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Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 3rd 06, 03:14 PM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)


I begin writing this from the the boarding gate at SJC (San Jose
International, California) waiting for our flight back to New York,
hoping this will be my last commercial flight for a while. We will
have 2 days to finish packing, then we will be loading up a U-Haul
trailer and spending a week driving back to California to start my new
job. The Arrow is safe in its new parking space at Palo Alto (PAO)
after carrying us here from White Plains (HPN).

I had things scheduled down to the minute. My last day at work would
be on the Thursday before the annual Pinckneyville fly-in. Friday, we
would fly out to PJY and spend the weekend there hanging out. Sunday,
we would continue the trip to PAO, planning to arrive by the following
Thursday (hoping to arrive by Wednesday, but building in slop for
weather and other delays). We would spend a long weekend looking for
a place to live and getting a general sense of the area. Leaving the
plane in its new parking spot, we would head back to NY to finish the
second part of the move: the "boring" ground trip.

They say that long trips are just a bunch of short trips strung
together. There's a lot of truth to that, but you always learn
something new on a long trip. Things are always just a little bit
different in different parts of the country.

This time, what surprised me most was how routine it was, despite the
inevitable snags.

Our biggest problem we had was making the initial departure. As
mentioned on another thread, we couldn't get out on the Friday. There
were waves of storms passing through the area, and where there weren't
storms, there was icing. Ice belongs in drinks.

We headed to the airport first thing in the morning anyway, looked at
the radar, hung around, left for lunch, and came back later before
throwing in the towel for the day. My favorite mantra, "fly until you
can't, then land", meant not launching at all that day. Net forward
progress: zero miles.

Often enough, we've had to hang around an airport waiting for the
weather to improve (this is Lonny's least favorite part of flying).
Usually we could continue on once the weather passes; sometimes, we
could not. This time, we could not. Time to spare, go by air.

So, we launched as early as we could get out on Saturday morning. Our
best effort was a 9 AM launch. I asked the weather briefer whether to
go West to the Pittsburg area as our usual first stop or South to
Charlottesville, VA. South would work better, but we were going to be
facing headwinds and a 3.5 hour leg.

I usually try to plan legs of 2.5 hours +/- 0.5. More than 3 hours
makes for a pretty long flight, and shorter than 2 means all the time
is swamped by the overhead of the turnaround.

We filed our first leg IFR to CHO (Charlottesville). In complex class
B airspaces like around New York City, it's so much simpler to pull up
a canned route. Of course when you do that, they usually give you
their other canned route, along with several changes enroute.

As you get away from busy airspace, you're more likely to get cleared
"as filed" or better yet, "direct". This is just one of those
regional difference.

The controller routed us right over JFK and we watched a line of
airliners executing their departure procedures underneath us. There
were clouds here and there, but our entire trip all the way to
California was in Visual Meterological Conditions.

We took a visual approach into CHO and landed uneventfully. After a
bag lunch and a brief rest, I got the briefing and filed IFR for
Frankfurt KY (FFT, a must destination for any Digital Signal
Processing fans out there).

Shortly after getting handed off to Lexington Approach, the controller
asked my intentions after arriving at the Frankfurt VOR. I told him
my intention was to land. He tells me I'd have to be circling for a
while. The runway is closed until mid June. I didn't think I had
quite enough fuel for that.

One of the NOTAMS I dilligently checked said that one of the runways
was closed. I did not have the runway diagram in front of me, and
just assumed I could land on the other runway. There had to be one,
otherwise the airport would be NOTAMed closed (duh: it's still open
for helicopters). Never made the connection when I did have the
airport diagram in front of me. I quickly cancelled IFR and diverted
to Georgetown, KY.

This is a candidate for my stupidest flying moment of the year.
Fortunately, it's not an FAR violation: I got my preflight, didn't
actually try to land there, and no metal was bent. But I still feel
pretty sheepish about it. Good catch by ATC.

After a rest and another call to flight services, I decided to press
on. The briefer said that there was "stuff" on the radar developing
around PJY, and our best bet would be to head toward OWB (Owensboro,
KY), which had an FBO open 24 hours. After hanging out for a bit,
checking the radar, the "stuff" looked like it was dissipating and we
decided to press on. Turned out, it wasn't all that bad after all.
Most of it was virga anyway.

