Today, January 6th, we departed home base Luray and headed southwest to Tazewell Virginia. As we climbed up to our cruise altitude of 7000 feet, we were greeted by some fairly strong turbulence before even getting over the Appalachian Mountains (Tazewell is located in the southwest corner of Virginia, and flying direct from Luray takes us over very mountainous areas of both Virginia and West Virginia) The winds were very strong today causing a headwind component going down that affected our ground speed considerably. Amazingly, as we got over the mountains the turbulence smoothed out and was replaced by some major wave action (up and downdrafts that run in cycles due to the strong winds flowing over the ridgetops)… this presents a problem with holding your altitude because on a strong downward wave you can slow to a point of stall, and on a strong up wave you can get excessive speed… and that was the case today… but there is an out, and that is requesting a block altitude from ATC. This allows you to ride up and down with the waves between two authorized levels (ours today was 6000-8000 feet) this took care of the major wave action and for the most part during all of this, our ride was smooth! The winds at our levels today ranged between 40 and 50 knots. We made a visual approach into Tazewell with some minor chop on the way down. Tazewell is an interesting airport to land at, it is located on top of a mountain ridge with all types of varying terrain around it, which makes for some very interesting wind conditions during approach and take-off.
At Tazewell, we picked up Lee, our passenger. Lee’s medical appointments are at UVA, so once loaded… we departed Tazewell and turned east-northeast heading for Charlottesville Virginia. We climbed up to our cruise altitude of 9000 feet where we enjoyed a good tailwind component. Our flight conditions now were smooth with just a slight hint of wave action, so maintaining our assigned altitude was not a problem. We made fairly quick time, arriving at Charlottesville in just a little over an hour. As we descended for our approach we got back into some minor chop as we landed on runway 21.
After seeing Lee into the FBO and giving our goodbyes, we loaded back up for our short flight (22 minutes) over the Blue Ridge, landing back at home base Luray in some minor chop onto runway 22. As we turned the corner to our hanger and got out, we were greeted by Mr. Jimmy (our airport assistant manager) opening our hangar door for us! He informed us that we could not leave until his wife, Karen, got there (which was not a problem at all because she always treats us with homemade goodies)… she showed up with homemade pound cake, and it was still warm… what a treat! (Thank you so much Karen!) So we enjoyed coffee, delicious pound cake, and great fellowship in our hanger lounge with Karen and Jimmy before we headed out on one of our most dangerous parts of the day… our drive home! (the other dangerous part was our drive to the airport this morning)
Not a lot of pictures was taken today due to being busy working with the wave action… (I did put together a video though, of all of our take-off and landings) Thanks, as always, for following what we do… have a great day all!
(We are scheduled to fly Lee back home this Friday, January 10th)