Flying with a purpose.... to bring Help and Hope to those in need.
Angel Flight July 11th 2018
Todays flight had us rolling down runway 22 at home base Luray heading for Beckley WV. ATC had us climb up to 7000 feet for our cruising altitude as we headed over the beautiful Shenandoah Valley into West Virginia. After crossing over the first ridge of the Allegheny Mountains we began to poke holes thru the many clouds that were hanging around at our level. These were “want to be” clouds (they wanted to be big storms later in the day) and this made them angry each time we would push a hole thru them! (what I mean by angry is the fact that while we were in one it would bounce us all around …… this was due to the fairly strong vertical winds hidden inside them).
As we neared Beckley we were still mostly in the clouds, so we needed an instrument approach to get down. ATC cleared us for a GPS (LP+V) approach to runway 28 (this type of approach gives us both horizontal and vertical guidance from our instruments) and soon we came out of the clouds with runway 28 right there ready for us to land. It is such an amazing feeling coming down thru the soup with no outside visibility at all and then all of a sudden the runway appears right there in front of you as if saying “welcome my friend”!
We arrived at Beckley just slightly ahead of our connecting flight …… (on todays flight we were leg two of a two leg flight that originated in Cincinnati OH with Angel Flight Pilot Greg Frost) Greg and his co-pilot Dave landed soon after us with our passengers, 11 year old Sam and his dad, James. We would be continuing Sam and his dad home to Manassas VA. After our greetings and some conversation along with some paper work and photos, we departed Beckley east bound for Manassas.
Due to the fairly strong turbulence we had experienced poking thru the clouds earlier, we ask ATC if 9000 feet would be ok for our final curse altitude heading to Manassas (9000 would put us more above the clouds than in them)….. they quickly approved and we continued our climb on up. At 9000 we still were poking thru a few rising towers but not near as many as we would have a 7000 feet. Other than the bumps passing thru the clouds the ride was smooth with a little tail wind helping us along. As we neared Manassas and were cleared lower by ATC and made a visual approach to runway 34Right (parallel runways). Soon on the approach, the tower cleared us to land and Captain John brought 49bravo down very gracefully on the very hot runway at which time we both turned on our dual air conditioners…. (windows open)!
After getting inside the nice cool FBO and taking some pictures, we said our goodbyes to Sam and his dad as they headed out to their car to drive home, then we got back into 49bravo and taxied over to Rising Phoenix Aviation before we departed for home to visit with the owners (good friends of Captain John)…. and as it turned out, Captain John found himself giving a talk to a fairly large group of cadets from Randolph Macon-Academy that are in the academy’s flight training program….. Jeff, the owner of Rising Phoenix Aviation also teaches flight training at the academy and he just happened to be in the area with a van load of students! It was amazing watching them as they listened to Captain John with such intense interest!
After Captain Johns talk and a group picture, we had to say goodbye….. departing Manassas headed for home. Our flight back to home base at 6000 feet had a slight headwind component with a fairly smooth ride other then the bumps we got as we poked holes thru a few more clouds. We made a visual approach into Luray landing on runway four, completing Angel Flight Mission number 429 for Captain John and Angel Flight Mission number 299 for myself (Nevin)
After tucking 49bravo snugly into her hanger we both enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee while discussing things of much importance. Then, as always, we headed out on one of our most dangerous parts of the day, our drive home!
Total flight time for this mission was 3.9 hours covering 370 nautical miles over two states.
Following are photos of our flight……. not very many due to being either in or above the clouds most of the day. A Great Big Thank You to each and everyone of you all for your interest in following our flights!