Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coast to Coast in a Day

We went from Boston to Seattle yesterday, in the longest trip yet in the Mustang. After 1.5 hr delay in the morning (because SOMEONE forgot their bags and had to go home to get them), we headed off into clear skies. "Cleared direct Manchester direct destination."

Well north of Lake Huron, the radios were quiet so we asked always friendly Canadian ATC where the closest traffic was: "I've got a guy 60 miles south of you". First stop in the Upper Michigan Peninsula (CMX) was not looking good due to ever present Great Lake moisture. With only a 20-30 kt headwind, we diverted further down the road to Hibbing, MN (HIB), home of Bob Dylan's youth. In the FBO were various animal trophies. My Israeli-born passenger inquired if that indeed had been a real bear, which of course it was.

We continued on over North Dakota, land of frozen rivers. Even though visibility was hundreds of miles in all directions, we still could not pick out the ICBM launch sites from 8 miles up in the air.

Landing in beautiful, 20 dC warmer Great Falls, Montana (airport diagram), ATC asked us to exit runway 21 at taxiway A3. With a 2 mi runway, no visible traffic, nothing showing on our cockpit traffic, why would the tower ask us to attempt a landing with only 1500' of runway? We declined and used a more practical 5000'. Before fully exiting the runway, we had our answer as two ANG F15s screamed behind our back for a military break and landing.

The final short leg to Seattle was at lower altitude in go-fast mode. We hit some light icing, the most we've had so far in the Mustang. The boots did their job adequately. Constant moisture from the Pacific coupled with mountain lifting in the Cascades, makes the Pacific Northwest one of the ripest areas for icing in the world. On approach at Boeing Field (BFI), a small piston was in the pattern on the parallel runway while we broke out at 700' above minimums for a landing on the wet runway.

Amazing what you can see in 8 hours of flying.

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