Arrival in Florida
The commercial flight on Southwest went very smoothly and I arrived at FLL 15 minutes early.
Unfortunately, my brother, Marty, didn’t think to check the flight status, so while I wait, I have the opportunity to look at some Sun ‘n Fun news like this one from Jamie Beckett in General Aviation News about the show and it’s impact to the region. Let’s get out and promote general aviation!
Eventually, my brother arrives and we head out to Boca Raton airport (BCT) for the trip to Plant City (PCM). His Cessna 210 Centurian is in great shape with a Garmin 430 and MX20 MFD and new autopilot. Winds are gusty from the East at 20 kts, but that is normal at BCT and Marty executes a perfect cross-wind takeoff on runway 05. He needs a flight review which I will be giving him on the flight out and back and this was a good sign, but more on that in a later post.
Due to some build-ups over Florida, we find we have to climb to 8500 ft to get on top. Its much cooler and clearer up there, but it takes a while to get there. To give LAL some room for their airshow, we head a bit to the south of PCM and eventually pick up the AWOS and listen in on the temporary tower frequency. But we hear nothing. There is little traffic around and we see and hear nothing as we approach Plant City. When we are 10 to the south, we call in and get a right downwind to runway 10 with winds 040 at 10G20. The winds are pretty squirrelly especially on short final, but the landing was pretty good. We get tied down and get our rental car for the drive to Lakeland, which is about 15 mins away.
It is approaching 4pm local time and the show for the most part is over, although the airshow will continue until 6pm. However, we have been invited to a customer appreciation event at Avidyne and hope to meet some friendly pilots there and enjoy a cold drink and a brat.
We are not disappointed. The COO of Avidyne, Patrick Hergurth, meets us at the entrance to their party and in fact says he saw us at Plant City, having landed there 20 mins earlier. Patrick got to fly down from Boston and I’m jealous. I would have rather had his 8 hour flight than my overall 8-9 hour trek to Lakeland.
After enjoying a sandwich or two, talking aviation with other pilots and watching the airshow around us, we decide to head to our hotel to get rested for a long day tomorrow. We have the show map and hope to see a lot of the show, including all of the exhibit booths. Our plan is to head back out after the airshow on Wednesday, so there is no time to waste.