Picking up my pretty Princess (plane)!—my first trip report [photos added, post #26] - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:22 PM   #1
GingerJ
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Picking up my pretty Princess (plane)!—my first trip report [photos added, post #26]

DH Jay and I leave early Thursday morning, flying Southwest Airlines to Phoenix, to pick up my new (-to-me) airplane, my Princess!

I’ve had such good luck with this purchase. A friend on a pilots’ forum I frequent knew I was looking to buy a plane, and showed me an online ad for a lovely 1981 Piper Warrior II. It’s very similar to the ones I learned on, but newer and prettier, and with a 160-horsepower engine instead of 180. So it’ll be perhaps 8 mph slower—this I can live with.

The drawback is that the plane is in Prescott, Arizona. So another online pilot friend (Jeff) who lives in Phoenix volunteered to help out. He ended up driving to Prescott and test-flying it for me.

We had an independent mechanic give it a thorough check, including all the logbooks, and he did a minor repair for us, too.

Jeff volunteered to pick us up from the airport and drive us to Prescott; I protested that it was too much, but he said he’s on Retired Standard Time, and insisted. We’ve picked up some aviation-related souvenirs from Dayton (home of the Wright brothers), and will treat him and his wife to dinner.

Since the elevation at Prescott is 5,000+ feet, the plane’s performance will be less, so we’re having to pack very lightly. DH and I spent today going over the plans for flying her back to Ohio, packing our flight gear in his flight bag to carry on, and putting the minimum amount of clothes for several days in a bag to check.

If the weather is perfect and we have no mechanical problems, we could theoretically make the trip in two easy (6-7 hour) days. Nothing’s guaranteed, though, so we’re basically packing a couple extra shirts and underwear for several days.

I’m a tiny bit anxious about flying near the mountains at those altitudes, but DH’s thorough planning (as always) and his extensive flying experience help to reassure me.

I rented a similar plane yesterday and we flew around and practiced some landings. I hadn’t flown in a month, and I want to be freshly experienced and confident when I climb into my Princess for our first flight!

We pick up DS18 from Ohio State in Columbus (about 70 miles away) tomorrow. Then, since our flight leaves at 8 am from Columbus, we’ll leave home before bedtime and head right back. Sad to have so little time with him, but we’ll be back soon...and we had some time with him earlier this month.

[I wrote this on my new iPad, to make sure I’ll be able to update my report without taking my laptop along. So far, so good!]
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Old 05-02-2018, 02:15 AM   #2
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Oh I'm so happy you're going to be documenting this momentous step in your flying path. I know how many of us followed along when you were qualifying for your licence and I can't wait to hear how this goes as you bring your princess home.
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:35 PM   #3
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Sending along pixies that everything goes smoothly and you have a wonderful time enjoying your new Princess.
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:25 PM   #4
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I am so glad you are doing a TR. I hope you have wonderful weather for this momentous adventure.
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:07 AM   #5
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Very cool! Looking forward to hearing about your experience!


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Old 05-03-2018, 08:44 PM   #6
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Congratulations! This is very cool!


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Old 05-04-2018, 12:02 AM   #7
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Day one: Wednesday, May 3rd.

We stayed last night at a Hilton Garden Inn right at the airport. Neither of us slept well, mostly because the mattress was soft and we knew we had to be up very early for our 8 am flight. I just hope we get a good night’s sleep tonight, so we’ll be sharp for our cross-country flight!

Flying from Columbus to Atlanta was routine. Fortunately DH remembered we needed to get lunch before boarding our plane, or the flight would’ve been unpleasant.

Tornadoes and thunderstorms in the Midwest meant every single west-bound flight from Atlanta (and probly other East Coast airports) all had to be rerouted. So we spent a solid hour on the ground, waiting for clearance to take off—this on top of a flight already scheduled to take four hours.

The view from 35,000 feet—our cruising altitude—is very different from the view at 3,500 feet, which is closer to where I usually fly. DH is always encouraging me to fly a bit higher (but not this high, of course), so I can have a better view; now I see why. I tend to hang out at a lower altitude, so I don’t have to factor in descent time

I saw a couple of small airports out the window before we topped the broken-cloud layer. In my experience, they’re much harder to find when you’re actually looking for one!

We went clear down to the Gulf of Mexico to avoid the storms. At one point, I started seeing what looked like marshlands, places where the land looked like it was about 6 inches above sea level (from up there). Then I had the bright idea to open up ForeFlight, which we use for navigation, and look at the aeronautical charts (very detailed maps) to see if I could find our location. I couldn’t get our exact location, but I did see marshlands on the chart, in southern Lousiana, that looked a great deal like what I saw out the window.

