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VBT to 3O9

July 9, 2012

I had the opportunity today to fly from Bentonville to Grand Lake, OK.  One of my friends is a pilot (who’s current) and a former Naval Aviator.  We took a 2007 Cessna 172 with the cool Garmin 1000 displays.  It rents wet for $140 (ugh).  But since I was just a sandbag it was no biggy.

After pre-flighting, off we went.  The skies were a bit bumpy and there wasn’t any traffic to speak of.  Having done all my flying in and around the DFW area not seeing traffic was pretty weird.  Flying out here over the chicken houses of NW Arkansas and NE Oklahoma in empty skies is kinda of nice.

We climbed to 6000′ to get out of the bumpy, hot air.  At 6000′ the temperature was 65 and with the windows open was almost cold.  Sure beat the 98 degrees at Bentonville.  Speaking of temperatures, there were cumulus clouds starting to build we noted that our trip back might be a little longer if we had to dodge these showers.

We landed at 3O9 on runway 35 about 30-minutes after take off.  It was warm on the ramp, but not as hot as Bentonville.  We were met by a gentleman who was going to charge us a landing fee.  No wonder there weren’t any airplanes on the ram;p.  We told him we were there to go to the marina for lunch (actually we just had a few Cokes).  He said that was fine and that he’d waive the landing fee.  I doubt the cars in the parking lot of the marina had to pay to park.

Getting back in the plane Huey told me that I’d fly some getting home.  We took off on runway 17 buzzing the marina as we went over.  Jet jocks…sheesh.

I took the wheel at about 2000′ or so and headed for 3500′  It was pretty bumpy heading up.  Flying the tape, as they say, took a lot of getting used to.  There was a steam gauge for backup in the plane and I felt my eyes creeping to that every so often.  We heard ATC telling other flights about showers that were cropping up around the area.  The G1000 panel, again, showed up the story.  It was wired for XM Weather, so we could see the showers on the map.  Pretty cool…but really…we could see the showers with our eyeballs.

Landing at VBT was a bit hairy.  There were heavy showers about 5 miles from the runway threshold.  The AWOS was saying winds 170@5, so we were headed for 170.  As we turned a short final I could see the flag at the Walmart HQ was clearly showing wind from the North.  As we got down I could tell from the lake at the end of the runway that wind was from the North.  I told Huey we had a pretty strong tailwind.  We touched down @ 98 knots.  LOL….VBT just isnt that long.  Eventually Huey powered up and did a go around.  We just went out and did a tear drop and came back to land on 36.

It was a neat flight and just makes not flying that much harder.

I should be getting my fuel tank skin today, so I can get that started again.


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