KMSN to KSRQ for 150 hour pilot

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by WiPilot, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Too bad FCH is already taken.
     
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  2. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Kind of OT but I wonder how difficult it would be to add a feature to the forum or maybe just a browser extension that would detect airport codes and display the name/location of the airport when you moused over the text.
     
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  3. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ironically, THAT one I had to look up! :rofl:
     
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  4. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Good question. I wonder if that's something @jesse could figure out?
     
  5. birdus

    birdus Pre-Flight

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    And where's the PIREP?
     
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  6. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, I'd like to see that too! Unfortunately, the OP hasn't been here since November. :(
     
  7. 1SGBrokePilot

    1SGBrokePilot Filing Flight Plan

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    I have flown my 172 from Columbus Ohio to SRQ twice in the past year. I just got my PPL in Oct of 17. I am ok being stuck somewhere for a couple days of vacation, my wife is not. So she gets a cheap one way ticket and flies commercial.

    Summer time in FL means afternoon storms. In August, I had great weather the whole flight until I got to FL in in mid afternoon and storms were everywhere... In this type of situation ATC and ForeFlight weather are super helpful. I ended up getting a hotel for the night.

    So I'm not going to repeat all of the same advice others gave. I will give advice about flying around SW FL.

    While you are down there, I recommend flying to the 2 shortest runways in FL, Cedar Key and Everglades City. look up the comments in FF and use their advice for local foods ..Also the runways are short but not silly short.

    Another short trip St. Pete. It's one of my fav places to land. The approach brings you in right over top of buildings... good view and really good lunch at the FBO.

    For SRQ, it seemed like anytime I was flying in, I had to go through TPA approach. Once I tried to just contact SRQ tower, and ATC was quick to send me right back to TPA approach for sequencing.


    Good luck with your trip. Don't be in a rush. Enjoy the experience, even if its stuck in a middle of nowhere airport.
     
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  8. WiPilot

    WiPilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Ask, and ye shall receive (or something like that)!

    So the trip was originally to be to SRQ, but ended up growing in scope and um, morphing a "bit". The new trip ended up being to KISM (Kissimee, FL south of Orlando) for a few days, and then off to KFXE ----> MYNN (Nassau, Bahamas). I read on AOPA and elsewhere about flying to the Bahamas and figured we'd be that close so why not? We stayed in Nassau a few days and then island hopped to MYEM (Governor's Harbor), MYAT (Treasure Cay), MYAX (private airstrip on Spanish Cay), and finally back to MYBS (South Bimini).


    The trip:

