I wanted to file direct, but didn't figure I'd get it because of the numerous MOAs, Alert, and Warning areas around the Florida Panhandle. I didn't want to file an airway either so I filed direct to MAI then direct to SJI then direct KNEW and got it! It still added a few miles to the route, but it was an easy route to fly.
As usual with this time of year we were bucking some headwinds flying west so I filed for 4000 feet. That kept us under an overcast layer and punching through a few small clouds every now and then.
As we approach NAS Whiting Field the clouds at our altitude started to increase so we were cleared to climb to 6000 feet which put us on top for a while. Even though the headwinds were a little stronger, the increased altitude was liked by the engine and our increased TAS easily offset them.
We had high hopes that Mary would quickly fall asleep after we took off since it was past her nap time. Unfortunately she didn't want to cooperate and became quite an unpleasant handful for Mom! Finally she relented and fell asleep in Mom's lap.
As we cleared Florida and approached Mobile, AL we were back in the clouds for about 10 minutes. At least it was a very smooth flight and with Mary asleep and Abby watching her DVD player, we cruised along in peace.
As we approached Gulfport, MS we flew into clear skies and prepared for our descent and arrival into New Orleans.
As we descended into New Orleans Lakefront Airport (KNEW), we could see some rain showing up to the west on XM weather. We could also hear the controllers diverting planes around New Orleans main airport (KMSY) due to heavy rain in the area. We flew through a very light shower on approach and easily arrived into the airport well before any weather did.
The ground crew at Flightline First marshaled us to the front of the FBO and stood by to assist with any of our needs. We felt like the Clampett's unloading the plane, but JP kindly said he'd seen much worse for fewer people! They called a taxi for us and like it had all been pre-arranged were were loaded in the taxi, the plane was secure, and they were taking care of our fuel order as we drove off. Their service and assistance was excellent!
We checked in to the hotel, had an easy, quick bite at IHOP down the street, and went to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long and exciting day!