We finally arrived at PJY after sunset, before it really got dark.
After 8 pm local, 9 pm our body clock time. A new record for us: 12
hours enroute with 8.7 hours of airtime in 4 legs. The last two were
1.4 and 1.0 and I was pretty exhausted by the time we stopped for the
night. Plus we missed supper, but even cold, Mary's steaks were
delicious (we should have packed some of the leftovers for lunch on
Monday).

Last time we went to PJY, it was 6.7 hours in 3 legs.

I had called ahead at the last couple of stops. While we were
enroute, some of the people at PJY were looking at the radar picture
on their computers, cell phones, and hand-held GPSes. To them, it
looked like flight services steered us into the worst of the weather.
20 miles around either side and we could've headed directly toward
PJY. I'm starting to think about one of those airborne Nexrad
services. Maybe a 396 to complement the panel-mount.

Despite the long day, I managed to stay up pretty late talking with
old friends, some of whom I only met for the first time. Sunday, we
hung around and watched people leave one by one. Then we looked for
our next leg.

Between the long flying day on Saturday, staying up late to yak, and
getting the late start, all I wanted for Sunday was one short leg,
about an hour or so, just to show some forward progress.

We took some time to figure out where to go and settled on Sedalia,
MO.

Tina Marie's been a mentor for long cross-country flying. One of her
rules is to avoid small airports on Sunday evenings. They tend to be
deserted. We called ahead to find out. The operations office was
closing at 4, about 15 minutes after we called, but we could just park
at any tiedown spot. The motel (which the guidebook said would pick
us up) only had one person working Sunday evening and could not pick
us up. No problem, we'd call a taxi.

With the day waning and a short leg, following the short leg from
Owensboro, I decided not to top up at PJY.

We arrived at Sedalia around 6 pm. I unloaded stuff from the plane
while Lonny went to the payphone to call a taxi. The taxi company had
accepted an out-of-town job and there would be no service that
evening. Oops.

We sat around a picnic table in front of the operations building
wondering what to do next. We hadn't run out of options. Yet. I
knew we could have called the local cop who might have given us a ride
if sufficiently bored. Even though tired, I also knew with half
tanks, we could still go another hour to the next town with an hour or
so of reserve.

Before we could make a decision, someone who had been doing touch and
goes finished tying down his plane and was on his way out. The way
out took him right past us and he offered us a ride.

We got a good rate at the hotel, so I feel a bit uncomfortable
complaining about it, but the room was, uhm, substandard. There were
no towels, and when we got the towels and headed straight to the
shower after a day of camping, the water was cold. Overall, the place
had a sense of being rundown.

Next morning, we got off to a leisurely 9:45 AM start. We filed IFR
to SLN (Selina, KS) with HYS (Hays, KS) as an alternate. The briefer
said filing IFR would be better than trying to run the scud, but
during the flight, I was wondering what scud. It was just as well we
were IFR: ATC vectored us away from an active MOA.

Making good time, we decided to continue on to our "alternate", and we
landed at Hayes for lunch. Picking up the courtesy car, we headed
into town. The town had the usual strip of fast food chains and we
stopped in one. Turned out, even in small town Kansas, the fast food
place has a wireless hotspot. Too bad we left the computer packed in
the airplane.

Continuing on to Denver after refueling and putting some gas into the
plane, the ride was eventful. Thunderstorms were scheduled to move in
during the late afternoon, so we looked at alternates in case we had
to land out short of the destination.

Centenial Airport (APA) in Denver had a NOTAM for a ruwnway closure.
Once burned, I double checked to make sure there really was more than
one runway. Yes, APA had two main parallel runways and one crosswind
runway.

Approaching APA and picking up the ATIS, the winds were more or less
aligned with the parallel runways. Of course, the ATIS was nearly an
hour old.

ATC gave me a left downwind for the left runway, then left traffic for
the right runway, then back to the left runway. Fortunately, the
FBO I chose was off the left runway.

By the time we were ready to land, the winds had shifted 90 degrees.
Naturally, that would be when they chose to resurface the croswind
runway. It was on of my gnarlier crosswind landings, but we got down
just in time.

We had dinner with Blanche who also showed us around Denver. At one
point in the evening, we had to pull over to the side of the road to
wait for the rain to let up. It's easier to do that in a car than in
an airplane

Blanche and several people at P'ville mentioned O2 for mountain
flying. I planned to fly no higher than 10.5, so at worst it would be
a comfort issue. If we wind up doing mountain flying regularly, O2
would definitely be a good idea, but for a single shot, I wasn't
overly concerned.

