Todays Angel Flight took us from home base Luray to Cleveland Ohio (where we picked up Jason our passenger), from Cleveland we flew Jason home to Norfolk VA (Jason lives in Virginia Beach) and from there back to home base Luray. From the “Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean”, totaling 6.8 flight hours and 774 nautical miles (over 5 states) This flight, due to the distance, is set up and posted as two individual flights connecting at a midpoint for a transfer, but on some occasions (like this one) we sign up for both legs making it a double mission.
We departed home base at 0800 in beautiful Virginia fall conditions and climbed up and over the Massanutten Mountain range in air that was smooth as glass. While climbing out we obtained our IFR clearance from ATC and headed up on up to our cruise altitude of 6000 feet. The ride was smooth as silk and the visibility was tremendous. We averaged about 150 MPH across the ground with a little help from a small tailwind component. As we neared Cleveland we were flying thru some lower scattered layers of clouds with a few drops of rain at times on the windshield. Once the Beautiful skyline of Cleveland came into site with Lake Erie in the background, we were soon cleared for a visual to runway 6 left at Burke Lake Front. We crossed over at midfield out over Lake Erie and made a left pattern into 6 with the Cleveland Browns Stadium looking right at us.
Once on the ground at the FBO we were greeted outside by Jason (our passenger) and his driver from the Cleveland Clinic, Jason had been away from his Family at the Cleveland Clinic for a month and was anxious to go home !….. His driver that had brought him to the airport from Cleveland Clinic was a tremendous help to us with getting all of the cargo in the airplane (A wheelchair, a walker and luggage)…… and I do believe that this was the most challenge I have ever had getting everything in and still having room for Jason ! But we did it with great help from Jason’s driver (sorry I do not have his name, it has slipped out of our heads) but regardless, we want to say a big Thank You to him ! Jason later told us that his driver helped him tremendously the whole time while at the Cleveland Clinic, taking him places he needed to be and just doing so many things for him above and beyond the call of duty….. and on top of that he is a really nice guy ! Boy, the world be a better place with more people like this !
Once we were all loaded up we got our IFR clearance and departed Burke Lake Front on Runway 6R. They gave us vectors to the northeast out over lake Erie before turning us on course for Norfolk VA. The ride was once again very smooth as we climbed up to our assigned cruise altitude of 7000 feet going in and out of scattered cloud layers. The time to Norfolk would be a little over 3 hours total (we had a slight headwind compenent), But Jason told us that he loves to fly and with the great views we had (when not in any clouds) the time slipped by very nicely. About 2 hours into the flight we were passing over our Beautiful Shenandoah Valley pointing out our hometowns out to Jason and also where our airplane (49Bravo) lived in Luray. He really enjoyed the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as we passed over near the entrance at Front Royal. A little farther on we got on top of a fairly solid cloud deck and continued above it heading to Norfolk. I took a very nice picture looking down, surfing the cloud tops while over the Virginia State Fair….. (The photo looks very much like the one I took of flying over the Golden Gate Bridge back in 2015 while it was fogged over !)
As we neared Norfolk International ATC stepped us down and soon we were beneath the clouds able to do a visual approach. Norfolk was using runway 23 but we requested and received runway 14 (which made it almost straight in) Flying around Norfolk always gives you some amazing scenery and this day was no different (I got a great shot of a couple of Aircraft Carriers at the Norfolk Naval Yard…. they looked like we could have landed right on them !)
Once on the ground and unloaded, we were met by Jason’s Family (Mother, Wife, Son and Daughter) all with big smiles on their faces and balloons to greet Jason back home ! We took some group photos and gave our goodbyes while waiting for 49Bravo to receive some fuel. We want to say a Great Big Thank You to Jason and his Family for the very nice Thank You cards which included Star Bucks Gift Cards ! (We Love Coffee!) Thank You, Thank You, Thank You !
So after waving to Jason and his Family heading down the hall to go home we said goodbye to the Ladies at Signature FBO and headed out to the airplane (We would like to say how well we are always treated at the Signature FBO in Norfolk) ….. Our hats are off to all the employees and management for their great service !
After we received our IFR clearance we departed runway 23 heading for home. Our ride again was smooth with a slight tailwind component. We were in and out of the clouds with a few rain showers along the way. Back at home base we landed on runway 22 with a little gusty crosswind. After tucking 49Bravo back into her hanger we very much enjoyed a nice hot cup of hanger coffee and while discussing everything important ! Then it was off for one of our most dangerous parts of the day, our ride home !
Thanks for your time and stayed tuned for some video of this flight to be posted soon. Our next Angel Flight (which is also a double Mission) will be on Tuesday October 10th.
Following are some photos of our flight……
Have a Great Day all and feel free to leave any comments you may have (We love Them !) John and Nevin