Welcome to Fly The Impossible

Day 5: Heading North

After a refreshing good night sleep, I was picked up by Wayne. He offered me breakfast at another drive through fast food restaurant (and was surprised when I just wanted a bagel with cream cheese, no chicken or greasy potatos). A quick tour through his office later, we were on our route to the airport. To finish my tourist crash course of Dallas, we went to see the place where John F. Kennedy was shot down. Luckily, there were no shooters that day, and I survived the car drive to the airport.

Wayne gave me his ferry tank, accompanied by all the packages I delivered at his house. This included an immersion suit, a life raft and some small supplies. It took a while to squeeze all this extra equipment into the airplane. Wayne and I said goodbye, and we hoped to see each other again in about a month…

I filed an IFR flight plan (via the internet, so no impatient controllers on the phone) and informed the tower I was ready for an IFR flight direct to Clark-Taney County (KPLK). The tower replied with a series of unknown reporting points and numbers. Apparently it was the name of an SID and referred to a certain chart. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find these SID’s in their respective airport divisions in the published terminal procedures. After a fruitless 5 minutes of searching, I decided to set aside my pride and asked the tower where I could find the SID chart. His reply was that they were in the terminal procedures booklet, which was laying in front of me. He was afraid that I didn’t have the booklet, and was about to modify my clearance. I assured him I had the booklet on board, I just couldn’t find the page the SID was published on. He looked it up while I taxied (very slowly to gain more time). It turned out all the SID’s were published in a little introduction before the first airport diagrams. He gave me the page number and I could now finally get airborne with my mind at ease.

Thanks to a very strong tailwind (20 – 30kts), it was soon clear that I would have enough fuel on board to fly directly to my final destination of that day: Spirit of Saint Louis (KSUS). After 2.5 hours, I informed ATC of my diversion, and proceeded direct to Saint Louis. The weather reports of the airports in the vicinity were not very promising (thunder storms, low clouds, …), but KSUS maintained good VFR weather so I kept drilling holes through the isolated layers of clouds.
After a normal landing I was asked by the tower to which FBO I wanted to taxi. Since this was not my planned stop for that flight, I did not really look into the possible FBO’s. I told him I needed fuel, to which he replied that all the FBO’s had fuel available. That didn’t really narrow it down. So I asked him where the cheapest fuel was available; information which he claimed he didn’t have, and even if he did know that, he was not at liberty to tell me. Getting a little bit frustrated I taxied to the FBO that was right in front of me. Later that day I would find out it was the second cheapest on the airport, so it was a good gamble. Again I was greeted in a very professional way, and offered free refreshments and cookies. The friendly lady at the counter looked for a hotel.

While waiting for the shuttle to pick me up, it was time to do some fuel calculations. I had flown for 2 days now, and the average fuel consumption was 8.5 GPH, quite a bit more than the 7 GPH one could find in the manual. This would require a slightly altered plan in the Canadian part of the trip, to maintain a sufficient safety margin. But that was a problem for later. Now it was time to go to the hotel.

The hotel had a free snack buffet, which saved me the time, money and trouble to find a restaurant, which was nice. A thing that was not so nice, was the toiled that got clogged an which I had to de-clog myself because the maintenance guy was not available. Not really what you expect if you pay for a hotel room. I guess it’s the very nice Belgian mentality and attitude not to make a problem of this.

I turned down the air-conditioning which had caused the temperature to drop to somewhere around freezing point, and went to bed.

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