Friday, July 01, 2022

Flying: Flew To Grand Rapids T'Other Day

Yesterday I had a hearing in Kentwood, Grand Rapids to clean up a client's record.

The court decided that it would not be done by Zoom but had to be live. 

Considering we originally filled this back in January when everything was Zoom only, that was a bit unfortunate.

The Courthouse in Grand Rapids is a solid two and a half hour drive from the office.

Might as well put that pilot certificate to use.

Did the pre-flight and all was well.  Put the suit in a bag and packed the plane and got ready to go.

Arranged for VFR flight following with Pontiac Ground and  then did the run-up with no issues.

Took off from Pontiac with winds 14-22 out of 190 which was a bit of a bracing crosswind and made for a fun takeoff. 

Headed west and got passed off to Detroit Approach  Climbed to 5,500 to stay under Detroit's Class B shelf of 6,000 feet at that point, and once clear of that climbed to 6,500.

Some light turbulence but nothing serious. Beautiful day otherwise.

Then I got handed off to Great Lakes Approach and flew right over Landing airport at 6,500 feet and then straight on to Grand Rapids.

Did a practice RNAV 26R approach and it got a little sporty for the landing with some very heavy gusts that made it a tad challenging as the bottom really tried to drop out on landing.

Landed and got progressive taxi to Avflight, the FBO I had called ahead for coming in for fuel and transport.

Progressive taxi means they break the directions down into stages.  Grand Rapids is a big airport, I had never been taxiing around there before, and I didn't want to make a mistake on the way to find the FBO and mess things up, especially as it involves crossing runways.  I shall not bust a runway by mistake.

No worries, the controllers were most gracious and got me to Avflight.

Avflight simply rocks, they guided me into their ramp, and literally place a red carpet at the exit to your aircraft, regardless of whether you're a bizjet or a small Archer like me.  Super nice folks.

I opened the door and discovered the door hinge had separated from the door and the wind slammed it against the cowling.  Crap.

Went into Avflight, had them fill up the plane as happily gas in Grand Rapids is a little cheaper than in Pontiac. Still the bill was kinda ugly compared to before, thanks Brandon.

Avflight had a complimentary crew car available (first come first served) which was great and after changing and doing a little work I head to court. Really nice Ford Focus, in great shape and a joy to drive.

Had the hearing and got a very successful result for my client.

Interestingly since it was the criminal motion call, mainly traffic matters, got to see the court in action.

They had a neat system for translators where they call a number and the translator is assigned based on the language spoken and piped through the court's speakers. Unfortunately with a translator everything takes more than twice as long as what each side says is translated, the response to it is translated and then it continues.

Weirdly the court stated they needed a Kenyan-Rwandan language translator or so it sounded to me.   Seemed strange as I didn't think Kenya and Rwanda shared a language, and in fact they don't.  Turns out the language is Kinyarwanda.  Interesting.

Some hilarity ensued when one translator started translating in what was Swahili (which is one of the major languages in Kenya -- but not in Rwanda) and the defendant was giving completely blank looks and clearly had no idea what the translator was saying.  Translator then switched to Kinyarawanda and all was well. Apparently he thought it was a translation from Kenyan as well at the start. So no, disabuse yourselves of the notion that all Africans speak Swahili.

In short Kentwood has a ton of Rwandans living there and based on there being Rwandans as the majority by far in the court that day it seems that a ton of them seem to be happily driving around without a license, speeding, and getting into accidents or all three at once.

Got back to the airport, did another weather brief, changed and pre-flighted the plane.  They had filled it nice and full and I got it started up, got the ATIS for weather, got guided off the ramp and then called Clearance Delivery and requested flight following, got a squawk code,  and then progressive taxi. 

Clearance was sharing duties with ground so they kept me on their frequency and I got directed to 26R for takeoff, entered the run-up area and had a good run up, contacted Ground and taxi'd to the runway, spoke to Tower and was instructed to fly runway heading and climb only to 3,500.

Took off, and the wind was still gusting along at 16-22 from 220 but no issues and I stayed on runway heading.

Then got passed to Great Lakes Departure and they had me fly south and allowed me to climb to 5,500.

They then let me resume my own navigation on course direct to Pontiac.

I flew over Grand Ledge Airport, where may years ago, Murph had taken me up for my first night flight in a small plane.


Flew over Lansing again and then to Pontiac.


Pontiac had some gusting winds as well, blowing  210 from 11-16.  I got the weather at Pontiac before the handover to Detroit Approach, then about 12 miles out and I had the airport in sight, they stated radar services terminated, keep the squawk code I was using, and contact Pontiac Tower.

Pontiac had me enter a right downwind for Runway 27R and report when I was 2 miles out, which I did.  

I was then cleared to land and a jet was coming in on 27L at the same time so i got a warning for wake turbulence.

I flew and did the pattern, which, considering I've been doing approaches all this time was a nice change, and came in for perhaps one of my best landings ever on 27R.  With a 8 knot headwind and 13.9 knot Crosswind, I landed right on Center-line smoothly and right at my landing point.  Couldn't have asked for better.

Clearly, no one was watching me land at the time.

Tower had me stay with them to taxi back to the hangar and I then shut the plane down, washed off the bugs, and was done.

1.4 there, 1.3 back, 2.7 cross-country time, 2.7 solo time, 1 practice approach, 1 ok landing, and one great landing, and a first time using the plane as a real time-saver to get me to and from work. Both a fun and very useful flight.


juvat said...

Sounds like a fun trip, glad it went well (both the flight and the court stuff).

Chuck Pergiel said...

"1.4 there, 1.3 back, 2.4 cross-country time, 2.4 solo time"
I understand the first two numbers as travel time, but what are the last two?

Aaron said...

juvat: Thanks! It was a great time sure beat driving.

Chuck: That's 'cause I math'ed up it's actually 2.7 hours of cross country flying (any flight over 50nm is considered cross country) and 2.7 solo as in all by myself.