Now that the Thanksgiving break has come to a close, it’s time to get back to business. With a mere three weeks left in the semester, there is a lot of flying to be had with little time to have it. Although the break was meant for relaxation, I managed to get some flying in (not to say that it wasn’t relaxing!). It occurred to me earlier this year that in the two years I’ve had my pilot’s certificate, my family had never flown with me. I felt sort of guilty since they had provided me so much support during my initial training. I asked my sister, Jessica, if she would like to get lunch with me on Black Friday. We set a departure time of 10:00 am so we could both participate in the crazy Black Friday crowds.
When I’m at home near Chicago, I fly out of the Westosha Flying Club in Wilmot, WI. Although it is a 39 minute drive from my house, their not-for-profit mindset makes it so affordable to take trips like the one we were about to take. After preflighting the Cessna 172P, we took off and turned on course to the Dane County Regional Airport. The winds aloft were relatively calm from the Northwest which gave us about a 90 knot ground speed. The 60 nautical mile trip took about 50 minutes to complete. The landing at Madison was a greaser. It was also the first time I had to worry about wake turbulence as we were landing behind an Air Wisconsin flight. Staying above the jet’s descent path kept me out of trouble.
We were met by the fantastic service offered at Wisconsin Aviation on arrival. As soon as I shut down the plane, line service was very polite and ready to fulfill any request I had; all we needed was the tanks topped off. The Jet Room is conveniently located right inside the Air Wisconsin terminal with a view of the ramp. Although the restaurant is small (think diner style), we were seated immediately. Jessica ordered the “ultralights” (two huge pancakes) while I got “the landing strip” (a BLT). I’ll have to admit, although I am no food blogger, that was some good food. My sister had even said that she had the best pancakes ever! We headed back to the terminal after paying our bill (which wasn’t that much) to pay for our fuel and get ready to depart.
Since this was a class C airport, I had to get a clearance to depart even though I was going to be flying VFR (Visual flight rules). I used the phone inside to call them up. Once I let them know my planned altitude and heading, they gave me a squawk code to put in my transponder. After a quick check of the ATIS, ground control routed us to runway 21 and off we went back to Westosha. The flight back was essentially event free with the exception of a couple of vectors for traffic within the Charlie airspace. My landing back at Westosha was fairly well despite winds blowing 13 knots to 19 knots. Runway 24 at Westosha likes to suck altitude about 50 feet before the threshold. By adding 4 or so extra knots to my final approach speed and 20ish extra feet, that sink hole put me right where I needed. With another 2.0 in the logbook and some more cross-country time, I’m ready to get back to work.