Leg #1 3CK-KAGC
Climb: 90mph to 7,500
Cruise: 140mph, 30.5″, 6.1 gph
Time: 3.9 hours w/ 125mph gs ave
Check out those hills! I never knew Pittsburg had so many hills.
Time for stop two and our overnight destination, Cuyahoga County which is 19nm NE of KCLE. Flight had light chop and a 10-12kt xwind landing. Uneventful, but with the increasing wind we decided to hangar the plane for the night instead of leaving it on the ramp.
Leg #2 KAGC-KCGF
Climb: 95mph to 2,500
Cruise: 130mph, 29″, 5.8 gph
Time: 0.7 hours w/ 103mph gs ave
We had a nice evening with my wife’s family and took my other brother in law flying the next morning.
Due to incoming weather, we assessed our options for the weekend and decided to cut it short and get home.
Winds had increased by this time, inclement weather was over Chicago and the headwinds winds at 2,500 ft were 15kt. Winds at 4,500 ft were 40kt. So we fueled to the max hoping it would be enough for the 326 mile trip home.
Departing KCGF we got tossed around like a paper airplane. KCLE was too busy to acknowledge us so we couldn’t get clearance for higher altitude and was forced to stay below the B airspace for the first 30 min. After an hour of making decent GS, we were both feeling queezy and decided to sacrifice speed for comfort.
The downside was we were barely passing cars on the highway. Winds had increased to 40-50mph and our ground speed was a mere 90mph. As Center passed us onto South Bend approach the MGL was letting me know we had 1.5hr of flight time and 1.6hr of fuel left. Dang, the new 11gal aux tank wasn’t going to get us home from CLE non-stop. Down into the bumpy air we went, requesting a new destination…KSBN. We setup for a final to RWY19 (winds below 2,000 were 190 @10 g20. On final we advised Tower we were looking for some self serve 100LL and needed a quick departure.
I take a moment to process and look around to see 70+ private jets lining closed runways and ramps. There is the owner of the UFC and his Global Express. The Under Armor jet. More Gulfstreams than I can count. Seriously, I have never seen an airport so full of expensive jets and planes. It was packed. We taxied for 4 minutes behind the cart while he wove us around dozens of jets.
Climb: 100mph to 4,500
Cruise: 130-140mph, 29″-31″, 5.8-6.3 gph
Time: 2.7 hours w/ 98mph gs ave
We blasted out and with more than enough fuel so we put the hammer down to 32″ and leveled off at 2,500ft. Smooth air but that head wind was back in our faces, this time over 50mph.
We dipped below the Bravo airspace (1,900 ft) and got tossed around a lot. After clearing we climbed quickly to 2,500, back in smooth air again. The landing was going to suck, I knew that already. It was night, the RWY was 26 (straight into the 50mph wind at 2,500) but a 60 degree cross wind on landing. ASOS said 12 g17mph.
2 mile final I put in 10 degrees and kept the bird fast (90mph final). We cross through the wind sheer which had dropped to 2,000 ft and increased to 52mph, into the turmoil of xwind chop. The plane worked hard for me. A few pockets of air had me at 42″ inches then quickly back to 16″ to keep on the glide slope. I knew this was a one shot landing, because if we had to abort, we were destined to fly to KDPA for a RWY facing the winds.
50 feet above the plane is still tossing. I hammer more rudder and more throttle. She settles in and the mains hit as planned…firm and fast. A gust blows us back up slightly but I keep the stick down and dump the flaps and grab the brakes. She doesn’t side skid or anything, just stays planted as if it had the weight of a 747. It took 2,000 ft to slow her down, and with a smile, I look over at my co-pilot and say, “welcome home sweetie”.
Leg #4 KCGF-3CK
Climb: 100mph to 2,500
Cruise: 135mph, 32″, 6.8 gph
Time: 1.2 hours w/ 107mph gs ave
That is one solid airframe. It flew really well. We idled the engine for 6 minutes so the oil temps and turbo could cool. The engine worked on final and oil temps climbed to 210 briefly. The turbo did it’s job and told that wind sheer who was boss!