We had been signed up for this Angel Flight for awhile but as time neared it came close to being canceled due to not having another pilot for the second leg (this flight originally was set up as two individual legs between Pittsburgh PA and Columbia SC with a stop in Blacksburg VA) So to keep the mission from being canceled and our passengers not having a flight home, we decided to do the entire flight non stop from Pittsburgh to Columbia.
Our flight to Pittsburgh was smooth as we headed slightly northwest over the Alleghany Mountains thru West Virginia and Maryland to Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is a fairly short flight from home base (and one we make quite often). Our flight time up was 1.2 hours covering 126 nautical miles.
In Pittsburgh (Alleghany County Airport) we found our passenger Ernest and his wife, Louise, right on time and waiting for us in the FBO lobby. This would be their first time flying with us and they were so happy that we took on the entire mission seeing to it that that had a way back home! After our greetings and taking care of some very necessary things (such as a bathroom visit…..it would be a three plus hour flight to SC) we loaded up and departed Pittsburgh heading south to Columbia SC.
Our flight to Columbia was a long one (3.5 hours) covering 402 nautical miles, but even so, time flew by (I had to say that!) and our flight conditions were good with fairly smooth air as we traveled in and out of the clouds. As we neared Columbia, a storm cell was working west of the field and our instrument approach we made to get down thru the clouds took us right into it, but really it was no more than just a little light rain as we turned in on our final approach to land.
After getting inside the FBO at Eagle Air, it was very nice seeing a sign showing “Restrooms”…… being in the air that long kind of pushes the limit! Ernest and Louise were so glad to be home and let us know again how grateful they were to us for doing the entire mission. After we said our goodbyes and took a group photo, we waved to them as they headed out to their car ready to drive home.
Our flight back home was also fairly long (2.9 hours) covering 316 miles with good flight conditions. As we neared home base our thoughts were on that nice cup of coffee (first of the day) that we would have after tucking 49Bravo back into her hanger!
Our total flight time for this double mission was 7.6 hours covering 840 miles over 6 States! It was a long day, but very rewarding getting to fly Ernest and his wife and knowing that they did not have to worry about how they would have got home otherwise.
A little interesting tidbit….. if we would have driven to Pittsburgh PA then to Columbia SC and back home, the total time would have been well over 19 hours!
Oh yea, one last note…….. our coffee back at the hanger was absolutely fantastic and this was Angel Flight Mission number 430 and 431 for Captain John and Angel Flight Mission number 300 and 301 for myself (Nevin)
Have a Great Day! ……. Captain John and Nevin