Single Engine overwater club membership: check.

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by hindsight2020, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Well, to start off: the wings didn't fall off, so there's that. (suck it ERAU). Digressing.

    Day 1 took a bit of replanning due to crap weather all across the Gulf panhandle. Low IFR departure out of KBAZ, typical IFR re-route from filed took a while, then on course. Had to swing wide to Meridian MS, then back down for a pincer move due to the weather. Didn't work exactly so I had to punch through a couple bands anyways, but not too terrible. Made for a bit longer day, but still made it to KFPR well before sunset.
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    pRoFfEsSiOnAl level use of navigational charts.....

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    Even while on leave, the work lunch crowd is never too far behind. Sunny arrival at KMEI for a quick gas n go. 4.0 flown.

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    Cutting through the panhandle after finally beating the weather. Some high clouds to contend in C FL, but nothing convenctive.

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    Happiest place on earth...if 99 dollar a day + parking and $12 water bottle night is your kinda thing. lol
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    Day 1 on the books. KFPR in sight for 28L. 3.6 as flown.

    FBO was accomodating with the raft and gas, not as attentive as the folks in Meridian, but good enoug. The RON in Fort Pierce otoh, was the low point of the trip by far. I may have to make a different post about it someday. It was not a good experience, but I blame myself for not taking more time to research the ground logistics more, given I was so focused on the overwater portion of this long trip.
     
  2. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Long day of flying. Pleased to hear the Piper performed for ya.
    Shows what one can do with a single piston GA airplane. :thumbsup:
     
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  3. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Finally the day arrived. The overwater legs.

    Fogged in real good in KFPR, so waited until I got approach minimums at nearby Vero and Leroy'd Jenkins out of Fort Pierce in the low goo. Clear on top in less than a couple thousand feet, so not too terrible. I will say, not a fan of hard IFR work recreationally, especially given my lowly setup. That said, cannot emphasize enough how opening the IFR rating can be for the recreational warriors.

    It paid quite a few dividend to get all the EAPIS and filing done the night before in order to facilitate the launch. Once on ground freq yet another re-route, apparently they were using JAKEL instead of ANGEE on the outbound, but otherwise pretty easy flight plan.
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    Nassau.

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    Keys and Cays SE bound, got direct Stella pretty quick right before getting passed to Nassau Approach.

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    There she is. It was a lot more remote than I gave it credit during route study. Also, winds were straight across the runway, with a slight tailwind landing. UNICOM was fairly attentive, which was nice. I also made records of the MIA center freq on the way down, since that was the guy to give me the IFR home on the way up.

    I have a video I'll post on youtbe when I return CONUS of the landings, since I can't post the large files on my folks computer down here.
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    Colors on final approach. Nice.

    Quickest leg. Howling tailwind got me there in only 2.5. Good times mon.
     
  4. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    And this one was for all the marbles. I gave my raft his due name "Wilson" and talked to it for a good portion of the 4 hour leg (aided by good tailwinds, otherwise a longer duration normally).
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    We ain't in Kansas anymore toto.

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    Goodbye Bahamas, hello Turks

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    Lost radar contact twice on this leg. They give you a request for estimated arrival at next point with the frequency to call. According to the wife, ADSB/secondary never lost me and she saw me the whole way, so perhaps it was a handoff thing between Provo and MIA. At any rate, pretty amazing crossing on A555, though it got lonely at times. Wilson never talked back. Oil pressure gage became my new friend. It too didn't talk back, but that one I'm ok with. :D

    "Cleared Direct Borinquen"

    Sweet words. Home. 4.0 and what a sight. We did it (and by we I mean me and Wilson :D).
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    (apologies for the lack of focus, Wilson wouldn't hold the camera and knees don't make good control input on final)

    A quick hop to Isla grande (.6) and the bucket list trip was complete. As flown, the crossing took no kidding guess how many miles...... 2020NM. You can't make that up. Uncle hindsight FTW.

    I will update with more detail specifics regarding customs, frequencies and costs when I get back CONUS next week, for now I get to hug my parents for the first time in 18 months. It was a warm welcome. Life is worth living. Cheers y'all!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  5. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Fantastic! Enjoy your time with the folks.
     
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  6. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    Well, folks, the trip is complete. I just arrived back in TX after a long two days making the trek back. Worst weather by far was the TX legs. Plural due to convective weather that forced me to stop and wait in Galveston.

    Surprises, there were a few. The Fort Pierce RON I'll leave for another day. Learned my lesson and got a rental to bed down in Port St Lucie for RON #2. Much better experience. Another bigger potential surprise was Stella didn't have power when I landed on the way back, so I almost got stranded, if not for my genius idea of carrying more cash than I normally should. Ended up with no kidding 9 dollars left to cross to Florida after I paid for customs and gas at stella. Talk about cutting it close. got lucky that the tally hit right at the amount I had. It was either that or end up waiting for Godot at the airport until the power came back for the cc machine (technical stop, no entry visa). Good times.