Since so many people mentioned it, Lonny became concerned and wanted
me to investigate it. They're _expensive_, but it turns out that
there are smaller disposable (?) units for a puff when you start
feeling that fatigue.

APA is big enough to support two (!) pilot shops. We spent some time
browsing though them. One sent us to the other, and the other just
rents O2 systems. Since it was a one-way trip, we couldn't rent
anything so we decided to forgo the O2.

The FBO charges a buck (!) more for fuel from the truck than from
self-serve. When we landed I asked them to refuel anyway, but it
somehow slipped through the cracks. I wasn't particularly upset, but
they offered to waive the overnight parking anyway. I'll be happy to
stop there next time I pass through the area.

Fortunately, by the time we were ready to go, the power had come back
on and we were able to use the self-serve. The power had gone out
just after we finished breakfast. That meant the hotel PBX was down
and we couldn't call the FBO for a ride (okay, we could have asked to
use the hotel's one working phone, but we decided to walk anyway). We
checked out in the dark.

After a taxi that was almost longer than the flight itself, we took
off North toward Chyenne to pick up the I-80. We really wanted to go
to Laramie as the first stop of the day, but the wind was strong and
you do not fly in the mountains when the winds are up.

After we stopped, I replaced the missing cowl screw and tightened the
rest of them. The landing light also needed replacement. Then we
walked over to the terminal for lunch. After lunch, we made our
decision to bag it for the day and got a room in the Historic Plains
Hotel, a charming older hotel in the middle of restoration. It was a
welcome change from cookie cutter brand-name franchise motels.

Downtown Chyenne rolls up the streets for the night, but the driver
who took us to the hotel steered us to an interesting teriaki/sushi
takeout place for dinner. When we ready for dinner, we wandered over,
and found her there getting her own dinner.

Next morning we were up early and shared a ride from the hotel with
the Great Lakes flight crew who were beginning their long day. We
were wheels up just after 7 AM, which has to be a new record for us.

Winds were still up but not as bad as the previous afternoon. It was
morning and the pilot was fresh. The daytime heating didn't have a
chance to add to the mix. Stopping the previous afternoon was
definitely the right call: we only encountered a bit of light
turbulence.

First stop of the day was was Rock Springs, WY. I had to make a
straight in and I had to ask the pilot in the pattern to yield to me.
He said he didn't mind when I explained why and he extended his
downwind. Once we landed, I did a very fast taxi and shut down right
in front of the door to the FBO. As soon as the propeller stopped
spinning, Lonny sprinted to the restroom.

I'm used to flying in an area where there are lots of airports. I
have in the past diverted short of my destination when the urge
arose. Where airports are fewer and farther between, one needs to
plan ahead for these things.

After refuelling the plane and a chat with flight services, we were on
our way to Wendover UT. I wound up climbing to 10.5 to be well above
terrain, and this worked well as I passed over the Salt Lake City
class B airspace.

Approaching the busy space, I asked for and received flight
following. The views of the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt
Flats were spectacular. Wendover turns out to have played a historic
role in World War II and there were some aging WWII-era hangars as
well as a small musueum.

No courtesy car, but the casinos would be all too happy to provide
free pickup and drop-off for lunch. Rather than stopping for lunch,
We decided to have a quick snack and press on for one more hour to
Elko, NV. Forward progress was becoming more important than lunch.

Elko had the cheapest hotel room of the trip. There was a casino in
the hotel to subsidize the room but the hotel seemed a bit run down.
Like every hotel on the trip, they did have a wireless internet. Like
several of the hotels on the trip, signal strength in the room was
poor. We spent some time in a common area checking email and looking
at weather pages.

Since we missed lunch, we were looking for an early dinner.
Unfortunately, the restaurants that were recommended were closed. One
for a private party and the other because they only opened later for
dinner.

Not wanting to wait, we had dinner in the hotel coffee shop, which was
open 24 hours for the hungry gamblers.

We later decided to drop a quarter into one of the slot machines just
to be able to say that we did. Slot machines are all high tech now
and you practically need a degree in computer science to operate them.
I do have one but I was on vacation, so we kept our quarter.

Next morning, leaving Elko, I called the ground controller for taxi
clearance. Turned out, the ramp area abuted the end of the runway,
and no taxi clearance was required. Duh. The other couple leaving
just after us called tower directly. Same guy working both positions
and he sounded pretty bored.

