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Ahhhh, that feels a little better. Took some time out last night to go flying. Took some pictures with my phone, but none of them turned out really except for two (and it gives me a GREAT excuse to play with embedded images in my blog text). So for your enjoyment, first we have the plane that I flew last night;
And now the sunset that I took a picture of from the ramp at St. Charles County Smartt;
BTW, comments about my crappy parking of the plane will be summarily ignored; there was noone else around and I knew I’d be leaving again pretty soon.
So what was the story and plan? Well, I took off out of 3SQ at about 6:30pm Central and headed out to the West. Initially I thought about heading down around the Washington area but changed my mind partly due to a balloon that was right on my flight path at about 2600 feet. It was a good 8 or 10 miles away, and I could have gone around it easily enough but decided that I’d just change my plan and head North West. Now, this is my usual “playground” in a Cessna; between two rivers and heading up generally the East bank of the Illinois river.
Anyway, cruised up that way for about 50 miles or so (nautical FYI) and climbed to 6500, and was about 10 miles from Quincy, IL when I decided just to change my plan a little and go land at an airport I’ve never been to before. Lo an behold on my sectional is an airport called Jacksonville, IL… almost exactly due East of my position. So I climb to 7500 and head on over to the East and over the Pruitt Military Operations Area (extends to 6000 feet) Although you can quite legally fly through the MOA, I figured it would be good “airspace recognition practice” to stay above it until I came out near Jacksonville.
So, as I got over the airspace I could see Jacksonville about 8 miles ahead of me. I did some nice slow and lazy circles as I descended to pattern altitude and finally came in nice and slow for a good landing in Jacksonville. Hmm… 7:20pm. Time for a soda! Grabbed a quick soda from the vending machine and took off again with said soda in the passenger seat.
Came out of Jacksonville and headed almost exactly due South again. Since the sun was setting, the bumpiness I’d encountered earlier was starting to peter out. Climbed to 4500 feet and flew a track of 184 which would take me back to St. Charles County Smartt.
Came over the river at around 2000 feet and entered a nice smooth downwind for runway 09. Found myself feeding in a lot of trim as I decelerated from the 120 knot AIRSPEED I’d somehow managed to muster but touched down with a nice greaser right past the numbers, and slow enough to come off on the first exit to the taxiway. Sweet. As I taxied to the ramp I watched a powered parachute take off from the grass and commented to the pilot over the radio that it looked like fun. Didn’t receive a response… but he was pretty busy.
Anyway, made good time… shut down on the ramp at 8:10. Civil twilight begins in 45 minutes, so I just chilled on the ramp and drank the diet coke I’d bought in Jacksonville and hadn’t gotten around to drinking yet. Made some phone calls to friends, and finally wantched that PPC come back in and land at almost less than a good walking pace. Cool.
9:10pm I took off again on 09, stayed in the pattern for two take-offs and landings to a full stop, then headed back to the Southwest and back in at 3SQ on runway 09 to shut down at 9:25pm almost on the dot. Since I’d rented the plane up to 9:30pm that was good timing… and yes, I parked it better on the ramp at 3SQ. 🙂
All in all, a very relaxing evening out. Had a lot of fun, watched the world from 7500 feet as I cruised and enjoyed the hell out of the view. Not the cheapest hobby in the world… but VERY engrossing.