Sunday, September 18, 2011

Icewater Mansion

It felt good to stretch my wings a bit.  After getting my fill of local flights, and flights to nearby airports, I asked my wife Monica what she'd think of a "flying vacation".  She thought it was a great idea, and so we made plans to fly to Sky Harbor Airport on Duluth's Park Point.  Monica and I both went to college in Duluth, and it's a neat town, so we like to visit as much as possible.  Plus, Lake Superior, which boasts the largest surface area of any lake in the world, is also a seaport and the ship watching is very cool.

Amazingly, we left the house on time, got to the airport a little early, and took off 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  Another club member landed and was putting a plane away when we were getting ready, and said the air was very smooth.  He was was a nice smooth flight all the way up to Duluth.  I climbed to 3500 feet and cruised at a stately 108 knots (fuel burn of 9.6 gallons per hour).  As we approached the Duluth/Superior area, I heard on the shared CTAF frequency that they were doing skydiving ops over the Superior Airport (3 miles southwest of Sky Harbor) and there was a slightly disoriented older gentleman over the airport as well.  I did a non-standard wide entry to base for Sky Harbor and landed without a problem.

Jake helps with the preflight
Gotta make sure the altimeter is set correctly...
Just like riding in the car. 
Sky Harbor is the bare patch in the middle of the narrow strip.

Later my wife mentioned she was nervous because the runway looked so short.  It's actually 3000 feet long but with water on both sides, it's a much different sight picture than what she's used to.  My son Jake simply played his leapster in the back seat the whole trip.  I took that as a compliment.

Actually it does kind of look short from up here.

Ship watching in Canal Park.  You have to take the bridge to get to Sky Harbor.

After using my iPhone to learn how to tie a knot in the tiedown, we grabbed our bags and met the Enterprise rental car driver.  We dropped him off, and did our usual touristy stuff.

The flight back was a little bumpier, as the winds had picked up a bit, but the takeoff, cruise, and landing at Crystal Airport were all uneventful.  I even got my wife to take the controls for a bit as I set up the GPS, but upon looking back outside, I noticed we were in an unusual attitude.  So, we might have to look into a pinch hitter course for her some time...

Home sweet home.

All in all, it was a very fun and successful weekend.  My wife has now made more suggestions for flights like Madeline Island and Door County, Wisconsin.

1 comment:

James David said...

Taking your family on your flight as a pilot is really fulfilling. I think you were so happy not only because you had a nice flight but also because your wife and your son is with you during the entire trip. I want to see more of your experiences with your family on the suggested places your wife mentioned. Thanks for sharing.

James David teaches people how to buy single engine airplanes & has a passion for the Cessna 170