    • We left our home field 80nm north of KMSN around 6:00am local time in CAVU conditions.
    • Cruising along at 7500 feet things were gorgeous until about 45 minutes before the first fuel stop at KJQD (Ohio County/Hartford, KY). Until that time we were able to stay up at 7500 above very sparse clouds and things were very smooth. However as the morning drug on and we got closer to JDQ the now cumulus clouds started getting thick and we had to drop down below them or risk getting stuck up there -- I was VFR only on this trip.
    • Below the clouds in a hot muggy airplane that I swore was an enraged bull on whose back I was forced to ride, we made our way to JQD and fueled up. Met some interesting people there and learned this is a major refueling point between the midwest and FL -- probably due to its cheap gas. I can't say enough good things about the facility and the staff. Make no mistake, the airport and the town are in the middle of nowhereville, but if you're looking for friendly staff and cheap gas before heading on your way, this is the place.
    • Out of JDQ the next fuel stop was for KAMG in Alma, GA. By now the thunderstorms talked about earlier in this thread were coming to fruition and I listened in on the appropriate Center frequencies as we traversed our way around the cells.
    • By the time we got to KAMG at 5:30pm local time the storms were raging throughout GA and FL, I was exhausted from fighting the airplane and beginning to question the wisdom in attempting to navigate into Florida with a lot of thunderstorm activity at night. So we spent the night in Alma. As with JQD, not enough good things can be said about the FBO here. They let us use the courtesy car over night and pointed us to one of the only hotels in town. Again, super friendly staff, cheap gas. It's a win win if you're making it a fuel stop -- but Alma has noooothing to do.
    • The next morning it was LIFR for a bit so we had to wait for the ceilings to come up before blasting off to KISM. Navigating underneath Orlando's Bravo was largely a non-issue, you just have to stay on top of your altitudes. What surprised me was the large amount of air traffic in general in FL vs in the midwest. Big difference!
    • After KISM for a few days we made course for KFXE and then to MYNN. Out of FXE I grabbed flight following for the trek over the water. By the time we were leaving FXE it was 11:00am local or so and already near 100 deg. F with isolated T-Storms coming up, so I wanted the extra set of eyes on the weather, especially since the ADS-B weather goes dead a few dozen miles out off the coast.
    • Miami Center stayed with us the entire way to Nassau, only handing us off to Nassau approach within a few miles or so of the airport. While still obviously speaking English, the Bahamian accent of the approach controller was not something I was prepared for; it suddenly clicked in my brain that "holy crap I just flew this thing to a foreign country!".
    • MYNN's runways are long and wide, so getting the airplane on the asphalt was a non-issue. Their airpsace classifications are a bit different there, so I'm not sure if MYNN is more like a Class C or a Class B in the states, but suffice it to say it was very busy with both commercial and GA traffic.
    • From MYNN we went to MYEM. The runway there is very long and wide, but the surface is so rough I thought I blew a tire on landing. There is also no maintenance available here, so don't have a mechanical issue or you're screwed. To sum it up: it's isolated. However, if isolation and gorgeous pink sand beaches with no one on them are what you're looking for, this is the place to go; I could count on one hand the people I saw on the beach all day. If you're going to stay for more than a day or two, renting a car is advised so you can get around all of Eleuthra.
    • MYAT's runway is of similar quality to MYEM...but the taxiway is in reaaaaaal bad shape. I raidoed to a Cessna holding short asking if the taxiway was usable and received a "Negative! No one ever uses that here."
    • MYAX was a thrill all of it's own; the runway terminates on both ends in the ocean, and parts of it are closed because of Hurricane damage from Sandy, so you have to fly low over the ocean and then right above the runway it until it solidifies. There's actually a Piper Navajo in the ocean off one of the runway ends from a guy that didn't make it that people snorkel. That one had the pax clenching the armrests and bracing for impact. :)
    • The flight back to MYBS was one of the longest overwater legs and I had extreme trouble contacting any center for flight following. Other than that and mediocre visibility due to humidity/haze it was fairly uneventful. Note that the airport is on South Bimini island, and there is nothing on that island whatsoever to do. All the tourist stuff is on the north island and there's a ferry to take you across the channel.
    Things I learned/Takeaways:

    • As they say on all those accident report videos you watch, ADS-B weather is most definitely delayed. I literally looked out the window, found the cell/rain shaft, and then matched it up to the one on the display -- they rarely agreed on the position. Often the little airplane icon looked like we were flying right into a cell on the ADS B display but the cell was well to the left or right. So while this is a good situational awareness tool, it would be suicide to attempt to rely on it to fly though IMC thunderstorm activity.
    • On a related note, stormscopes (at least the one I have) are even more worthless. They show lightening strikes and their relative position left/right etc of you. But once there are enough different cells around, the whole thing just lights up like a christmas tree and you can't make heads or tails out of it. I imagine more sophisticated ones would perform better?
    • Flight Following on the other hand, is amazing, and highly recommended. They have realtime radar and can and do navigate you around the bad stuff.
    • This trip convinced me that I needed to finish my IFR rating, which I did in November. One of the main benefits that would have provided on this trip would have been the ability to get on top of the cloud decks and out of the bumpy hot air.
    • Don't be afraid to talk to Military Airbases/NAS. Jacksonville had no issues whatsoever letting me traverse their airspace to stay ahead of an approaching line of storms. Not sure if the guys in those towers are FAA or military, but in any case very friendly and very helpful.

    I'm sure I'm missing stuff here so I'll add more as I think of it. The next stop on the bucket list is Teterboro (KTEB) - so I'm open to any feedback from anyone and everyone that's been there.
     
  9. Fallsrider

    Fallsrider Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Wow. Sounds like a blast of a trip!
     
  10. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Excellent write up - thanks for sharing!!!!

    Curious...what month of the year did you do this flight?

    On my longest cross country my passenger flew a lot. I don't have any autopilot so it was awesome to take a break and even more helpful when talking to Center or Flight Services. Did any of your passengers help fly and if so was it of any help to this trip or not?
     
  11. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So... Home of the brewery, the foundry, or the rapids? ;)

    Love that image, and it's the truth sometimes! :rofl: It's also the best reason to get your IR so you can cruise on top in cool, smooth air.

    Good call. And that sort of thing is why I tell my pax that GA is always an adventure, just not necessarily the adventure you had planned! If you go into it with that sort of positive attitude, some of those unplanned stops turn into really neat experiences.

