Angel Flight February 8th 2018

     Today we departed home base Luray at 7:15am heading for Charleston WV. This flight originally was scheduled for yesterday the 7th, but due to weather conditions we canceled, fortunately our passenger Frank was able to get his medical appointment moved up a day.

     Once aloft we turned 49Bravo’s nose westbound and climbed up and over our beautiful Massanutten Mountains. After getting our IFR clearance from ATC we continued our climb up to our assigned altitude of 7000 feet. Our climb was smooth as we passed thru scattered clouds. 7000 feet put us over the scattered clouds which turned into a solid layer as we started over the Appalachian Mountains into West VA. Our ride at cruise altitude was smooth with occasional mountain wave action. We had a strong headwind component of around 40 knots making our ground speed average about 90 knots. As we neared Charleston the clouds below us were producing snow on the ground….. once cleared for our descent we entered the clouds figuring we would come out of them with enough visibility for a visual approach into Charleston (which is what they were broadcasting), but as we got nearer we found that we were in a fairly good snowstorm passing over the Charleston area reducing visibility considerably requiring us to make an instrument approach to the runway. Approach control alerted us to the lower visibility at the airport and gave us vectors for an ILS 23 approach. Our flight conditions at this point were very smooth with very little visibility due to the snow coming down. After we captured the glide path and continued down, we got the runway in sight at about 1600 feet and proceeded to land with no issues in some new fallen snow.

Here you can watch our decent down thru the snow to land

“After watching the video scroll down to continue”

     After landing on runway 23 we had a little distance to cover getting to the FBO, taxing along in the newly fallen snow (the airport had 3 “Brooms” in action working on clearing the taxi ways and runway……..the brooms where 3 large trucks with rotating brushes on the front of them) Once parked, we headed into the FBO (it was still snowing) and found Frank, our passenger, waiting for us with a big smile ! We had ask Frank to be at the airport around 8:45 and we walked in at about 8:55, so timing worked out great ! After introducing ourselves to Frank along with a little conversation, we visited the little room that no Pilot should ever walk by without using and then we loaded up for our flight to Frederick MD (at Frederick MD Frank would be continuing onto Teterboro NJ with Angel Flight Pilot John Clough)

     After receiving our IFR clearance we began our taxi to the runway (it was still lightly snowing) We had been given taxi instructions back to runway 23 for departure, but during our taxi I requested runway 5 if possible (this would be more convenient for our route of flight) and it was approved….. they did have to re-position the “3 brooms” that were still working on removing the snow. Once at the hold clear line we did our engine run-up and contacted the tower, letting them know we were holding clear runway 5 and ready to go. Tower cleared us for takeoff with instructions to turn right on course after departure. As I let my feet off the brakes to maneuver onto the runway I immediately noticed what seemed to be ice on the brakes making them catch….. which made sense, because we had just taxied thru quite a lot of snow getting to the runway and then with holding the brakes while doing the run-up we thought that ice was certainly the reason ….. so we dismissed it as a no issue figuring it would come free as we began our takeoff roll….. and sure enough the take off roll along with the rotation to liftoff was perfectly normal, so problem gone !  ……. or so we thought. 

Here you can watch us from getting out clearance to take-off

“After watching the video scroll down to continue”

     As we climbed up thru the light snow we came out on top of the clouds into the bright beautiful sunshine at around 6000 feet, continuing on to our final cruise altitude of 9000 feet. Once leveled off at 9000 feet, our flight conditions in the bright blue sky were very smooth over a fairly solid deck of clouds, with a very nice tail wind component making our speed over the ground average about 170mph. Frank, our passenger, is a frequent flyer…… (he needs to go this way every 2 weeks for his appointments)…. and on occasion he has needed to make this trip by train, which ends up taking around 15 hours !  As we neared the higher points of the Appalachian Ridges we encountered some minor wave action, then after passing over the ridges, getting back into Virginia, the solid cloud deck that had been below us was now just occasional scattered clouds….. so as we neared Frederick MD we were able to make a visual approach to the airport. We were cleared for a visual approach to runway 30, then soon there after we were cleared to land. After landing and beginning our rollout to our exit point, we began to notice the same feeling that we did back in Charleston when we thought it was ice on the brakes….. but now that did not make sense, because if it was ice originally it would have been cleared during our take-off roll leaving Charleston…..and as we turned off the runway and started our taxi to the FBO the problem worsened, still feeling very much like the brakes were grabbing. It was not long until we found the real reason for our problem….. it was a flat front nose wheel tire ! 

Here we are landing on runway 30 at Frederick MD with a flat nose tire

“After watching the video scroll down to continue”

     To make a long story shorter, after parking we greeted John Clough  (Franks Angel Flight Pilot that would continue him onto Teterboro NJ)…. then we took some pictures and said our goodbyes to Frank as he and John headed out on their way. Everyone knew we had a flat nose tire (hard not to notice from outside the airplane) and soon we were making arrangements with Signature Service to see to our needs. Everyone was very helpful and courteous, working right thru their lunch hour installing a new tire and tube ! 

     Our delay in Frederick was about 3 hours and at around 2:20pm we were back in 49Bravo getting our IFR clearance for home. We were given taxi instructions to runway 30, and this time it was very smooth with no problems ! Once cleared for take-off, we departed and headed for home. Our flight conditions at 6000 feet were smooth with still some mountain wave action as we neared our valley.  At about 20 miles out we canceled our IFR and made a visual approach into home base, landing straight in on runway 22.

Here we are landing back at home base (Angel Flight Mission Completed)

“After watching the video scroll down to continue”

     After getting 49Bravo tucked back into her hanger we enjoyed some great hot coffee and discussed the events of the day, both of us still feeling that we were convinced that our problem  back at Charleston was due to ice on the brakes……. not even thinking about a possible nose tire issue. Looking back, what we probably  should have done was to let the tower know we had some type of issue and shut down right there so we could get out and take a look….. so a another day was not wasted, lessons were learned. After finishing our coffee we closed up shop and started out on one of our most dangerous parts of the day (REALLY)……. our drive home !  

     Thank You for your time in reading about our flights….. and if you have any chance while with others…. help us to spread the word of Charitable Flying and Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic !

Following are photos of our Flight

Getting 49Bravo all warmed up for her early morning Angel Flight
Getting 49Bravo all warmed up for her early morning Angel Flight
Back seat ready for Frank
Back seat ready for Frank
Over the frosted Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia
Over the frosted Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia
7000 feet and above the clouds over West Virginia    (It is snowing down below)
7000 feet and above the clouds over West Virginia (It is snowing down below)
Somewhere over West Virginia heading to Charleston
Somewhere over West Virginia heading to Charleston
On the ground in Charleston WV after landing in a little snow storm
On the ground in Charleston WV after landing in a little snow storm
DSCN0449
Climbing up and out of the clouds into the bright sunshine after taking off from Charleston in the snow
Looking down thru the clouds at the frosted trees
Looking down thru the clouds at the frosted trees
With Frank heading to Frederick Maryland
With Frank heading to Frederick Maryland
John ..... John ..... Frank ..... Nevin
John ….. John ….. Frank ….. Nevin

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