Picking up my pretty Princess (plane)!—my first trip report [photos added, post #26] - Page 2 - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:58 PM   #16
pamcarey
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Sounds like everything is working out well with your Princess!


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Old 05-05-2018, 08:05 PM   #17
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sounds like a great way to cross the country.
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:17 PM   #18
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Trip report, day 3, May 5, 2018: (very long!)

We woke up fairly early and made a good meal of the free breakfast at our hotel. I hadn’t really realized that our midday meals would be whatever was available at the airport terminals—and we ain’t talking JFK or O’Hare! These FBOs (fixed-base operators) at mainly small municipal airports vary wildly in comfort, size, and amenities.

Yesterday at Deming, NM, since we filled the tank, we were given free access to the edibles there—pre-packaged sandwiches of unknown vintage, but not too bad; M&Ms, and soft drinks. Believe me when I tell you, this amounts to princely treatment (or Princess-ly treatment!), compared to the offerings elsewhere.

I know now for our next cross-country to bring lots of singles and change, as most food is from a vending machine. Had we left from home, we’d have had a cooler with our own sandwiches and not left ourselves to the mercy of aviation enthusiasts. These guys may know all about flying, but they seem fairly uninterested in healthy eating, lol. DH had suggested I bring some protein bars & peanut-butter crackers to supplement our meals; this saved us, as we didn’t always land at mealtime.

Yesterday, we flew at 9,500 feet altitude—for VFR flights (visual flight rules), you’re supposed to fly at odd-thousand-plus-500-foot altitudes for eastward flights, and even-thousand-plus-500-feet going westward. This is above-sea-level altitude. The atmosphere was what you’d expect at 9,500 feet, but we were usually only about 4,000 above ground level, or less in the mountains.

Today we started out at 7,500 and sunshine with haze, but as the clouds moved in and the ceiling lowered, we dropped to 5,500 for the remainder of the flight.

The eastern parts of Texas weren’t quite as gorgeous as the western farmlands, but were pretty, too. The puffy clouds that first moved in were floating islands of cotton fluff, and their shadows on the farms looked like scattered pieces of the world’s hardest jigsaw puzzle.

We stayed well beneath the clouds, as we’re supposed to do, but one mischievous cloud dropped a filmy hand down and smacked us in the face with it! For about three seconds, we were enveloped in the cloud, and it was easy to see how pilots can get disoriented when they wander unprepared into clouds: the world turns gray all around you and you have no external cues of up versus down. But our three seconds of cloud ended quickly and we were through.

On across Oklahoma and into Joplin, Missouri, through southern Illinois and Indiana: As we proceeded eastward and northward, we saw miles and miles and miles of farms, but their character changed. From the severely rectangular fields of Texas with crops planted and watered in huge circles, the more easterly farms began to have irregular edges. Some were bordered by roads or rivers, and others followed their own particular geographical features.

Well into the Midwest, we started to see large copses of trees in the middle of acres of cropland. Windbreaks? Forever fallow? Too rocky to till? Property borders? I can only guess at the reasons.

I noticed quite a few flooded fields in Illinois, remnants of the severe weather from a couple days before (which our airliner to Phoenix traveled hundreds of miles south to avoid on Thursday).

We saw lots of rivers that doubled back on themselves like contortionist snakes. The Mississippi was impressive and rather bendy, too, and we saw some extremely long barges traveling on it. The flood plains on the eastern side were exceptionally flat and seemed extremely fertile, from our vantage point, anyway.

I would’ve imagined before this flight that a field is a field—even living out here in Ohio, they mostly look like square green swathes, nearly indistinguishable from each other. But in almost 17 hours of flight in a small plane, I saw a multitude of different shapes, sizes, and colors of fields that I’d have not imagined before.

The flying itself was interesting; my husband performed the initial takeoff, as everything handles differently at higher elevations, but I took care of all the rest…and let him land the plane once.

Lacking an autopilot, flying straight and level and staying on course took continued effort, but wasn’t all-consuming. It did increase my skill and confidence levels; I’m a lot more comfortable flying today than I was three days ago, to be sure!

