Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 Summer Adventure - Day 1

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: 40I-JXN-TVC
Weather - 40I: Clear, 63 degrees, wind 090 degrees at 6 knots
Weather - JXN: Clear, 70 degrees, wind 200 degrees at 5 knots
Weather - TVC: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, wind 220 degrees at 6 knots

Gina’s alarm went off at 0600 and I quickly hopped out of bed and got on my computer. The weather still looked pristine and I logged into the AOPA Internet Flight Planner and printed off navigation logs for both legs. We were out of the house about 0715 and arrived at Stewart and started loading up the 172.

Waynesville (40I) to Jackson (JXN) - click the YouTube logo to view in full HD

The office opened at 0800 we said good morning to Cathy, one of the owners, and talked to her about the trip to Traverse City. They keep their Taylorcraft on floats up there; she was excited we were heading to TVC and made sure to give us the names of some favorite restaurants. After chatting for a few minutes, I grabbed the keys from the office and taxied the plane over to the fuel pump to top off the tanks. We double-checked the security of the baggage, climbed in, and were off the ground at 8:40 on this beautiful, CAVU morning.

Level at 3,500 feet and looking at Downtown Dayton

Gina looks like she's excited for the trip!

I was enjoying myself too!

I requested VFR Advisories from Dayton Approach as we leveled off at 3,500 feet and they had me turn left on a 320 degree heading. We were cleared back on course once we were south of DAY and I pointed the plane north again. The tailwind appeared to be about five knots less than forecast but we still enjoyed some extra speed as we headed toward Michigan. As we left Dayton’s airspace they canceled flight following as they usually do – it’s rare for them to hand me off. I elected to continue on without calling Indy Center. It was absolutely gorgeous (we could see 40+ miles) in the calm morning air and I just enjoyed cruising along without having to worry about the radio for a little while.

Looking out the left window as we flew by Defiance, OH (a checkpoint)

One of Michigan's many lakes - on our initial approach into Jackson

Our enroute stop was in Jackson, MI. My landing wasn’t great – we bounced once before touching down for good about halfway down the runway. While I crossed the threshold at 70-80 MPH, roughly in line with the POH, we definitely floated. It was a chop and drop landing as I went to idle with flaps to 40 degrees only when we were established on final. I never spotted the plane landing in front of us until he climbed away following a touch and go and I wasn’t about to commit to landing until I knew traffic was clear. Had we floated any longer I would have gone around but it all worked out and we still had plenty of runway available during the rollout.

The plan was to land, gas up, and grab a bite to eat at the Airport Restaurant. I’ve always heard it’s a nice little $100 burger stop and am glad we finally could stop by and check it out myself. Gina and I both enjoyed our breakfast while watching airplanes through the terminal building’s windows. The plane was fueled while we ate and I paid the bill for 16.2 gallons of 100LL after we finished our meal. We had flown 1.8 hours, so that put is spot on the 9.0 gallons per hour value I use for flight planning – excellent!

I called Traverse City Tower from my cell phone to confirm our arrival plan. There is a TFR every afternoon due to the airshow and I needed to be sure we could get in. All was well, since the airport is only closed from 1400-1500 when the Blue Angels are performing and we would be landing around 1300. Jackson Tower asked if I could make an immediate departure and I was ready, so we rolled quickly on to Runway 24 and took off with a right turnout on course.

Jackson (JXN) to Traverse City (TVC) - click the YouTube logo to view in full HD

Leveling off at 4,500 feet and pointed northbound again, I contacted Lansing Approach for VFR Advisories. They called out traffic off our left wing and 1,500 feet below, a Stinson, which we never saw as we followed paralleled courses for a solid 50 miles. We were handed off to Saginaw Approach as we continued into the increasingly wooded Michigan terrain. Somewhere around Alma they cancelled flight following and we squawked VFR. We passed over some incredibly blue lakes filled with boaters already out enjoying the holiday weekend.

I-96 / I-69 near Lansing, which I used to always drive by on my way to Kalamazoo

Passing over Fowler, MI - one of my checkpoints

Passing over Woodruff Lake (53W) - looks like a nice grass strip!

Windmill farm that I believe was located south of Cadillac

Near Cadillac I was able to pick up Traverse City’s ATIS; they were landing Runways 18 and 28. You could hear some of the airshow performers departing and arriving TVC as we approached the area. I called Traverse City Tower about 15 miles south and they advised me to make a left base for Runway 28 and call when four miles out. We were now descending to 1,600 feet and the ride got a bit bumpy. We didn’t mind, however, as the view of Grand Traverse Bay as we approached was spectacular.

Initial approach into Traverse City

Turning base with the Old Mission Peninsula in view

On final with the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay off the right wing

Final for Runway 28 at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City

I wouldn't want to have to land in them, but I do love the woods in Northern Michigan!

I turned final and could really sense the left crosswind since I had to use a noticeable crab angle to stay aligned. The transition into a sideslip and then roundout on short final was smooth and we touched down quite gently considering the crosswind landing. We exited at Taxiway Hotel and were instructed to follow Taxiway Bravo past the tower to Harbor Air. I was a bit confused and asked for clarification once since the Airport Diagram showed Harbor Air on the other side of the tower.

Taxiing past the Blue Angels, who would be airborne in an hour

As I approached the FBO there was a lineman out front showing me to a parking spot in the grass. I followed his signals and turned the 172 around next to the hangar. They asked for my name and then brought the rental car around and parked it next to the plane so we could unload everything. We said goodbye and left them to push the plane back into the spot and attach the tiedown ropes. I must say, this is the way to travel!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 3.7 hours
Total Time: 161.2 hours


  1. One of my transplant friends is from TVC. We were talking about a long X-C to speak at transplant centers, but, she flaked out on her visit to Cleveland. STRIKE 3!!

    I just thought, maybe I can speak at a number of centers for a fee and let that pay for my trip?

  2. Well that's not cool - hopefully you can make the trip someday. It's a beautiful approach and area in general.

  3. Just catching up on blogs today and noticed the summer adventure is underway. Great pictures as always!! Yepper Gina has that Mary smile at the start of our adventures...contagious I tell ya!

    Ok I have the next few days of your trip to read far looking like a blast!!!

  4. Gina,

    I could not understand a word that ground controller said at had me cracking up!

  5. ^ After watching it back on video, I'm amazed that I knew what the heck that controller said. Her reaction was definitely appropriate! ;-)