Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Home again, home again

The first major cold front of the fall tore through the country on Thursday and Friday night.  It rained just enough in Front Royal to give Cav a much needed bath.
But the corollary of a cold front is gusty north winds the next day.  And there was a strong jet loop that was in just the wrong place.  That meant strong north west winds over the Appalachians, and strong headwinds along any route back to Texas.  The only good news was good VFR the whole way.

So I flight planned a southern route for the trip home, modified to get away from the mountains and the turbulence they can generate.  kfrr kbuy kdcm keet ktcl kier 88r
As soon as I left the ground in Front Royal, it started.  I got tossed around for the entire time I was in the air.   Just as soon as I was downwind of the mountains I earned a really good jolt, banging my head and rearranging a few loose items.  Fortunately my tactic of fleeing the vicinity of the mountains paid off, and that was the worst of the jolts for while.

The #4 EGT probe has been a bit unreliable.  I've proven that it's a connector issue since wiggling the wires makes the problem go away.  It worked great on the trip out, but stopped working as soon as I departed Front Royal.  But now there's another glitch, this one more problematic:  The fuel flow pickup is dropping out.  The bad news is this takes out my fuel totalizer that gives me range, time left on the remaining fuel, and lots of other useful numbers.  Not critical, but useful.  More problematic is the actual fuel flow number itself.  This is used for leaning the engine, and the % power is derived from it.  So I didn't have usable data for this.  Again not critical, since I can effectively lean by ear and with the remaining 3 EGT values.  But it does need to be fixed.  Early research points to possible connector issues.  I wonder if the rain on Friday night has anything to do with it...

Chester Catawba  (KDCM) was a hotbed of jumping.

A fancy rest stop in Georgia.

On final to KTCL, Alabama stadium.  Fortunately they were in Mississippi.

I took off from Shelby County, Alabama (KEET), and Birmingham Approach gave us all an Airmet update for Alabama.   I'd been relentlessly hammered for 5 and a half hours, it was late and I was beginning to doubt I could beat sunset, so I called it quits.  A nice Class Delta was off my right wing, so I informed Approach of my diversion and landed.  It turned out to be Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide.  My hotel was across the street from the practice fields.   If they had been in town, no way would I have gotten a hotel.

Cav got a room for the night too!

The Alabama game was on lots of TVs.  It was on at Shelby County also.

What do ya know, the hotel van takes me right past the stadium.


Vicksburg, MS.

Hobbs total: 8.8 hrs, the same as outbound.  Interesting.

Harvest time

Pictures of the 2014 harvest.
Lots of grapes

TollGate Farm. The old cabin dates from about 1730.

The spring house.

Dad checking on the Viogner.

That's about an acre of Viogner.

Cabernet Franc.

I got a little bit of tractor time!

Petite Verdot, with bird netting.

Today's bonus picture.
This was taken at night, with a flash of course. I walked out in the yard near where the tractor is and the ground had all these little glowing lights. I managed to extract this little critter. It was glowing in my hand. I have not yet identified it.

I have a candidate ID on this little critter: Pyractomena.  It grows up to be a different kind of firefly beetle.

To Virginia again.

September/October means that grapes are ready to harvest, so I had booked vacation days for the last weekend of September to be at Dad's place.
I bought seats on Southwest to be safe, but the weather shaped up to be acceptable for the trip out.

If a flight starts with a rainbow, it must be a good flight, right?

I flight planned for Eldorado, Livingston, and then Front Royal.  That plan at least happened without any glitches.  I did make a couple extra stops.   An early in-flight defueling operation ended up less than satisfactory, so I decided to just land instead.

Leaving Texas again.

I had to contend with lower clouds, these prevented me from climbing for the first half of the trip.
But then I was able to get up above and into nice, smooth cruising.  I did have mild headwinds the whole way.

One of the stops. I forget where this was.

Like I said, headwinds

Crossing the Mississippi has always fascinated me.  I can't help but take lots of pictures.

There were scattered clouds, but they left me a lot of options.

The land is pretty rugged.

The first hint of fall in the leaves.

Radio telescopes at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  There's an airstrip, WV52.

The Shenandoah River.

Safely arrived at KFRR.

Dad was there waiting for me, we unloaded the plane and closed out that episode of cross country.
Hobbs total: 8.8hrs