This trip, I had one of my longest and one of my shortest taxis ever.
I guess it averages out.

Stopping for Lunch in Reno, we had made pretty good time and were in
the restaurant by 11:30 local time. We signed out the courtesy car,
then realized the restaurant was only a couple of buildings
downfield. Even though the road was busy we decided to walk.

After a leasurely lunch in a really nice restaurant, Amelia's (named
after Amelia Earhart, complete with memorabilia), we were ready to get
back in the air at 2pm. Nearly a mile up and the hottest part of the
day. ATIS said "check density altitude". Good advice.

With a 2-mile runway, I wasn't too worried about taking off, and I
wasn't surprised by the anemic climb rate. I turned West to follow
the I-80 and looked at the looming peak straight ahead that was
outclimbing my little Arrow.

The valley was wide enough to circle for altitude, but we didn't need
to do that. The highway made a sharp left, and so did we. This was
the only leg that we were really in the mountains rather than over
them. Lonny found it a bit frightening at the time, but despite the
sweaty palms, she was impressed with the spectacular vistas.

When doing canyon flying, you need to stick close to one side to
maximize the space available for a 180 should the need arise. With
right-hand traffic rules, her side of the plane was closest to the
terrain.

Clearing the mountains, I picked up an IFR clearance around
Sacramento. Weather continued to be good VMC, but I didn't want to
tangle with the complex and unfamiliar class B airspace around the Bay
area.

They gave me a route that included a fix I couldn't find until I asked
the next controller for the spelling. Turned out, it was spelled with
a 'C', not an 'S'.

The controller wanted to know what kind of approach I required.
Visual was fine. He vectored us toward rising terrain that made me
uncomfortable. If we were IMC, I might have been blissfully unaware,
but one should always know the terrain one is flying over. That was
just a good reminder.

Crossing over the ridge, the Bay area came into view. I picked out
SJC and Moffet Field (where we send those ASRS forms), but had some
trouble picking out PAO. As I intercepted the final approach course,
the controller turned me about 30 degrees, and the runway was
perfectly lined up.

I reported the field in sight and was turned over to the tower who
cleared me to land. I tried to land, but the winds off the water
were, uhm, challenging and I went around. Haven't had to do that in a
while and it was a bit more rusty than it should have been, but one
right-hand trip around the pattern later, I completed a normal
landing.

My rule is that I'll make at most one attempt to save a botched
landing, but if the attempt doesn't take, never try a second time.

Total time was 26.5 hours in 13 legs.

As I wrap up this tale, I am surrounded by boxes and stuff yet to be
packed, with more stuff already loaded into the trailer. The big push
will be tomorrow morning when we finish loading and hit the road. At
least through the mountains, we will be following the same route.
It's good to periodically change one's perspective.


Morris
Ads
  #2  
Old June 3rd 06, 05:16 PM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

Interesting read. What was the total fuel bill for the trip?

  #3  
Old June 3rd 06, 05:25 PM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

Welcome (sort of...you'll eventually be back) to the left coast Morris!
I've been to PAO once. There are a bunch of Bay Area Cherokee drivers
that are part of the Cherokee Pilot's Association. Drop me an e-mail if
you're headed up to the Sacramento area.

I'm very familiar with the portion of your route from Rock Springs
westward. BTDT several times to/from Oshkosh.


--
Jack Allison
PP-ASEL-Instrument Airplane
Arrow N2104T

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth
with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there
you will always long to return"
- Leonardo Da Vinci

(Remove the obvious from address to reply via e-mail)
  #4  
Old June 4th 06, 02:32 AM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

In article .com, Kingfish wrote:
Interesting read. What was the total fuel bill for the trip?


Thanks.

Fuel alone totaled 1003.98. A week-long vacation package at Disney World
probably would've cost something similar. For comparison, a couple of one-way
tickets from JFK to SJC would be anywhere from $300 to $400. Of course, this is
part of the relocation expenses.

Morris
  #5  
Old June 4th 06, 04:32 AM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

On Sat, 03 Jun 2006 09:14:19 -0500, Journeyman wrote:

Shortly after getting handed off to Lexington Approach, the controller
asked my intentions after arriving at the Frankfurt VOR. I told him my
intention was to land. He tells me I'd have to be circling for a while.
The runway is closed until mid June. I didn't think I had quite enough
fuel for that.


This was a terrific post. I enjoyed the lessons, as well as the jokes,
embedded.

