Saturday, August 30, 2014

DAY 4: NEBRASKA to WYOMING

Time: 1730
The night of day 3 was quite pleasant.  I stayed up late doing things that had been needing to be done, and slept quite hard.  I had a nice relaxing morning tidying up a bit, hanging my wet clothes out to dry on the struts of the plane, and having a nice breakfast in the shade up Freddy’s wing.  There was no fuel in Superior so after a run to check out the town and stretch my legs, I flew to Holdrege, Nebraska where there was cheap fuel.  I watched some sky divers there then headed into Wyoming. 



The flight was relatively smooth.  No cloud cities.  The haze continued and the terrain below became less populated with people and more populated with cattle in dark brown square pens.  No grass feed beef out here apparently.  On the way in I listened to the automated weather broadcast at Guernsey and heard the density altitude was 7,800 feet.  This means that while the airport is around 4,000 feet, it will feel like a 7,800 feet airport due to the combination of pressure and temperatures in the 90’s.  I haven’t landed at an airport close to 8,000 feet so I quickly had to pull out my aircraft manual and work my way through the charts.  I felt I could land alright, but I needed to make sure I could take off again!  Factoring gross weight, temperature, wind speed and direction, density altitude and calculated my ground role requirements.   Add a few hundred feet just to be conservative and I’d still have extra runway to spare.  Landed easily, knowing I should be able to get skyward again. 
 
America's beef!  Pack 'em in and don't give 'em any grass!

I wonder what it's like to grow up in a town like this.
Irrigation is pretty strange.

I’ve never had to make sure I could get off the ground before.  Freddy doesn’t need much in good conditions.  Two years ago, however, I wondered whether I could get on the ground.  I was somewhere near Arkansas and the winds picked up to where I did not want to land with that kind of cross wind which make landing more challenging.  I searched around for an airport that was oriented in the right way but they were all oriented the same, for the prevailing winds which were not the same as these gusty winds I had.  I would dial in each airport to try to listen to the automated wind direction in hopes some local features channeled the wind into a favorable directions and eventually found one and was very happy to be on the ground.  It is very strange to be up in the air wondering how to safely get on the ground.  Thankfully I was able to figure that one out and a little extra in the tanks meant I did not need to panic. 

So now, stuck in Guernsey, WY, hoping the thunderstorms will clear out and I can get to Lander.  Another deserted airport.  But with WiFi, a couch, outlets, and a courtesy van!

1930

On the ground for the night.  A corridor opened up (maybe) to Lander but it would have meant landing 45 minutes after sunset at best.  Darkness and potential for some lingering bad weather are not a good mix.  So here I stayed.  Went for a bike ride to see the local area.  And now must call it a night.  Very much looking forward to bed. 


Good to be on the ground.

This little one caught my attention.


Wouldn't it be a lot easier if everyone just had a few solar panels?

A few days ago, Taylorville, the woman at the office said with a somewhat quizzical look, "Is that your skateboard?"  I said yes, to which she replied, "That's a first!"  I explained how excellent a skateboard is to get around the tarmac of an airport, but agreed most pilot types are not skateboard types.  Here's to a new mold.


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