My longest flight to date is now my non-stop flight from Salem, OR to Redding CA. What for you ask? Well besides still needing to build time for my Commercial, my friends birthday was coming up and he really wanted to get some In-N-Out burgers. So we flew down to Redding for the sole purpose of eating some delicious In-N-Out burgers! How cool is that! I’m really going to miss it when I no longer have to build time, and can pick my destinations. Here’s how the flight went:
Before we left, the only interesting things I got from the flight briefer for my flight was reported light rime ice at 7,700 feet near Eugene. The tops, according to the Area Forecast (FA) were reported at 8,000 feet, and it was reportedly overcast all the way to Medford. That’s only 300 feet from the reported ice and the tops of the clouds. Not to mention the ice report was so high up, I knew that if it got bad enough, I could always descend out of it as I would still be in the Willamette Valley. Ok, so I knew what to expect, had a plan, and an alternative plan. I felt comfortable to continue the flight. I filed 9,000 feet and figured I could always ask for 11,000 if I was bobbing in and out of the tops.
We took off at 8:40am, the climb was fairly uneventful until we got to, how high you ask? It was freaky, at exactly 7,700 feet we started to notice a little ice building. I reported the ice to ATC and continued climbing, hoping for the tops to appear any minute. Again, it blew me away at how accurate the forecast was, because at 8,000 we saw blue skies. I continued my climb to 9,000 feet, however it was a few degrees below freezing, so it took a while for the little ice we had accumulated to break away. But it finally did.
The cruise portion of the flight was uneventful. We were about 1,000 feet above the overcast layer, so there was too much to look at, and we had almost 3 hours of this! Nearing the Siskiyous I opted to cancel my IFR flight plan as there were some tall Cumulous clouds that I didn’t want to go through, and I could see that it was becoming broken, to scattered and the MEA for that portion would make me climb to 11,000 feet. Also Redding was reporting Clear skies so I had no doubt that we would be able to descend into Redding completely VFR. It was really weird watching as we approached the California border, how it almost instantly went from Overcast to clear. It’s sad really.
Descending into Redding, we got a great view of Shasta Lake. It also really tested my VFR navigation skills. I haven’t had to find an airport I haven’t been to, not being IFR, in a little while. But we found it, called ‘em 10 miles out and made a very nice landing.
We asked the lady at the FBO’s desk if we could borrow the courtesy car. The look on her face when my friend piped up, “Yeah, we just flew down here for my birthday from Salem, JUST to get In-N-Out burgers” was priceless. I love seeing what kind of car I get when I land at a new airport. The car we got was an old Lincoln Towncar. Actually is was fairly nice compared to some of the cars I’ve used. Best of all, the A/C worked. It was 85 degrees, and that may not seem like much, but we just descended out of below freezing temperatures. So we were happy the A/C worked. With both of us on our iPhone’s trying to figure out how to get to In-N-Out, we pressed onward.
We arrived at In-N-Out and ate our burgers (I had the Double-Double). Mission Accomplished. We also met up with my boss, who had just started his family vacation driving around the country. Took him I think a little over 6 hours to get to In-N-Out. Took us 3. I tried not to rub it in….too much.
I will continue the rest of my journey on my next blog post, where we got into hail, moderate rain, and was VMC for about an hour(which seemed like forever when you don’t have an autopilot).
To be continue…