|Map Of Our 2012 Flights|
We ended 2012 with a very successful Christmas road trip in the sky. The weather cooperated for the most part for the entire trip. We were only slightly delayed leaving Shreveport for San Antonio due to high winds (60+ knots @ 3000') and turbulence, but things calmed down nicely to get us in there safely at sunset. The only bad part of the trip was the next morning I awoke with a bad ear infection and then my Dad broke his foot falling down the stairs. Needless to say, Christmas itself was not as fun for me, but things cleared up after a week and we were able to continue on our journey.
I was surprisingly disappointed throughout the trip with the lack of availability of plugging in my pre-heater at the various airports were stayed at. Ambassador Aviation at Dallas was awesome again and kept our plane in their large heated hangar during our stay free of charge!!!! I paid to put the plane in the hangar for two of our nights while we were in Bentonville, AR since the temps the night before we departed dipped down to 20 degrees. It was an extra expense, but worth it to hop in and start up a somewhat warm airplane for the trip home.
The family did great throughout the trip. We loved seeing all the family and of course the kids loved opening all those presents! Overall we were "on the road" for 2 1/2 weeks and put 17.5 hours on the plane. It was amazing to shift my weather focus to cold weather flying and icing possibilities instead of my usual thunderstorm avoidance. Everything worked out really well with the plane, the cold weather, and we found out the heater works great!
We haven't done much since we got home. I've tooled around a bit in the local area, but my main accomplishment was completing my Flight Review & Instrument Proficiency Check last week. For the most part the weather in Jacksonville has been pleasant lately, but leave it to me to do my FR/IPC on a day with wind 12G20 knots on the surface and pushing 30 knots at 3000'. As soon as we were wheels up, it felt like I was in a rodeo. Anyway, we shot numerous approaches & holds, did steep turns & stalls, and other maneuvers before completing the flight portion of the check with a pretty strong crosswind landing. Overall it went pretty well and my instructor emphatically stated if I could get 'er done in those condition, I would definitely have no problems.
So what's next? Well ........ I get to leave this Thursday for the first Bahamas Habitat Fly In & Help Out Event for 2013. The itinerary is the same as last year. I am excited that my Dad has signed up to go with me. We'll see what projects we get to help work on and I just look forward to once again having the opportunity to give back to the amazing people of the Bahamas! Stay tuned.......