Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dane's Trip to Washington Pt. IV

After getting some zzz's, Matt and started the familiar routine of checking the weather, checking our route, gathering all of our things and receiving a flight and weather brief from the Briefer. We got back to the plane, and thankfully it was right where we had left it. We had gotten our tanks topped off the day before, so we didn't have to worry about fueling up. We did all the standard pre-flight inspections, set up our cockpit and made sure the plane was balanced the way we had planned.

During the pre-flight

Emily and me in front of the DA42
One of my best friends from High School, Emily, came down from Sunnyside to say hi and see us off with my parents. It was fun to see her and share what I've been doing for the last two years. We visited briefly, but all too soon, we got into the plane and prepped to leave. We loaded our flight plan into our G1000 (our glass avionics flight-deck... no round dials here! This is similar to the GPS unit that Garmin makes for cars, but on steroids! And way more expensive... and it can do 100 times more), warmed up the engines, taxied down and took off!

Notice what my Dad said there at the beginning? Punk! Go be friends with that chump in Pasco!

My dad shot some video of the takeoff also...

We couldn't pass by the opportunity to show off, so I performed what is referred to as a "soft field" take off. Long story short, you lift off the ground, level off just 10-15 feet off the ground and keep heading down the runway picking up speed. Once we got to the end of the runway, I pulled back a little aggressively and took advantage of all the extra airspeed to rocket into the atmosphere. If I remember correctly, my instruments indicated that we were climbing at about 2500 ft per minute there for just a second or two... that's fast by the way.

We took off to the east, made a left climbing turn 270 degrees so that we could clear the Rattlesnake Hills, and rocketed up to FL180. Our climb was quick and efficient because I set the autopilot for the climb out. It held the best climb airspeed (90 kias) with precision, and consequently we wasted no energy getting up to our chosen altitude. Can I just say that the auto pilot in this plane is amazing? The autopilot is integrated into the G1000 which makes it more accurate, precise and robust. It works in perfect synchronization with all the different functions of the flight-deck.

This shows us our heading, altitude, vertical speed, indicated speed, and much more. 

This shows all of our engine info (far left, mostly off screen), moving map, flight plan and more. Up top is our ground speed... 204! That is 235 mph.
We got in contact with Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) quickly, picked up our IFR clearance, and shortly after leveling off at FL180 received clearance to fly direct to Provo from our position.

Flying high (FL180) above Oregon, shortly after crossing the Columbia river.

On our way to Washington, it took us about 3.5 hours total to get to Prosser. On this trip, we planned to go non-stop and get back as soon as we could. We had enough fuel, and we hoped that our bladders would be big enough to handle the trip. Luckily for us, there was a pretty decent tail wind and we got as fast as 204 knots ground speed, and about 170 ktas. That is the fastest I've ever flown (well, flown my own plane), and we made great time back to Provo. Our total flight time was 2 hours and 45 mins from startup to shutdown. Not bad considering that the drive takes about 11-12 hours. :)

Our flight track back to Provo

Coming back, we ran into some clouds with some decent vertical development. Usually that means turbulence, ice accumulation, etc. Not a good idea for our tiny little plane to fly into. We skirted around them, but once we got over the Great Salt Lake, we opted to finish our flight VFR to skip the clouds and expedite our arrival into Provo.

Our arrival took us just west of SLC int'l airport, and then just east of Kennecot. They had us fly above the traffic arriving into the Int'l airport, over the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. After passing the point of the mountain, we made a straight in approach for runway 13 and landed just in time to beat out an approaching storm.

That was it! I hope you enjoyed following along with my long rants and complex explanations. I did this mostly as a means of journal keeping and to be able to look back at it in the future for memories. Despite that, I hope you learned something new about aviation, me or our part of the country.

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