Monday morning dawned bright and clear in Virginia, but there was again a chance for bad weather on the second half of the flight through New England.
My parents had to meet up with their trail crew to build a privy, so we needed to decide go/no-go early. Their project was delayed by the same winds and weather we had dodged on the way down. Finally over the weekend, the forest service helicopter came to fly the materials in.
The weather hazard was a risk of icing. The in flight icing warning covered all of New England. On the other hand, the non-aviation forecasts for southern New England predicted temperatures well above freezing, and only a chance of rain rather than certainty. I was voting to stay in Lynchburg an extra day because Tuesday’s weather looked much better everywhere, and I could visit with my parents for longer. Tyson urged us to go because he thought we could easily turn back if necessary; he anticipated good odds of getting through; and he really needed to get back to work.
So we scrambled to get packed and out the door. Tyson had enough gas to make it all the way home. I was going to stop at Poughkeepsie, NY. Tyson got a head start so I didn’t pass him until northern Virginia. Somehow, we again had a headwind, even flying east.
When I turned the corner around the DC airspace, I started to need to go pee. Poughkeepsie was still over an hour away, so I did my best to ignore it. While working my way through Harrisburg, PA airspace, I happened to notice my amended flight path went directly over Beltzville, PA, an airport we have stopped at frequently on the way to WV and VA. My bladder declared there was no way I was flying past a perfectly good toilet, no matter my original plans, so I landed and made a run for the toilet.
Mr Beltz was there, so I was able to get gas. Another person walked over to chat too. I said some about my Sun ‘n Fun experience. I was less social than I should have been because I was getting tired, and my ears were stuffed up from an oncoming cold and ringing from airplane noise. I bounced both my landing and takeoff, but that’s more a feature of Beltzville than my piloting skills.
Tyson IM’d me that we should stop at Jaffrey for homemade mac’n cheese lunch. The only precipitation I saw all trip was a couple drops on my windshield in the pattern at Jaffrey. The icing risk never materialized. Tyson and Isaac arrived 15 minutes later. During lunch, the winds increased significantly. Lee suggested just leaving the RV-4 at Jaffrey. Given how tired I was, I agreed. Tyson flew us all home to a very bumpy landing over the trees — probably 20kts gusts.
So that’s the end of our big cross country adventure. I flew by far the farthest I ever have and dealt with busy fly-in ATC. I did not quite make it home, but I claim I would have if Tyson hadn’t decoyed me with lunch at Jaffrey. And now I’m a 200+ hour pilot.
Previous day: Flight from Florida to Virginia