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    (dots are flight plan routings, not actual landings. Note the split around Houston both times lol. damn TX weather). All in all, 4142NM, 11 sorties, 30.6 hours, 4 days of travel, and an excellent bucket list aviation goal for the ages complete. I could not have done it without the love and encouragement of my better half, who selflessly held down the fort while I was playing around (though she already threw in the line for her bucket list will call, I knew better lol :D)

    In terms of logistics, as has been mentioned before, having the forms for Bahamas customs pre-filled makes the turnaround quick and easy. Bahamas is pretty easy going and GA friendly compared to Turks. Some were grumbling down there about the covid testing requirements discouraging tourism, but as a technical stop guy that was not part of my trip logistics report.

    As to cost, I'm still tallying up the count, but the estimates were pretty dead on to reality, so I was pleased. Highest gas prices were of course in the bahamas (Stella $7.18 as of 22 April '21), with prices hovering in the low to high 6s back home in PR. Did not inquire about overnight fees in Isla Grande as I had extended family take care of me tie down wise, but the overnights at Aguadilla ran about 8 bucks, plus $4 landing fees. $1485 in fuel at 30.5 hours. Along the lines of what I estimated. Actually a bit under.

    Must say, the Arrow did not disappoint on this trip. I was waiting for the AOG moment. Nope. That Lyco started right up, every time, and that oil pressure stayed nice and steady the whole way. Only squawk was a low nose strut, repeat offender, but didn't go flat on me so I nursed it on landings and we made it home. Other than that, the relatively recent component replacements paid off (alternator, vac pump and main tires in 2019, power pack in 17). The 430W was a blessing too. The autopilot is heading only in practice, and it served its purpose rather well, especially doing LIFR (2x departure) and 500ish arrival with Houston keeping me in the clag for way too long because aRrIvAlS. Felt more like being at work than I cared for, but you take the ups with the downs.

    Raft rental at 40 bucks a day ($256 in my case), and rental car plus two nights hotels. Saved on parking at the destination, otherwise figure another 20/day or so. And obviously the most expensive portion of the trip being lodging, which for me was literally "on the house", both in San Juan and Aguadilla (we have homes in both locations, which was clutch for the reposition flight to BQN the night before).

    Debrief points? A few. Don't be in a rush to get home. Which for me meant: Read the effing notams. Went to Pascagoula short notice to try and tuck south (effin' wx...) on the way back, to find out the runway with a big flashing X on base to final. Turns out the taxiway was being used as the runway. Not a big deal for my go-kart, but the linemen related some funny stories about the jet crowd finding out just like I did, and having to divert to mobile or gulfport. Turns out us "pro" pilots like to combat plan a bit too much sometimes, and that got me fair and square. Had plenty of gas to hop over to the usual suspects and make my gas and go, but still no damn excuse to be surprised like that. We're always learning.

    The other one is more of an annoyance. Not happy with flt plan go's nexrad rendering. My old skyradar app was way better. Looking for alternatives for a stand alone nexrad presentation compatible with stratux. The flt pln go presentation in flight was useless, compared to my old skyradar app and puck (which was free too btw).

    Finally, some snapshots of my much awaited home flying.
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    It was good to be home. 21 years since I last flew an airplane down there, and back then it was a rental as a fresh PPL with barely a nickel to my name. It was very meaningful to return in my own chariot. Folks were quite consumed with emotion watching me come in on flightaware. It is def worthy of an encore, and something I desperately needed to retain my interest in expending on this hobby (not gonna lie, things have got pretty salty for me on this front in the last couple years). Perhaps the next one in a longer legged airplane so I can non-stop like a "baller" lol.

    Tailwinds!
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
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  7. MichaelRuiz

    MichaelRuiz Filing Flight Plan

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    Glad you got to fly your own to the island and see your family. I hope to make this flight to PR someday, too. Thanks for sharing the info, advice, pictures, and lessons learned.
     
  8. MD2105

    MD2105 Filing Flight Plan

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    Great write up, Hindsight. Thanks for putting that together for us!
     
  9. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Rockstar trip man. Appreciate the writeup! I used to fly a Cheyenne II from Austin to Lafayette, LA a couple times per week - you're not kidding about the east TX weather. Every. Effin'. Afternoon.
     
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  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Great story man! Glad you got to visit your old stomping grounds. I rarely do XCs these days but want to get out and do more. Did a good one the other day from DNN to ORL though. ORL is crazy busy!

    I keep telling myself I’m gonna do an over water to the Bahamas. Maybe start off with a simple Key West first. One of these days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  11. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Dude, AWESOME trip and fantastic write up. Bravo! And thanks. Looking forward to customs experiences and advice.

    Tools, who’s little solo trip from OSH to Chatt in the old Cessna 120 last week quite pales in comparison, but the winds were HOWLING...
     
  12. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    If you if you had a Comanche with tip tanks you wouldn't have had to stop at all. :D
     
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  13. idahoflier

    idahoflier Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nice trip, thanks for sharing! Looking forward to watching the video!
     
  14. 35 AoA

    35 AoA Pattern Altitude

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    Heck of a trip! First part reminds me of a couple years ago when we were flying back to VA Beach but had to dodge some weather on the more northerly route. Ended up at KMEI for some gas. Think it had been about a decade since I'd been there and oh man have they upped their FBO lounge game. Good gas stop