    Yeah, I had a terrible time understanding the ground controller at Freeport when we left there. I must have had to ask him to "say again" about six times!

    I dunno, the one I have (whose model number I keep forgetting) is supposed to be one of the better ones - Slaved to the HSI so it moves the strikes when you turn, etc - but I haven't been able to gain enough confidence in it to use it for much other than a supplementary piece of info. The problem is that it's essentially guessing where a strike is based on the strength of the pulse and the direction it's coming from. In the ConUS, the National Lightning Detection Network is way more accurate, so it might be worth waiting the few minutes for the ADS-B datalinked lightning instead.

    It's too bad onboard radar is so dang expensive.

    Congrats! It's a very useful rating, and really essential if you're going to use GA for travel on a regular basis.

    Sounds like a heckuva trip! Not too shabby for a 150-hour n00b. ;) Actually, I wish more people would tackle trips like this. Too many are scared and think they need more experience, when really it's more planning that makes things go better. Now, you have much more experience than your total hours would indicate, and you'll be more likely to use GA for travel in the future. That's how it ought to be!

    When I went to NYC last, I went to KCDW instead - Just a few miles west of KTEB, easy in and out, and much lower fees. Really, nothing to worry about. I've also been to KFRG.

    When flying East, you'll find that "cleared as filed" will only happen until Pennsylvania or so. Once you're talking to New York Center, or maybe before, expect a reroute that involves airways. It can be cool, though - Going into KFRG, my re-route had me go past a spot where there were La Guardia arrivals above me and Newark arrivals below me.
     
  12. WiPilot

    WiPilot Filing Flight Plan

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    The trip was in July...unfortunately the passengers were my wife and 5 year old daughter. My daughter was asleep 95% of the entire trip and my wife absolutely refuses to so much as touch the yoke...so it was me and the wing leveler AP the entire way. When the air was smooth I didn't mind engaging the wing leveler, but unfortunately a good majority of it was a tryout for the national bull riding championships, and I wasn't really sure how the AP would behave with turbulence so I kept it disengaged.

    All of that being said, having someone who would be able to hold an altitude and/or heading for you -pilot or not - would absolutely be helpful.
     
  13. WiPilot

    WiPilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Close -- home of the medical center. I guesstimated the nm...looks more like it's in the mid 90's.

    Amen...

    I've heard this from others as well. The problem is I'm not good with VORs - I know how they work, the concepts, how to use them to get myself out of an equipment failure jam, etc....but I'm not nearly comfortable enough with them to be flying in busy airspace on an IFR clearance. I was planning to fly in VFR...are the tower/approach controllers going to just laugh at me if I try that?

    Have you been to TEB? I'm interested in the fees there vs CDW and elsewhere for a piston single. I've attempted to look it up online but have only found vague references to fees, which is typical of my research online. I usually try to avoid Signature FBOs like the plague, but TEB supposedly has several. Looks like CDW is a non-Signature FBO too. How would one get into Manhattan from CDW? I saw the subway was close to TEB which was one of the reasons for that decision.
     
  14. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Aha. Friend of mine grew up there and his dad's a doc. :)

    No, in some ways it's easier for them because they don't have to worry about separating you from all the other traffic if you're VFR.

    However, if you have an IFR GPS, you can always just program the route in there and then it doesn't work much differently than direct-to, if you know how to use your GPS properly. If you actually need to use VORs for navigation, well, it's not that hard and it's worth practicing if you don't feel comfortable with it. You can check ForeFlight for ATC cleared routes into where you're going to try to get an idea in advance of what your route might be, how to get from nearby VORs to approaches if needed, etc.

    I have not gone to TEB because of the expense. Last I checked, there were five FBOs, but they're all expensive. In fact, my brother and I were trying to find the most expensive 100LL in the country once, and *three* of the TEB FBOs were higher than anything else we could find... More than $ignature at O'Hare even.

    OK, I just checked again. There are four FBOs now, but Signature has three different locations all at KTEB! As usual, Atlantic has the worst price for 100LL (they're the only FBO chain that's pretty reliably worse than Signature). 100LL prices range from $7.44/gal to $8.08/gal.

    For a single-engine piston, the airport charges a $22.50 landing fee, and Meridian (the cheapest FBO for 100LL) shows a ramp fee of $55 or a minimum fuel purchase of 15 gallons of that $7.44 100LL (111.60 for 15 gallons!). So, at the cheapest FBO, it'll cost you at least $77.50 just to show your face. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a "handling fee" thrown in somewhere, or a "security fee" or some others, so if you do go there, definitely call ahead.

