This site is a collection of flight journals as well as tips and resources for general aviation pilots. We hope others will discover the joy of flight through our stories and continue to develop their piloting skills.
After completing our turn to intercept the course to Newcastle (ECS), we were just below 10,000 feet and still climbing to our assigned altitude of 12,000 feet. Nancy got the oxygen system turned on and plugged both of us in. Although wearing the nasal cannula for the oxygen supply is never a treat, it was a sign that we were getting closer to home. The colors on our sectional charts had changed from green (depicting the flatlands of Iowa where we started this flying day) to brown (reflecting the higher terrain here in Wyoming).
posted in Trip Journals · Nov 24, 2006
A TFR had popped up near Chadron, Nebraska which was one of our planned fuel stops. There were several fires burning in the northwest part of Nebraska so the FAA imposed temporary flight restrictions all around Chadron, NE to give firefighting aircraft complete access.
The best option was to move our fuel stop north, and a good choice would be Rapid City, South Dakota. During the eastbound portion of this trip we flew right past Rapid City and regretted not making a stop there to check out Mount Rushmore. I was really excited for a chance to see Mount Rushmore especially since we had been so close on our way to Minneapolis. It’s great how things just work themselves out sometimes.
posted in Trip Journals · Oct 28, 2006
Shortly after clearing the busy airspace near Washington, DC I had a chance to pan the 396 display westward to see what the weather looked like in Des Moines (almost 700 miles away from our present position). There were lots of thunderstorms brewing all around Des Moines, and I figured those would just get more intense as the day progressed. I told Nancy, “There’s no way we’re going to make it to Des Moines today.”
We spent three days exploring and admiring as many sites as possible in Washington, DC. Naturally, a good portion of our time was spent in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum as well as its companion facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. No long story to share, just a few select pictures. Enjoy!
posted in Trip Journals · Sep 17, 2006
The briefer said there was a convective SIGMET for southeastern Indiana, northern Kentucky, and northeast from there to Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. The thunderstorms associated with that SIGMET were moving east-northeast at 30 knots. All of that matched with the areas of heavy precipitation I saw on the radar plot when I was at the weather computer. The briefer confirmed that our planned route would keep us well north of the storms and their forecasted track if we left soon. Further along our route there was another storm cell in northeast Ohio that was also moving northeast at 25 knots. That cell was right on our path, but by the time we reached that part of Ohio it would be off to the northeast. The briefer said, “Once you get past the eastern Ohio border, you should be in good shape.”
posted in Trip Journals · Sep 10, 2006
The frontal system was still north of Illinois and Indiana, but it was clearly going to move south during the time of our flight. There was a low pressure center sitting right on top of Des Moines, but it looked like we’d be in good shape through Illinois. Some rain was already falling across Indiana with a few storm cells visible on radar. Chances are we’d get some more time in the clouds before our arrival in Fort Wayne.
The clouds were forecast to thicken as we got into Indiana. The Fort Wayne airport forecast called for overcast skies at 1,500 feet above ground level. One of the two main runways at Fort Wayne was closed, and the remaining runway 5/23 had construction under way so the northeast 3,900 feet were closed.
posted in Technology · Sep 01, 2006
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posted in Trip Journals · Aug 29, 2006
On Tuesday night, we planned our flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Manassas, Virginia with a fuel stop in Dayton, Ohio. This was a new route, since our original plan was to fly from Appleton, Wisconsin to Manassas, VA, but the airplane never made it to Appleton as planned. I chose Dayton as our fuel stop on the way to Manassas because it’s a fairly large airport that has good maintenance facilities available. Since we just had maintenance done on the Mooney, I was being extra-conservative in our flight planning.
I was doing all this flight planning with limited information, since our hotel room didn’t have internet access. So I used the good old fashioned telephone and called up Flight Service for an outlook briefing for the flights I had tentatively planned for the next day (Wednesday). The weather picture wasn’t good.
After several years at my old hosting company, WebIntellects, I have decided to switch to DreamHost. They’ve got a good reputation, great prices and packages, and support for everything I need today for this web site. They also support several things I’m interested in doing in the future, such as Ruby on Rails.
Visitors to pfactor.com should not see any difference, other than improved performance. If you notice something different about the site that you think I should be aware of, please drop me a note.
posted in Trip Journals · Aug 26, 2006
This was my first time ever flying a brand-new airplane. Sure I’ve sat in plenty of them at various airshows over the years, but I finally got a chance to take one up in the air. The Diamond DA40 was simply a pleasure to fly. The center-mounted control stick felt like it was positioned perfectly, and the controls were nicely harmonized and responsive. Before we knew it, we had our take off clearance from Appleton Tower and we headed north to stay away from the swarm of airplanes converging on Oshkosh just a few miles to the south.