Our Angel Flight of July 20th took us down to Greensboro NC to pick up a young lady (Melanie) that had been at Victory Junction Camp. From Greensboro we flew her home to Norfolk VA where she would be picked up by her Mother.
We departed home base Luray VA at 0830 and our flight conditions down to Greensboro at 6000 feet were smooth as glass and hazy with a very slight headwind component of about 5 knots. We arrived at Greensboro (KGSO) ahead of the Victory Junction Camp bus, but had only a short wait until they arrived (right on time at 1030). Along with them delivering Melanie to us they presented John and I each with a very nice Victory Junction Tee Shirt and a Victory Junction Beach towel along with a nice card thanking us for what we do in helping to provide transportation for the campers (Our sincere thanks goes out to Victory Junction Camp and John and I would like to say that what you all do for so many youngsters is absolutely wonderful !) “CLICK HERE” to visit Victory Junctions website. After our greetings with Melanie and the rest of the crew and campers we loaded up and departed Greensboro heading for Norfolk VA (KORF)
Our flight conditions at 7000 feet over to Norfolk were again very smooth and with a very slight tailwind component. I had asked Melanie if she likes to fly and she smiled and said yes, but that she did not like the bumps in the clouds…. so I told her to just think of them as a roller coaster ride, she smiled again and stated that she really did not like those either ! As we neared Norfolk and listened to ATIS (weather and airport information) we found that they were using runway 5 for arriving and departing aircraft. In order to save time getting cleared to land, we asked if runway 14 would be available (the wind was favoring 5 meaning 14 would have a crosswind). After a brief period we were cleared for a visual to runway 14 and proceeded in. Many times our request to ATC are granted and sometimes they are not, but the sure way not to get what you may like is not to ask ! (We find that ATC “Air Traffic Controllers” are a great bunch of guys and gals and we appreciate them very much)
As we walked thru the door at Signature we were greeted by Melanie’s Mom with a great big smile on her face….. not only did she give her daughter Melanie a great big hug, she gave Captain John and myself one as well and told us how much she appreciated what we do ! (There is no better pay than this !) After taking some pictures (and having some more hugs) we said our goodbyes and saw them on their way.
Normally on our flight home we initiate our IAP (In Air Picnic….. AKA Lunch), but on some special occasions when the timing is right, and we know in advance that a good Reuben sandwich is near…. or ….. we are in Norfolk near a some good seafood, we will skip our In Air Picnic and have lunch on the ground. This happened to be one of those special occasions…… the timing was right (just a little after noon) and we were in Norfolk! So Signature kindly gave us use of one of their very nice courtesy cars and a recommendation for good crab cakes and soup and off we were. We traveled a very short distance to a marina on a little inlet from Virginia Beach to a place called “Chicks Oyster Bar” and boy was it good ! While there, an amazing coincidence occurred ……. Seated at the table next to ours was a young family of four (Mom, Dad, Son and Daughter) that we started talking with and then found out that they were from our area ! …… And not only that, but come to find out, the young mans dad is George Shaffer ! Everyone in our home area knows George Shaffer, he has operated Shaffer’s Barbecue for many years (Some of the BEST Barbecue you will ever eat !) and to make it even more amazing, George catered Johns 90th Birthday Party that took place in our hanger at the Airport almost 4 years ago ….. how amazing of a coincidence is this ! Now the young man (Matt Shaffer) and his wife own and operate Shaffer’s Barbecue of Middletown VA.
Another very nice thing that worked out while we were using the courtesy car was we found out we were only a short distance from our Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic home office where all our flights are coordinated, so we made a short detour on the way back to the airport and paid a surprise visit to all the crew. We ended up spending more time there than we realized (Captain John is legendary down there……and everywhere else as far as that goes !) It was great seeing Mary Jane again and all the staff ! So after a bunch of hugs and a group picture we said our goodbyes and headed back to Norfolk International where we were eager to get back into a safe vehicle, our airplane (cars are dangerous) !
Once back at Norfolk International we turned the courtesy car back in and paid for having 49Bravos tanks topped off, then out we were to climb back into our safe space (49Barvo) for the flight home. We can not say enough about how nice we are always treated by Signature Flight Service at Norfolk International…. Our sincere thank you goes out to all the staff and crew employed there !
We had spent so much time having a great lunch and visiting with the staff at Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic that we went past the time our IFR flight plan was good for, so we departed Norfolk VFR with flight following and headed for home. Since we were flying VFR we had to dodge some cloud build ups on the way and for the most part our ride was smooth. At home base Luray we brought 49Bravo down on a very hot runway 4 and taxied to her hanger. After tucking 49Bravo in nice and cozy, as we always do, we started off on one of most dangerous parts of our day, the ride home !
Total Flight hours were 4.8 covering 518 nautical miles over 2 States
Thanks so much for your time and having an interest in what we do !
Following below are photos of the flight, a video showing all of our take off and landings, and a few interesting links. (Hope You Enjoy) !
Click on this Video below to fly with us on all of our take off and landings of the day !
Click here to find out about some of the best Barbecue there is …… Shaffer’s Barbecue and Catering of Woodstock VA
And click here to find our about their newest place in Middletown VA that Matt Shaffer and his family operate (We met Matt and his family while having lunch in Norfolk on this Angel Flight) !
Thanks viewing and Have a Great Day !
John Billings and Nevin Showman
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