On Monday, I had planned an overnight cross country to Houston, TX by way of Memphis, TN. We stopped in Memphis to get some good Tennessee bar-b-que at place called Corky's. That place was awesome, I definitely recommend dry rub ribs. In Texas, we stayed in the FBO which had little hotel rooms in it. I guess it was pretty nice, they had a bar and a movie theater. Anyway, when we woke up, we were in for a treat. In the hangar they were having a promotion for the airshow coming up. It was pretty sweet because there was a B-17, B-25, and an A-4, among other planes. After checking out all the old-school planes, we had to do some "combat flight planning" to get out of Houston. There was a serious storm front moving across northern Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, which were all originally part of our plan of getting home. We ended going to Amarillo, TX for dinner before heading home. In Amarillo, we went to dinner at the Big Texan, which you may have heard of before. It has been on TV several times because of their claim to fame, the 72 ounce Big Texan steak. It was such a tourist trap, the steaks weren't even that good, but oh well. I can now say, I've been there. Anyway, upon arriving back at Vance, I found out at 1100 that night that I was flying the next day. Sweet.
This is where things got interesting. I was flying with my roommate and one of the more chill IP's, which is awesome. I new it was going to be a good flight. Anyway, Matt had already decided we were going to go to Little Rock, which was fine as I didn't care. He was flying first to take us out there, I was going to bring us back at night. The flight out was uneventful and we went to dinner at a pretty awesome pizza joint. I dig the Chicago style pizza. Now it was my turn to fly while fighting off the food comatose. After the 20 minuted taxi to get the runway, we eventually took to promptly hitting a bird on departure. Not good. There are a bunch of rules regarding bird strikes. We got some maneuvering airspace so we could decide whether we were going to fly home to Vance or just land there, check things out and then head home. We decided to land, check out the plane, and get permission to fly home.
After inspecting the aircraft and determining there was no damage, except all the guts on the windshield, we tried to get permission to fly home. We got permission, however, our battle now was time. Vance closed at like 1030 or 11 and it was already like 930. With an hour and change flight ahead of us, we may not make. After checking some graphs for our landing, we had to let the brakes cool. Because of our heavy weight, short available landing distance, long taxi, we accumulated a ton of brake energy. This requires exponentially more cooling time than if we landed light and with a long roll out. In the end, we had to stay in Little Rock for the night, because we would not take off in time, as it was going to take about 2-3 hours for the brakes to cool. Oh well, I was prepared with a divert bag, that included some underwear, toothbrush and paste, and deodorant. My roommate and IP weren't so lucky.
We ended up getting a hotel room and hanging out at the bar for a couple of hours to have a brew. We woke up the next morning to try and take off about 1100. When we got to the airport we discovered that there was yet another huge storm front directly over Vance. We could not take off because we would not be able to land at Vance. So we had a few hours to kill. We ended up going to the Bill Clinton Presidential Museum for an hour or so and getting some lunch. Eventually, we took off out of Little Rock that afternoon, not knowing what was in store for us.
The flight was beautiful until we got to the impending storm that was still over Vance. After going through some pretty good turbulence, icing, about 30000 feet of clouds, waiting out lightning warnings, and two attempts at landing, we landed safe at Vance. That was definitely some of the most interesting bits of flying I have done. It was legit, we may or may not be landing. Good times. We were just relieved to know we weren't going to be spending the night in Amarillo or something (Amarillo was our alternate airport at the time).
Then came the weekend. I had been talking with my friends about going camping for a while. We finally had the time and the place to go camping. Five of us left early Saturday morning to go camping in the Ozarks in Arkansas. We didn't really know how it was going to turn out, but it was actually pretty awesome.
Anyway, I'm tired of typing and I need to get things done, so until next time pray for SURF,