On this flight, we departed home base Luray at around 8:15 am and headed for Richmond Va where we met up with our passenger Diana. We have flown Diana many times, as a matter of fact, Diana was our most frequent flyer for all of 2017! From Richmond, we flew Diana up to Gaithersburg Md where she would be having her appointment.
As we departed home base heading to Richmond we entered the clouds at about 1700 feet with the climb out being very smooth up and over the Blue Ridge Mountains (that we could not see). At our assigned cruise altitude of 7000 feet, we were in the clouds and our flight conditions were very smooth with a nice tailwind component. The outside air temperature was 45 degrees so ice was not a threat. As we neared Richmond the rain was picking up in intensity but the ride was still smooth. We requested a GPS LPV approach for runway 15 and came out of the clouds at about 900 feet AGL with the runway right in front of us as if awaiting our arrival!
Once in the FBO and out of the rain we secured ourselves in some comfortable seats while waiting for Diana’s arrival (we were slightly ahead of schedule) But the time came and passed for Diana to be there and we soon found out that she had left home without some of her critical medical papers she very much-needed for her appointment, so she had to turn around and head back home to get them in traffic that was much less than desirable! She actually made pretty good time getting back and soon we were exchanging greetings and hugs as we prepared for our departure for Gaithersburg.
As we walked out to the 49Bravo and loaded up, the rain was still coming down….. an advantage a high wing airplane has over a low wing airplane (while boarding during rain) is that you have a wing over you at the cabin doors which really helps a lot! After loaded and secured we got our IFR clearance and departed from Richmond on runway 33 heading back up into the clouds on our way to Gaithersburg MD. Flight conditions at our assigned altitude of 6000 feet were again smooth with the first half being in the clouds and the second half just thru some scattered layers. ATC routed us around the west side of the DC-restricted areas but kept us in tight with vectors which really helped to reduce our total flight time and distance. We made a visual approach into Gaithersburg with 3 other airplanes ahead of us in the pattern for runway 32 (it is a busy little airport with no tower). After parking, we walked to the FBO and waited while Diana made a connection with UBER for a ride to her appointment. While waiting on UBER we enjoyed some great conversation with Diana (she seems like family to us) then as her ride pulled up we exchanged more hugs and wished her well. After waving goodbye as they drove off we headed out to 49Bravo ready to head home.
Once receiving our IFR clearance for back home we departed Gaithersburg from runway 32. After leveling off at our assigned altitude of 6000 feet we settled back and activated our I.A.P. (In Air Picnic)…….. and boy was it welcomed! There is nothing quite like having a nice lunch while watching the world go by underneath you (the view from our office windows are awesome)! Flight conditions as we traveled along were fairly smooth and clear with a slight headwind component. About 20 miles out from home base we canceled our IFR with ATC and continued VFR with a visual approach to runway 4.
After another great landing by Captain John, We tucked 49Bravo back into her hanger almost at the same time the coffee was getting ready! We were joined for coffee by Danny (one of our airport’s staff) and discussed things of much importance! Danny is a student pilot who recently had his first solo….. so our conversation was focused on flying, which is not too surprising because that is usually what they are focused on! When the last drop of coffee was consumed we began one of our most dangerous parts of the day….. the drive home!
Total flight time for this mission was 3.3 hours covering 308 nautical miles over 3 states, and was Mission Number 421 for Captain John and Mission Number 291 for Nevin.
Photos of our flight……
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