Danny Kight (RV-6) were already on the ground waiting for us. Unfortunately .. Danny (Anderson, SC) and his passenger and new 6A owner Ken .. had no fog delays and had to spend two hours on the ground waiting for us.

We all got fuel at 2.80 per gallon !! Took off as a flight of 6 with Ron in the lead heading to Cedar Key for lunch. Ron led us on a beautiful flight over the water and landing into Cedar Key. Taxi into the village for lunch and a walk back to the airport with clear blue skies and "almost" tee shirt weather. Groups of RVs seem to always bring out crowds and they did this time too.

James led us from Cedar Key into Brooksville to pick up a passenger. Then Danny led us on into LAL as a 6 ship. It was neat when the controller ask us if we would like to do a fly by and then set up for initial ... well yes we would !! That went well and we were soon on the Sun N Fun grounds pitching tents and tiedowns. They provided dinner and we visited the museum for a presentation by a photographer who flew the Lewis and Clark Trail to the Pacific in an open cockpit taking wonderful pics. Rad ... you would have loved it !!

Cold night in the tent especially for Larry as he forgot his sleeping bag. Everyone donated sheets and blankets which according to Larry only partially worked. We awoke Saturday morning to beautiful weather and a pancake breakfast. 102 planes flew in on Saturday ... most from Florida. Several seminars were presented and lots of walking around looking at pretty RVs. The temp on Saturday was great ... somewhere in the low 70s and blue skies. Around 4:30 we took off as a flight of 4 and went to Zephyrhills for cheap fuel and a chance to come back over the SNF grounds in a diamond formation with smoke on !! By the time we returned ... lots of people had headed home. We checked wx all day making sure we could get back in today. Everything said the bad wx would reach our area around 4pm ... wrong !! Ron was called into spot whales in Wilmington and departed LAL around 3pm for home. The rest of us camped again. Bonfire and all you could eat chicken ... life is good !!

This morning we were up early .. packing tents and belongings. Our group split up for the flight home ... Ken and Danny flew the coast line home. Larry, James, and I made a stop in Brooksville to drop off a passenger, take on a little fuel and departed for the trip home with no planned stops as all the Garmin 396s and 496s were saying get home now !!! We had a nice tail wind down low and flew home at 2500' showing ground speeds in the 170s. James headed off for Columbia soon and Larry and I continued on ... with wx continuing to decline. We finally hit a wall of showers around Concord and decided to land as ice was beginning to form on our windshields.

Got a little fuel, pit stops, calls to home and we were airborne again for a try to make it home. All was going fine as we hopped our way from airport to airport toward Winston. We deviated a little west of the direct route to avoid some showers and that put us close to Twin Lakes for Larry to head to. I passed by as Larry was turning final. From Twin Lakes to INT (only 17 miles) ... my windshield completely iced over. I had zero forward visibility ... you should have seen me checking those wings for ice. I got the straight in for Runway 4 ... slipped left and right to set up for landing ... then landed looking out the side. All went well ... discovered ice was beginning to build on the wings. I had about a 6" line of ice on the wings .. very thin. Glad I had no further to fly. My first encounter with ice and I can't believe how fast it happened. Guess it took an experience for me to gain true appreciation ... but I have it now.

We all made it back home safe and sound. It was a great weekend with friends and fun planes !!!


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