John Billings ………. ( Flying with a Purpose….. to bring Help and Hope to those in Need ) ………. Nevin Showman
Angel Flight December 27th 2017
Today (on our last Angel Flight of 2017) we headed down to Norfolk Va, from there we would be flying our little passenger Daniel and his mom to Beckley WVa. From Beckley, Angel Flight Pilot Charlie Poll would continue them on to Columbus Oh.
We departed home base Luray at around 8:15 am and climbed on up and over the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains leveling off at our cruise altitude of 7000 feet. Flight conditions were smooth with some fairly strong upper level winds creating (on this leg) a very nice tailwind component. We made very good time getting to Norfolk and landed ahead of schedule and before little Danial and his mom Monchea arrived.
After Daniel and his mom arrived we exchanged greetings and hugs (we have flown Daniel before) and headed on out to 49 Bravo. It was a very cold day (even in Norfolk) and at our destination of Beckley WVA, light snow was forcasted and the air would be frigid !
Our flight to Beckley at 6000 feet had a fairly strong headwind component averaging around 25 knots which really slowed us down. Along with the headwind we experienced some wave action over the Appalachian Mountains with light turbulence while in and out of some scattered cloud layers (the outside air temperature at this time showed around 10 degrees and at this point, ice was not factor). The previous time we flew Daniel and his mom (back in the summer) we were going thru clouds that had moderate turbulence due to summer time convective activity (so Daniel is not so crazy about going through bumpy clouds)
As we neared Beckley the clouds were lower and more solid with light snow falling below them. We landed at Beckley with a GPS approach to runway 28, breaking out of the clouds into light snow at about 1100 feet agl. During our approach down thru the cloulds we picked up a little light ice. Our fellow Pilot (and Great Friend) Charlie Poll and his co-pilot had arrived early and were waiting for us in the Restaurant at the FBO where they treated us all to lunch ! (actually when they saw us coming in they came out in the cold and greeted us at the airplane)! As we all enjoyed our nice lunch together (compliments of Charlie) in the warmth of the Restaurant, light snow continued falling outside. Once finished with lunch, we gathered for some photos and our goodbyes (along with more hugs with Daniel and his Mom) then we all headed out to our cold airplanes to depart on our way.
As we departed Beckley headed for home the snow was still falling lightly and the winds made the air very frigid. We lifted off from runway 1 and climbed on up entering the clouds at around 1200 agl. Once cleared by ATC we continued our climb up to 9000 feet breaking out of the clouds as we climbed thru 6000. At 9000 feet we were in the clear with very strong tail winds of 40 plus knots giving us a ground speed averaging over 200 mph ! We made very good time in fairly smooth air heading back home.
As we entered our beautiful Shenandoah Valley we had scattered cloud cover around 3000 feet and up with snow squalls over home base Luray. We canceled our IFR flight plan and descended down around the clouds landing on runway 4 with light snow falling.
After we tucked 49Bravo snugly back into her hanger we enjoyed a nice cup of hot coffee in a very cold hanger along with Jimmy (our good friend and airport employee)…… then, as always, we started off on one of our most dangerous parts of the day, our drive home !
Total flight time for this, our last Angel Flight Mission of 2017, was 4.8 hours covering 537 miles over 2 states. This makes Angel Flight Mission number 418 for Captain John and Angel Flight Mission number 288 for myself (Nevin)….. Thank you all so much for following our flights !
Following are Photos of our Flight
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