Then we were back over the Gulf with no land in sight for as far as I could see. From this great height, the water was a featureless blue, dotted with clouds. We could almost have been flying inverted, it looked so much like the sky.

My online pilot friend, Jeff, and his wife, Cheryl, picked us up from the airport and drove us to Prescott, to meet the owners at the hangar.

We’d hoped to transfer the money tonight, after a test flight, but the late start and the time difference meant the escrow agency (in the Midwest) was closed.

I flew with the owner (insurance—he had to be the pilot), and handled the controls for only a little while, as we just took off and landed once, before he flew with DH. Yep, she flies like an airplane!

She looks just as sweet as the pictures indicated. Also, its update means it fits a woman as well as a man. The seats rise or lower at the pull of a lever—no more carting around a cushion so I can see over the panel. AND it adjusts to my Goldilocks spot—other planes moved to too-close or too-far; my Princess fits me just right!

We had dinner with the owners and Jeff & Cheryl and had a fabulous time, talking aviation and sharing life stories. Jeff & Cheryl are invited to visit us any time! I gave them some souvenirs from Dayton, Ohio, to thank them for all they’ve done for us, including the first test-flight a couple weeks ago.

We hope to have the paperwork done and fly out by 8:30 local time. This is a few hours later than we’d hoped (remember, our bodies are still on East Coast time).

What fun!
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Old 05-04-2018, 01:40 AM   #8
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Sounds like a great start to your trip and I'm glad you like your princess as much as you hoped you would.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:47 AM   #9
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following along, sounds like a great start to your adventure.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:20 AM   #10
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Sorry for the delay, but so excited for you to start flying home.
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:59 PM   #11
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So glad to hear that Princess is the perfect fit for you. Can't wait to read about your flight home. Safe travels.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:17 AM   #12
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Day 2, May 4:

We stayed last night at a gorgeous hotel in Prescott, the Hassayampa Inn. It was built in 1927, and many celebs like Clark Gable and Greta Garble have stayed there. All Art Deco decor. Fabulous!

So we left Prescott Airport at 8:30 this morning, AZ time. Mr. J did the first takeoff and initial climb and I flew nearly all the rest of the time, letting him drive occasionally so he wouldn’t be too bored.

A couple things need to be fixed to make her fly easier. There’s something called a trim wheel that takes the load off the yoke when you’re pulling it back or pushing it forward to climb or descend. It’s SO hard to turn! Our mechanic has fixed this on rental planes, so I know he can do this.

The second thing is the compass on the panel (dashboard). Most of them drift a little, but this one would drift 10 degrees every 15 minutes or so. Hard to stay on course when your compass is messing with you!

But she handled very well, and I landed her twice just fine.

Mr. J was navigating, using a program called ForeFlight. Eventually we realized I needed to see the moving map, too, if I was going to be flying in a straight line!

We flew 7 hours total today in three hops, and will do the same tomorrow.

I was a little concerned about flying over the mountains around Prescott, but they were no challenge for my Princess!

I’d read up on mountain flying, and one thing the article said was that if you see more real estate showing up behind the mountain as you approached it, then you’re higher than the mountain, even if it looks as if you’re not.

Flying over the mountains, we experienced a fair amount of light turbulence, making it a little harder to keep flying straight and level, but not too awful.

The mountains were rugged and beautiful.

Then when we overflew Texas, the farms were a lovely sight from the air. All the planted fields were circular, because of the irrigating machines that rotated to water them, but they were still in square plots, and in many different colors. It looked like God had lain a gigantic patchwork quilt over all the land, from horizon to horizon!

This was probly the loveliest scenery we saw today.

Once we hit Texas and the flatter lands, the turbulence was nearly over, and flying straight and level was much easier.

Tonight we’re in Wichita Falls, Texas, after having landed at (I kid you not) Kickapoo Downtown Airport.

Tomorrow, the adventure continues!
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Old 05-05-2018, 08:40 AM   #13
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Sounds like a nice adventure so far, glad Princess is doing so well.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:02 PM   #14
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This is a very unique TR and nothing like anything here! Glad you love your Princess and everything you hoped she would be. Glad you have begun your adventure with her with several flights with her on the way home.
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:49 PM   #15
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What a great adventure for you. Glad the Princess fits you well.
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