I’ve been lazy. I had another flight since my last one, and neglected to blog about it. I have one more you will see immediately after this one as well from this past weekend.
After getting rated in the DA-40 with that beautiful glass cockpit, Cayce, Nancy, and I made a run down to Stephenville for some BBQ! The original plan was to go into Tyler, but low ceilings and en-route IFR conditions sent us west.
Initially, we had to hang close to the ground, which makes me very uneasy. We finally got a hold of a flight service station that helped us decipher the clouds we were looking at outside the glass. Sometimes clouds are an optical illusion, and you can’t really tell where the lines are until you are in the clouds. For someone not on an IFR flight plan, that can be terrifying and illegal! After we determined that climbing was acceptable, we shot up a few thousand feet.
We had some serious headwinds on the way down that turned into tail winds on the way back. 160Kts over ground on the way back is pretty fun! Makes for a very short flight.
We had some fun with ATC on the way back as we usually do at some point during the flight. We were cruising at 6,500 feet heading direct to KDTO from KSEP, several miles outside of the Class Bravo airspace (including the 30NM ring around KDFW), and we heard the following conversation from Ft. Worth Center:
ATC: “Eagle 1234: Traffic, twelve o-clock, fife miles, traffic is a Cessna at six thousand, fife hundred.” (At this point, I started looking around because any small plane is often entered into the ATC system incorrectly as a Cessna. Shortly after I started looking around I saw a blip pop up on my traffic avoidance system.)
Eagle 1234: “Roger, we’re looking but don’t see him yet, Eagle 1234.”
Two minutes pass.
ATC: “Eagle 1234: Traffic, twelve o-clock, tree miles, turn left heading 270.”
Eagle 1234: “Turn left, heading 270, Eagle 1234.”
At this point, I looked out the right side of the aircraft and saw the wingspan of an ATR-72 banking away and behind us, but coming up quickly from below. At this point, there is no way the pilots could see us because they would almost have to look through the floor to find us.
Me: “Ft. Worth Center, 4SG, we have that Eagle traffic in sight and he will pass behind us.”
ATC: “Roger 4SG, maintain VFR.”
Then a few minutes later that poor eagle flight got the call to re-intercept the intersection or point they were shooting for on their departure. So thanks to us, fully abiding by regulations, some poor schleps on their way to Abilene or something had to fly around us in our glorified lawn mower in the sky. It’s amazing flying in the system and watching all of the various elements of the air traffic system work to prevent accidents.
Was a great flight, and a great airport! Hard 8 in Stephenville is SO MUCH better than the one in Coppell.