A little while
back, I got checked out to rent airplanes at a couple of different
airports from the one I usually frequent. This was in no way any
kind of reflection on my regular place, but they only have one newish
plane there, and sometimes it's hard to get it when I want it. Also,
lately it's been taking longer to get little things written up and
fixed, and the price is the same at the new place as it is at the
old one. On top of that, the new place has three new 172SPs, and
The only down
side to the new place is that the runway is only 60 feet wide, and
runway 32 comes in right accross the interstate on one end of the
field. Since it's so tight, many renters just don't think to go
there, so I can get a 172SP pretty much whenever I want, I just
have to drive about 15 minutes farther from home.
All that being
said, today was the first chance I'd had to actually go anywhere
in one of the planes from the new place. The day dawned very cold
(4.5/2) and there was ice on the truck, and ice on the wing when
we got there. It was already melting off, and was gone before we
got through the preflight. Julie had decided to come along, so we
had decided to make the trip to Cedar Key. We were in N215PJ, which
is a 2004 172SP that has about 190 hours TT.
I always plot
out a course the night before, and do the full calculations the
morning of. I also use a GPS, but I like to have my backups in order
just in case. It helps me keep in practice. This time, it paid off.
My GPS batteries went dead about 15 minutes from our destination,
but we had been tracking our course by pilotage and dead reconing
the whole way, and just kept to our plan and went right to Cedar
Key. I keep extra batteries in my flight bag, so I put them in after
This time there
is no question who shot the pictures. It was Julie. I had to fly
the plane, so there's no way to snake the credit on this one. She
shot these on the way into Cedar Key (KCDK). All three are of the
runway, from our landing.
We had very
smooth air all the way there. Winds aloft were 6Kts at 020 and steady.
Cold and clear, we were getting 120 Kts at 2250 RPM, burning about
10.1 an hour.