On this flight we were the middle leg of a 3 leg flight originating in Bedford MA and ending in Kalamazoo MI. Our passengers were 2 of our favorite girls….. Leanne Powell and her daughter Cristina.
Our flight conditions up to Harrisburg PA (Capital City) were fairly smooth with the visibility being very hazy…. Harrisburg was our meeting point with James Hislop (Pilot of leg one from Bedford PA) We arrived a little ahead of schedule and once Leanne and Cristina arrived with James we met them at the plane at which time we immediately found out that they had not done so well on the flight from Bedford due to strong turbulence. We helped them out of the airplane and into the FBO where they both rested awhile as we talked (These Gals do not handle turbulence very well….it is very hard on them) We knew the upper winds were quite strong and due to their direction over the mountain ridges we knew that turbulence on our leg with them may also be rough…..plus we had clouds that we may or may not be able to get above and flying thru them would increase the bumps. We discussed it quite a lot with the girls and decided to give it a try… (was never a danger issue, just a comfort issue) with the option that if it got too much for them we could land. So we loaded up and off we went (our destination with them was to be Akron OH were John Vassey would continue them onto the Kalamazoo…… about a 2 plus hour flight with the headwinds we had) At the start of the flight conditions were not to bad…. then as we climbed to altitude we were dealing with the clouds, and the bumps increased….. we requested higher, eventually getting to 10,000 feet but we still were not able to get on top of the clouds…… and to add to the bumps and the wave action, we were now in below freezing conditions (outside air temp was 29 degrees !) After higher did not work we requested lower and got beneath the cloud ceiling….. but that did not help much with the turbulence. At this point we could tell that it was taking a toll on our girls so we made the decision to land and get them to a motel for the night. ATC as always was great in working with us and there were also several pilots in the air that heard what was going on and gave advice on the best place to land close to our position that had close motel accommodations. The airport we decided on was Arnold Palmer at Latrobe PA….. the ground crew met us with very helpful hands and the FBO crew immediately set up the accommodations for the local motel and even had a shuttle van come out to pick up Leanne and Cristina ! We notified pilot number 3 (John Vasey) of the situation and that the girls would not be flying anymore that day ….. he was already in Akron waiting on us, but he certainly understood and he was glad they were on the ground doing ok.
We stayed with the girls until the shuttle came and then we gave our goodbyes and had some great big hugs ……. and even though they would not be at their home on this night they were very relieved to be on the ground and out of the turbulence. (After a follow up with them we found out that they had a great night at the motel and the next day Angel Flight Pilot Dick Lawrence came to the rescue and flew them home…… thank you so much Dick !)
” We would like to say a Great Big Thank You to all involved…. ATC, Pilots in the air, the Staff at Arnold Palmer and also to Dick Lawrence for helping make this all work out in the best interest of Leanne and Cristina !”
Our ride back to home base that day repeated the same type bumps we had with the girls……. but after awhile, as a pilot, you sorta get used to it…… we just don’t like our passengers to get uncomfortable. Once back on the ground at Luray we tucked 49Bravo into her hanger and had our nice hot cup of coffee while discussing the days events.
Following are a few pictures of our flight…..
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