Angel Flight June 15th 2017

In memory of Donald H. McClure

     We dedicate this Angel Flight Mission of June 15th 2017 to the memory of fellow pilot Donald H. McClure. Don lost his battle with cancer on May 30, 2017. John & Don flew many trips together with Eastern Airlines. He was a diligent and passionate worker on the Washington, DC safety committee with John for four and one half years and then continued working in that capacity for many years. That was followed by his continued work for air safety at the Air Line Pilots Association until his death. Don was a good friend, a pilot’s pilot and he will be greatly missed…

(In Honor of Don, we have presented to his wife, Donna McClure, one of the 30 American Flags that we carried with us on our flight around the Country in 2015)

Angel Flight June 15th 2017

     Our flight today began with a departure from home base Luray on runway 22 in the fog, we had a quarter mile of forward visibility and a ceiling of 100 feet. We knew (in advance) that the fog deck would be fairly shallow because as we traveled over the Massanutten Mountains, heading to the airport, we were able to see over the top and estimate its height. After takeoff we climbed up thru the fog and came out on top at 600 feet AGL (It was 500 feet thick).  From there we continued climbing on up to 6000 feet were we remained as we headed for Greensboro NC. The ride was smooth as glass and we arrived in Greensboro ahead of schedule landing on runway 23R.

Heading to Winchester VA with Peter
Heading to Winchester VA with Peter

Todays Angel Flight passenger was Peter Gregori. Peter had been at Victory Junction Camp for the past 4 days and we would be flying him home to Winchester VA. (Click here to check out what Victory Junction Camp is all about….. )  We generally always have a little stuffed animal on the backseat ready for our passengers, but after giving it some thought, we felt that may not be appropriate for a 15 year old young man….. so instead of a stuffed animal, we had a small scale model of a B24 (Model D) Airplane ready for him…. one much like what Captain John flew in WWII !  After Peter arrived on the Victory Junction Van we introduced ourselves and found out that we had flown Peter before, then after saying our goodbyes to the van driver and to the FBO staff, we loaded up and departed Greensboro NC heading for Winchester VA. Our ride was smooth for the most part except for occasionally flying thru some angry clouds that were thinking about growing up to become thunderstorms, we also flew thru some light rain showers which helped to get the bugs off of the windshield. We asked Peter on the way what he enjoyed most about Victory Junction and his reply was, basketball and zip lining ! (And by the way, Peter really liked the airplane that was waiting for him on his seat!)     

     Once arriving back in the Shenandoah Valley we found we were above about 2 layers of scattered clouds, so at about 20 miles out from Winchester VA we canceled our IFR and headed down thru an opening in the clouds to get under the layers, for a visual approach to Winchester Regional landing on runway 14. After Peters mom arrived to pick him up we gave our goodbyes and boarded back up for our 20 minute flight back home (only 34 nautical miles)…. after landing back on runway 22 and tucking 49Bravo back into her hanger, we each enjoyed a nice cup of hot coffee before beginning one of the most dangerous parts of the day….. our ride home !

     Following are photos of todays flight, thanks for viewing !

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Backseat ready for Peter…… we figured this would be better than a stuffed animal for a 15 year old young man
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Our view down the runway before departing Luray …….. we had to poke a hole in the fog ! (We had a quarter mile visibilty and a 100 foot ceiling) We came out on top of the fog at about 600 feet AGL
Having our I.A.P. early  (In air picnic !)
Having our I.A.P. early (In air picnic !)
On the ground at Piedmont Triad International (Greenboro NC)
On the ground at Piedmont Triad International (Greenboro NC)
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John and Peter heading out to load up for Peters trip home (Winchester VA) Peter had been at Victory Junction Camp for the last four days.
Heading to Winchester VA with Peter
Heading to Winchester VA with Peter
Some of the clouds wanted to grow up into storm cells
Some of the clouds wanted to grow up into storm cells
Do you see the head facing left with his arm pointing to something behind him ?
Do you see the head facing left with his arm pointing to something behind him ?
Waynesboro VA
Waynesboro VA
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Dirt track and drag strip in Waynesboro VA…… I do believe this is where my Brother-in-law Wayne took my Dad and I when I was a very young lad.
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Shenandoah VA thru the clouds ……. This is where our “Hanger Neighbor” Scott Ruffner grew up
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Looking down thru the clouds at our Home Base (Luray Caverns Airport) Luray VA ….. from 7000 feet while heading to Winchester VA
At Winchester VA with Peter waiting for his Mom
At Winchester VA with Peter waiting for his Mom
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Heading back to Home Base Luray……. Rain falling at the end of the Massanutten Ridge (Looking up thru Fort Valley on the right)

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