    I ended up getting a rental car at CDW. If Manhattan is your only destination and you don't want a car, you might want to go elsewhere. I didn't check into mass transit at CDW, though, since I had to not only be in the city for a day, I also had to be in Suffern for a couple of days.

    I've gone to KFRG where the FBO will give you a free lift to the nearby LIRR station to get into the city as well, and if Manhattan was my only destination, I would compare that with the options at KHPN as well.
     
  15. WiPilot

    WiPilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Garmin 430, non-WAAS. So basically entering in IFR Waypoint fixes instead of Airports? That wouldn't be bad at all...


    Anywhere else I can check that? Alas, I have been too cheap to buy ForeFlight thus far and have been happily using Avare.


    Ridiculous.

    Where do you find the landing fees at for airports? I see both FRG and HPN have landing fees listed on AirNav, but it doesn't tell me how much :(

    Edit: Also, looking at a direct VFR route into KFRG...can you just fly over Manhattan under the Bravo like that? Looks like the floor of the Bravo is 1500' in places there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  16. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep. That's how we did it in the bad old days. ;) Well, OK, that's not nearly as bad as actually having to use VORs and not having a moving map. THAT was the bad old days.

    Sure is a lot of knob-twisting though. Really like being able to pop in airways easily in the GTN. I can't remember if the 430W ever got them or not.

    So yeah, with a 430 (non W), you can set ForeFlight to "Bends Only" for showing airway intersections, and just enter the VORs plus any intersections that show up and you're good to go.

    Maybe, but I don't know of it.

    Oh, and that airway thing. Doh! ;)

    The ForeFlight "Pro Plus" subscription is well worth it for an IFR pilot. A decade ago, I went on a flight to the west coast and the paper I had to buy (sectionals, low enroutes, A/FDs, and approaches) cost me $225 and filled up two grocery bags (and took away about 30 pounds of useful load!). I have never complained about the subscription price, being able to get all that plus a ton of capability for less money.

    Yup, that's why I didn't go there.

    Some people have to, though... :D



    Google... But that depends on the info actually being on the web somewhere, which it usually isn't. :(

    Theoretically, you could do that. >1000' AGL over a congested area and all. But, I would recommend that, regardless of what airport you fly into, that you study and fly the Hudson River corridor. No better way to see the city. I recommend actually getting a Bravo clearance for that (the controllers are excellent about that) and doing it at 1500' MSL, because that keeps you out of the way of all the tour choppers buzzing around "the lady" and up the river down low.

    I went into KFRG IFR. IIRC the latter part of the clearance was something like Milton (MIP) V232 Colts Neck (COL) BOUNO KFRG.
     
  17. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    You just have to call in advance. For the most part they don't publish them.
     
  18. WiPilot

    WiPilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Now that sir, is an excellent idea! None of this would be happening until June at the earliest, so that gives me time to look things up and I'll start a new thread if it starts coming to fruition. :)
     
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  19. WiPilot

    WiPilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Who needs the internet when you can just call every possible place you're considering landing? That seems much more efficient. *end sarcasm*
     
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  20. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, they don’t publish them for a reason. I assume they believe most wont call and just be surprised by their high fees. But then you’re stuck paying them. Many of the independent FBOs though don’t charge anything.

    My home FBO in Thomaston Georgia (KOPN) charges no fees and they have three nice Suburbans for crew cars.
     
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  21. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Somebody did set up a site for reporting fees, similar to airnav with fuel prices... But now I can't find it. Anyone remember the URL? It was something like rampfee.me.
     
  22. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sounds like a great XC. At about 150-170 hours, I did my first long XC without an instructor (I did one with an instructor as part of my IFR training to Chicago), taking a friend up to Seattle to watch the Dodgers play the Mariners at Safeco. At the time, there were still the big fires up around the California/Oregon border, so despite weather that was theoretically beautiful, there were huge TFRs and lots of smoke to keep away from. The trip CAN be done with one stop in the Tiger, especially from SMO, where I picked him up, but the way up was just not going to happen that way, so I planned STS and then HIO before BFI. It was very nice having the reliable STEC30, with GPSS and ALT hold, especially when we were in technically VFR weather, but with a lot of crappy smoke around up near CEC. It also just kept me more fresh for critical stages of flight. The way back we were able to do BFI-RDD-SMO, though I did essentially have my first real emergency landing when a bolt that allowed the throttle to come back to idle got stuck and I had to fly it onto the runway at 1700 RPM and cut mix. Still, it was a hell of an experience and a lot of fun.