We were able to get “flight-following” for all six legs of our journey. This is when air traffic controllers who aren’t already swamped agree to keep an eye on you. You get a code (or “squawk”) for your transponder so they can watch you, and they alert you when they see traffic nearby. Sometimes they’ll also reroute a plane—this happened in Phoenix, when our route of travel put us on the approach path of the big airliners. Gulp, sure, we’ll be happy to turn 45 degrees east for a bit!

On flight following, you listen to the airliners getting rapid-fire instructions…instead of slow-talking Pilot Pete giving long, drawn-out descriptions of his location every few minutes. It’s pretty interesting to be “handled” by the same folks directing 737s around the sky!

I gave DH the controls whenever he seemed to be getting bored, or I saw something interesting to photograph, so I figure I flew about 14 hours and he flew 3.

All in all, it was a fun adventure. I’m open to more flying cross-country trips in the future, especially if we stretch out the flying over several days next time.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:34 AM   #19
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Very interesting! So glad you shared the adventure with us.
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:35 AM   #20
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Your adventure is so interesting, love all the descriptions of the sights you are seeing. I imagine that you will gain a lot of confidence by the end of the flight.
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Old 05-06-2018, 01:06 PM   #21
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Quite an adventure across the USA and a completely different perspective of how you see things from the air when you're flying the plane. Not like being a passenger with a window seat and checking the views every so often.
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:20 PM   #22
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Clusters of trees in the middle of croplands likely would be natural, perhaps around a pond not visible from above.

Where I grew up in Western KS, windbreaks were a carefully planted line of bushes and trees. There would be a line of tall trees with bushes on either side of the row to provide an effective windbreak. Oftentimes, those are along one side of farm buildings but can also stretch along the edge of fields near a road or railroad tracks.

Planting windbreak trees was one important soil conservation effort after the horrific duststorms of the 1930s in the Plains States.

It really is interesting, I agree, to see how different croplands can look from the air in various parts of the country.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Her Dotness View Post
Clusters of trees in the middle of croplands likely would be natural, perhaps around a pond not visible from above.

Where I grew up in Western KS, windbreaks were a carefully planted line of bushes and trees. There would be a line of tall trees with bushes on either side of the row to provide an effective windbreak. Oftentimes, those are along one side of farm buildings but can also stretch along the edge of fields near a road or railroad tracks.

Planting windbreak trees was one important soil conservation effort after the horrific duststorms of the 1930s in the Plains States.

It really is interesting, I agree, to see how different croplands can look from the air in various parts of the country.
There was an interesting article about windbreaks in the Omaha World Herald the other day, as last week there were some bad dust storms leading to accidents (some fatal) on the highways. It talked about the history of the breaks and how some of the trees are dying off due to age and/or disease. Farmers are trending away from them due to other types of farming, such as planting ground cover in the fields. This was an interesting read for this new Mid-Westener.

Ginger, thanks for sharing your adventures. Who would have thought that there would be so much difference in the fields across the country.
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Old 05-07-2018, 11:05 AM   #24
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Sounds like a fascinating trip!
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:47 AM   #25
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Oh wow, it sounds like it's all going really well so far.
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:25 PM   #26
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I just realized I forgot to add photos!

Here's my Princess, posing in front of the Arizona mountains.


Coming in for a landing, on my first flight in her:



Thumbs up!



The fields of west Texas looked like God's giant patchwork quilt.


All the pale, sandy patches have an oil well just pumping away.


The mighty Mississippi, with barges and farms.


Cloud shadows like scattered pieces of the world's hardest jigsaw puzzle.


Bird's-eye view of the clouds.


Having fun now, flying over New Mexico!



Fields with trees, on a hazy day.


Flooded fields in Illinois.
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:46 PM   #27
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Love those photos! The Texas plains are amazing as is much of the USA once you get outside the crowded cities. Although, the cities look amazing from the air!

That photo of you approaching your "First" landing is a keeper and can be compared to a wedding or birth photo as a first and just so special! This one needs to be framed for your bedroom and/or living room as I'm sure you'll do! It was captured so well by someone on the ground with great skill as I'm sure you're most grateful for!
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Last edited by SuperDave; 05-08-2018 at 08:49 PM..
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:27 AM   #28
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Oh I'm so glad you added photos - those are awesome!
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:54 AM   #29
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She's beautiful! Congratulations!
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:59 AM   #30
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Amazing pictures!
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