John Billings ………. ( Flying with a Purpose….. to bring Help and Hope to those in Need ) ………. Nevin Showman
Angel Flight February 4th 2016
* Photos of todays Flight follow the Story
Todays Angel Flight was from Home Base (Luray Virginia) to Akron Ohio… from Akron to Lancaster Pennsylvania and then back home to Luray. Total flight time was 5.4 hours and total flight distance was 591 miles….. and today was my turn to fly (Nevin). This mission consisted of three different legs for our passengers that originated in Kalamazoo Michigan and ended in Bedford Massachusetts. This type of flight this time of year is often hard to coordinate due to the winter weather of the northeast…… as a matter of fact todays flight was actually scheduled for yesterday but due to a strong low pressure system and a cold front moving over the area the flight was canceled (Safety First). Even today the flight was not decided a go until early this morning due to possible icing for our first Pilot (Dick Lawrence)…. there was also a possibility that Dick and Us both would pick up a little ice descending into and then climbing back out of Akron Ohio due to a cloud cover that was forecasted for that area that had tops of about 6000 feet. We departed Luray at 0930 and climbed to a cruise altitude of 6000 feet… at first the ride was smooth and free of clouds, then after passing over the Appalachian we began to encounter some wave action and also started to mingle with the tops of a broken cloud layer beneath us. We decided to request 8000 feet and was granted a climb. The wave action ceased and we was now over a beautiful sea of clouds beneath us. The rest of our ride to Akron was smooth with a headwind of around 20 knots. Akron was overcast with some snow flurries which required us to land via an instrument approach, which was an ILS to runway 23….. due to icing up in the clouds we held off our descent as long as possible (we was granted by ATC to leave 8000 and go to 3000 at our discretion) So we set up for vectors for the ILS 23 approach and was given headings by ATC. We entered the clouds at about 5500 feet and came out right at about 3000….. with runway on and off in site thru some lower scattered clouds. We was cleared to land and once again 49bravo brought us back to earth. We was to meet Dick and our passengers Leanne and Cristina at the FBO between 1200-1230… it was now about 1205 and we had picked up just a trace of ice coming down thru the clouds, which came off on the ground due to the temp being just slightly above freezing. Once inside the FBO we found that Dick had sent us a message that he had picked up a good amount of ice going into Kalamazoo and he had his airplane in a heated hanger to get it off (departing with ice on an aircraft is not something you want to do !) This created a delay of about an hour and a half but would not hinder the mission. Dick and the Ladies arrived at Akron at about 1330. We departed Akron heading to Lancaster at around 1415, once turned over to departure control we was cleared to 7000 feet and climbed thru the cloud deck picking up a little ice on the way that came off during flight, again we was on top of a sea of clouds, the air was smooth and we had a nice tailwind of about 25 knots. We arrived in Lancaster at around 1600 and was able to do a visual approach to runway 26 after ATC gave us lower which got us thru the clouds. Steve Molder was waiting for us….. He would continue Leanne and Cristina onto Bedford Mass. Once saying our goodbyes we departed Lancaster at about 1630 and headed back to home base, Luray…… we was cleared to 6000 feet and was clear of clouds all the way. It was absolutely Beautiful watching the Sun Set as we navigated back home ! We canceled IFR at around Front Royal and continued VFR to make a night landing on runway 4 at Luray. Was another Great Day of Flying today and as always….. an Honor to be flying with Captain John ! Mission Completed !