Sunday, August 04, 2019

Flying - Escanaba In The Daylight

Delta County Gun Owners [The county in which Escanaba is located] and Michigan Open Carry held their 2nd Annual Picnic in Escanaba.

This time I'd be flying up there in my own aircraft.

I also had a couple passengers who wanted to go as well. Both were ATP Pilots with Endeavor, a subsidiary of Delta. Both fly Regional Jets. No pressure, right? They were also on board as backup in case the weather turned and we needed someone with an IFR cert to take over. Both the Diamond and Seneca frrm Last year were also flying along so we had a three ship visit rather than two last year.

So this would be not only my longest cross country as pilot in command to date, but also my first over a great lake.

Aside from about a 15 minute window, the route I had planned kept us within gliding distance of land should an issue arise. They liked that plan.

So I flew on up.

9,500 feet, about the highest I've flown so far as well. Altitude is your friend when crossing the lake.

The air was nice and smooth and it was a great flight up. I picked up flight following and soon talked to various flavors of Great Lakes Approach and then Minneapolis Center. Quite a bit of radio work and frequency and transponder code changes.

Unfortunately which flying near Saginaw on Great Lakes Approach (Saginaw) frequency, we heard an emergency in progress and as a plane went down due to an engine failure. You could tell the controller was shook up and a few planes assisted in looking for the ELT and rescue was dispatched to the location of the crash. Thankfully, it seems injuries were minor and everyone survived- 25 News: BREAKING NEWS: Plane crash in Saginaw County.

On we flew, and going "feet wet" over Lake Michigan was pretty cool.

When over water you don't want to adjust your power setting, mixture or fuel tank as those are the three most likely causes of engine failure, which would be bad.

I landed at KESC just minutes behind the other two aircraft in the group.

The landing was one of my best, nice and smooth and one of the pilots on board said it was smoother than how they land their CRJs. Bit of an ego boost, that as I always like to have my passengers happy with my landings.

Then to the picnic.

Quite a good turnout and both State Senator Ed McBroom [in the blue shirt] and State Rep Beau LaFave were there. Both are pro-second amendment and have been working on a variety of bills, including one to fix an issue with Concealed Carry Permits.

Some speeches took place including one from Tom Lambert, President of Michigan Open Carry.

Food was eaten, friends made, and as usual the people up in Escanaba are just top-rate nice folks.

Heck, even the airport manger was at the picnic and he was open carrying! He replaced the prior airport manager who had been from California and called the Sheriff on us last year when our passengers were open carrying in the General Aviation section of the airport, which is legal. Bit of a culture change at the airport.

On the flight home however, weather presented some issues. We were able to remain VFR but had to skirt some storm cells and instead of trying to thread through them we decided to stay on the west side of the state to about Grand Rapids to get well around them before heading for Pontiac. One of the flight tried to IFR their way through and ending up delayed and re-routed to the north to avoid the storms for quite awhile and I beat them home by a considerable margin even as they had a faster airplane. The ATP pilots were very helpful in planning the route back, the guys had weather route planning down to a science and made it look easy - I learned a lot from them and still have more to learn for sure.

Large cloud formations abounded, and I could only get as high as 6,500-7,500 due to cloud layers.

Here's the route back:

Contacting Pontiac, I was told to notify them when I was 2 miles from the downwind and then to land on 27R.

Again I did a really nice smooth landing. I was most pleased at keeping the professionals happy. Both enjoyed the flights a lot and enjoyed getting out for a jaunt in a GA aircraft. Really nice guys the both of them.

Thanks to a tailwind, we were doing 130 knots ground speed on the way back, so even with the route we got back quicker than when we headed out into a 9 knot headwind. 3.0 hours there versus 2.6 back.

It was a great flight both ways.

That's 5.6 hours and 2 landings.


B said...

And that, my friend, is the reason we learned to fly....

Congrats, and glad you had fun.

We still gotta fly in to meet up with ERJ sometime this summer.

B said...

What plane were you flying?

Aaron said...

B: Yes that it is and yes we do.

I was flying the Archer. Still waiting on the instructor for time to complete the Dakota checkout.

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Aaron;

Welcome back :) Glad you had a good time and it is Always a good thing when you can get some flying time.

Old NFO said...

Sounds like a great day!