I liked how you being on vacation saved you a quarter, for example.

Thanks...

- Andrew

  #6  
Old June 4th 06, 06:32 AM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

In article ,
Journeyman wrote:

The Arrow is safe in its new parking space at Palo Alto (PAO)
after carrying us here from White Plains (HPN).


Great write up!

Welcome to the Bay Area! I fly out of PAO if you have any questions
about local procedures. One thing I'll toss out there is that PAO
gets really busy on the weekends, and 'owns' most of Moffett's
airspace. Being number eight or nine in the pattern isn't unusual,
and you'll often turn base over Moffett (~4nm final). You can
always pick out the non-local pilots by the call to tower of 'umm,
Tower, Bugsmasher 123 is getting really close to some big runways'
and tower responding with a 'extensions into Moffett are approved'.

One more thing, when flying up the peninsula, 'remain south and
west of the bayshore' refers to the Bayshore Freeway (US-101), not
the actual shoreline. No one but ATC calls it the Bayshore Freeway,
it is just '101' to everyone else.

Ok, one more. http://www.dr-amy.com/rich/flying/kpao.html has a
ton of local knowledge/landmarks for PAO. Like most airports, it
has its share of 'weird' local reporting points. The strangest
one is the 'old yacht harbor'. The last time there were boats
there was in the early 1970s, or so I've heard from oldtimers.

I've got a ton of aerial photos of the Bay Area on my website (in .sig).

John
--
John Clear - http://www.clear-prop.org/

  #7  
Old June 4th 06, 11:07 AM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

On Sun, 4 Jun 2006 05:32:45 +0000 (UTC),
(John Clear) wrote:
Ok, one more.
http://www.dr-amy.com/rich/flying/kpao.html has a
ton of local knowledge/landmarks for PAO. Like most airports, it
has its share of 'weird' local reporting points.


Rich is a CFI at my club but I'd never seen that before. Cool site.
Wish I had known about it when I was a student.

Funny...in my 90 hours of flying, all of which has originated at Palo
Alto and includes lots of pattern work during primary training, I have
NEVER heard tower refer to the Old Yacht Harbor, Bird House, Spot,
Water Treatment Plant, Antenna Farm, Dump, or Cooley Landing. And I've
only heard "Duck Pond" a couple of times (usually they'll just say
"short final").

Speaking of the yacht harbor I just read an article about someone in
the city govt wanting to initiate a study of resurrecting it. This
would require rerouting San Francisquito creek. It was the original
rerouting of the creek that spelled the end of the harbor in the first
place. Sounds crazy but it actually has merit since the creek needs
some major work (e.g. levy improvement) anyways to reduce flooding
risk. What kind of tony waterside town doesn't have a yacht club
anyways, eh?

Okay, apologies for my OT detour!

Blair
  #8  
Old June 4th 06, 12:46 PM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

"Journeyman" wrote in message
. ..
The Arrow is safe in its new parking space at Palo Alto (PAO)
after carrying us here from White Plains (HPN).


Cool write-up! I fly Arrows too--just rented ones, though, so I probably
won't be doing any coast-to-coast flights. But I enjoyed the vicarious
experience of yours.

--Gary


  #9  
Old June 4th 06, 02:11 PM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)


"Journeyman" wrote in message . ..

I begin writing this from the the boarding gate at SJC (San Jose
International, California) waiting for our flight back to New York,
hoping this will be my last commercial flight for a while. We will
have 2 days to finish packing, then we will be loading up a U-Haul
trailer and spending a week driving back to California to start my new
job. The Arrow is safe in its new parking space at Palo Alto (PAO)
after carrying us here from White Plains (HPN).

....
It's good to periodically change one's perspective.


Morris


Thanks for the great pirep! Sounds like you are off to a great start....


  #10  
Old June 5th 06, 12:16 AM posted to rec.aviation.student,rec.aviation.piloting
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Default Another Long Cross Country: HPN to PAO in 6 Days (long)

Morris, Thank You for telling so much of the details of your trip.

I'm planning a June trip from Newport News, VA (PHF) to Oakland (OAK),
also in an Arrow. We plan to go west via route that starts further
north than yours (DLL, 6V4 (Wall, SD), RAP, CPR), make a stop at Flaming
Gorge, then in trail with you to OAK. We intend return via the southern
route (TUS, maybe 0V7 (Kayenta, AZ), CVN, and other stops back to PHF.

Any comments are Welcome.

george
 




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