Weather - 40I: Scattered clouds, 64 degrees, wind 090 degrees at 4 knots
Weather - OZW: Broken clouds, 60 degrees, wind 220 degrees at 8 knots
I needed to head up to Michigan to see my dad this afternoon. I drove up last week and wanted to save some time; the weather was also much more conducive to flying today. So, with the plane reserved for about 48 hours, I hopped in the 172 after lunch and pointed the nose north.
Highlights from tonight's slightly-less-than-two-hour flight (lots of ATC)
Columbus Approach quickly issued me a squawk code when I called for flight following abeam Wright Brothers. They turned me about 10 degrees right to stay clear of the arrivals/departures at DAY but the frequency was relatively calm; most calls were planes from the local drop zones announcing "jumpers away." Eventually I got cut loose at the end of their airspace near Lima.
North of Lima, I called Toledo Approach. They were able to get me into the system so I'd have flight following the rest of the way. That frequency was also pretty quiet, save for a few guys hugging Lake Erie's south shoreline on the way to Put-in-Bay.
Sometimes navigation's too easy; I followed this road for about 50 miles
Eventually I got handed off to Detroit Approach, which moved me about a mile west near Tecumseh to avoid a jump zone. Other than that, it was bumpy sailing the remainder of the way to Howell. A couple other planes were in the pattern but left the area before I entered. I crossed midfield to enter a left downwind for Runway 13. The wind was steady at 8-10 knots, a direct right crosswind that I negotiated on short final. Landing intentionally long to shorten my taxi to the fuel pad, I touched down pretty softly on the right main after a slight initial balloon.
I have to note that it was seriously bumpy. For the entire flight. Not enough to make me nauseous or anything (though I was glad to be flying solo) but the bumps never let up. I was constantly on the controls trying to maintain a semblance of the correct altitude and heading. Climbing to get above the bumps wasn't a great option since the cloud deck was broken (I'd have had to go to 7,500 feet to be high enough above the clouds - and find a hole to descend through in Michigan) and then I'd also be trading calm winds aloft for a headwind. On the flip side, visibility was spectacular - I spotted Detroit and Columbus from >60 miles away!
OZW has a beautiful new terminal (and intimidating ramp decorations)
The drive is between three and half and four hours; today's flight was a bit under two hours. Of course, I spent some time taxiing, running checklists, and filling up the tanks at the self-serve 100LL pump (with a $0.20/gal discount on weekends!) after I landed. However, the view was certainly a hell of a lot better and that qualifies as an unquestioned success in my book.
Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 2.2 hours
Total Time: 314.5 hours