Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flying Around the 2012 County Line Fire

As usual I haven't flown since we got back from Spring Break over two weeks ago. Not good for the plane or me! Unfortunately fire season has arrived with a vengeance here in Florida and visibilities were down to less than 3/4 mile in smoke yesterday all the way out to the coast. Yesterday's afternoon sea breeze pushed it all back inshore, but it was forecasted to return today. (See: Florida Forest Service)

With some available time this morning I decided to head out to the airport to at least "see" the plane and complete a few housekeeping items. When I left the house it was beautiful clear skies; no smoke! So with my chores complete, I went flying instead. Yeah!  I had no plan other than to just go fly. I thought about flying along the coast or flying to Plataka for fuel, but decided to just head west at first and then we'll see where we go.

I always try to "play" with something in the plane each time I fly to get to know her better. This time I played with the power setting tables to see if my airspeed remained unchanged with various combinations of RPM and manifold pressure to maintain 65% power. Sure enough it worked! I really shouldn't be surprised, but it was nice to confirm that the engine is working properly. So at 4500 feet I was flying at about 134 KIAS and 144 KTAS. While flying at 65% at the lower RPM of 2100 and higher manifold pressure of 24.3 in, I was burning well over a gallon per hour less. Every little bit helps so when I find myself flying a little lower, I'll have to remember to pull out the tables and use the lower RPM for desired settings.

So after heading west and with my playing complete, I came in to view of the County Line Fire located about 40 miles west of Jacksonville near the Taylor VOR in Northeast Florida. Currently there is a TFR over the area, but I stayed well above it and on the north and east sides of the fire lines. I took a few pictures and then descended to 3500 feet as I turned around an headed back for Jacksonville. I snapped a few more shots and enjoyed the flight back home.  It was a great morning, and I thank all those firefighters on the front lines!


  1. Wow! Striking photos. We didn't get this close to any of the fires when we flew to Florida last year, just saw plumes of smoke in the distance and smelled a faint trace of it in the air.

  2. Great pictures! It's nice to read blogs of those who are so passionate with what they do, specially those from the field of aviation. Though I hate fire like those, the picture of its smoke from your plane looks so good. Keep sharing your flight experiences! Thanks for this blog!

    James David teaches people how to buy single engine airplanes & has a passion for the Cessna 170

  3. Great shots....This post reminded me of my flights into and out of Nags Head and First Flgiht during all the fires.

    I'm not sure what was worse the smell or the smoke. ATC was asking for reports and trafiic was diverting. Not something I would like to deal with again.



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