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July 2 to July 8, 2012 - Migration 10

After excursions to Dayton, OH and Colorado Springs, CO, the last two years, the annual Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association Migration returned to Duluth, MN this year.  My original plan was to take a few extra days and fly up to Maine and then fly west to Duluth, so I could land in a bunch of states that I've not flown to before.  That plan was discarded because of weather concerns, and a more direct route was chosen that still allowed me to visit some interesting places along the way.
 
flight path to duluth and back This new route took me from my home airport in St. Petersburg, FL (PIE) north to Winder, GA (WDR) for a fuel stop and lunch at the Spitfire Grill.  Then farther north to Columbus, OH (OSU) to finish the first day.  The second day had me flying over Ohio to Cambridge, where I attended high school, and then on to Ann Arbor, MI (ARB).  The third day included Newberry, MI (ERY), Ashland, WI (ASX) and finally Duluth, MN (DLH).  The return trip included fuel stops at Aurora, IL (ARR), Bowling Green, KY (BWG) and ending at St Pete, FL (PIE).

The picture on the left shows the actual flight path for the different legs of the trip.

I was able to log two new states along this route.  As many times as I've flown between St. Pete and Duluth, I had never stopped in either Wisconsin or Kentucky.  I got both of them this time.

So, below is a log of this adventure and some pictures.

 

mount mitchell Monday, July 2, 2012 - The weather this morning showed lots of haze and some low cloud cover along the route up to Winder, so I filed an IFR flight plan for this leg. Departure was a little after 9:00 in the morning, and I did encounter some IFR conditions along the way, so filing IFR was a good idea. The haze was particularly thick coming into Winder, so I asked for and was granted the ILS approach to runway 31. The landing was uneventful, but the Spitfire Grill is closed on Monday, so there was no lunch at this stop. The route north didn't show any weather, so I took off VFR and headed more northeast toward Asheville, NC and the Smokey Mountains. I had programmed Mt Mitchell into the GPS and that's where I flew. There are no signs up there indicating what you're looking at, but I did find a mountain with what appeared to be a visitor center on top, so I assume that it was Mt Mitchell, and I flew near it to get this picture. And you can see why they are called the Smokey Mountains in that part of the world.
bristol motor speedway In the first hour of this second leg of the day, I flew over parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and then up into Kentucky.  Try to do that in a car!

While travelling over Tennessee, I found the Bristol Motor Speedway, a place that I've been to a number of times to see NASCAR races (picture at left).  The remainder of the leg was uneventful, and I landed at The Ohio State University airport, just a little north of the campus, in Columbus, OH, and found a place to stay the night.  Finding a place was not as easy as you might think.  They had some good storms a few days prior, and many, many people were still without power, and were taking up rooms at the local hotels.

flight path columbus to ann arbor Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - Since I went to college at Ohio State, I took the rental car around campus for the morning, finding an apartment I lived in for a year and a half, and the fraternity house that I had lived in for a while.  Both places were still there, but the apartment was in much worse shape after 40 years.  The campus was pretty much closed to traffic, so it was back to the airport for lunch at Barnstormer's, and then back into the air.  I went to high school in Cambridge, OH, so I headed east from Columbus to see if I could find that town.  Not only could I find it, but I recognized the high school building, the lake at the end of the street where we used to ice skate, and the house that I lived in during those years.  It was somewhat hazy, and I was flying the plane, so I got no pictures.  From there it was on to Ann Arbor, MI for the next night.

Ann Arbor is not far from Dearborn, home to some very good friends - Patty & Jack.  It had recently been Patty's birthday, so I drove over for some cake and a cold adult beverage with them and family.  They have some of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen - Jennifer, Megan and Aimee, and John is pretty cool as well.

mackinac island Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - Headed north from Ann Arbor this morning, all the way to the tip of the main part of Michigan.  There is a small island up there, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron come together, called Mackinac Island.  There is an airstrip there, but airplanes are the only motorized vehicles allowed on the island.  I've been told that the ride from the airport to the main tourist area of the island is by horse-drawn carriage.  I'll have to stop there some time.  Here is a picture of the island.
mackinac bridge The Mackinac Bridge crosses the lakes from Lower Michigan to the Upper Peninsula.  Here is a picture of it with some kind of lake barge going under it's main span.  Newberry, MI is just north of the bridge, and this was my first fuel stop of the day.  There appeared to be no one around, so I used the self-service pump, and as I finished, another Cirrus landed.  The other pilot was from Detroit and was up visiting his parents for the holiday.  Proceeding onward, I stopped at Ashland, WI for fuel, at about $1.00 less per gallon than I would be paying in Duluth.  Just a quick stop here and then a short hop to Duluth and parking along with about 160 other Cirrus airplanes for the weekend.

Duluth did put on a fine fireworks show in their harbor, which I and a bunch of other Cirrus pilots and family members viewed from the pool deck at the hotel.

M2 attendees at M10

Thursday, July 5, 2012 through Saturday, July 7, 2012 - Migration 10 was a good event.  One highlight was what they called "class pictures", taken of those that had attended their first migration in a certain year.  M2 was my first time, so I was in that group of 10 people.  The M10 group was the largest with almost half of the attendees.  I had a chance to talk with some old friends and to make some new ones.  Another highlight was a presentation by Dr. Richard McGlaughlin, who has been flying medical supplies to Haiti since the earthquake.  On one of his trips, his engine lost oil pressure and seized, and he came down under the parachute into the water with his daughter, unhurt. It was a fascinating story - you should have heard it.
back yard at the inn This is the back patio area at the Inn on Lake Superior, the main hotel for the Migration.  On Thursday evening, this was the location of the COPA Cabana party, and it was filled with Cirrus owners, pilots and their families.  I spent a good bit of time with my friends TJ and Lisa, Chris and Nancy, some of the guys from Cirrus, and finally with a group from Avidyne - they were trying to sell me some new equipment for my airplane.
the jet display model Cirrus brought the demonstration mock-up of their Vision Jet.  This airplane is in development right now for delivery in about 3 years.  I'm probably not in the market for one of these, but it is fun to be around others that might be.  The guy at the far right of the picture is Dale Klapmeier, CEO of Cirrus Aircraft and one of the founders of the company that puts a whole-airplane parachute system in every airplane that they sell.  The jet will also have a parachute, one of the toughest engineering tasks they have to do.
flight path from aurora to bowling green Sunday, July 8, 2012 - I figure that I've been up to Duluth five times in the past, and never made it home in one day.  Usually I don't try it, and one time I did, weather forced me to stop.  Today I would make it all the way home in one day.  Fuel stops would be in Aurora, IL and Bowling Green, KY, with the last leg being a little over 4 hours.

There was some weather on the way between Aurora and Bowling Green, so I flew west of the straight line between the two places (picture at left).  After turning near Springfield, there was more weather east of St. Louis that I diverted around, and then it was on to Bowling Green.  The third leg of the day was more-or-less a straight line with a course correction after getting south of Atlanta.

Touchdown back at St. Pete was at about 10:40 PM, after about 9 and a half hours of flight time for the day.  The whole trip took a total of 22 hours 9 minutes of flying time to cover about 3040 nautical miles, or 3496 statute miles.  Average speed for the whole trip was 137.25 knots, or 157.8 miles per hour.

Migration 11 is rumored to be in Mobile, AL in June 2013.

 

 

I stole the picture below from a fellow pilot - it is the sunrise over Lake Superior as seen from our hotel.

sunrise over lake superior