Sunday, June 21, 2009

Denver or Bust

Since we didn't have much flight time in the Diamond we were happy to have the flight out to Denver to become more proficient with the glass cockpit G1000...and our first leg gave us plenty of time to do just that. By the time we landed in St. Joseph, Missouri, we'd been in the plane for 3.5 hours. Good thing it's a comfortable cockpit!

The flight was uneventful. We kept an eye on the weather because we knew there were storms north of us all along the route. We could see the build-ups in the distance but we were never close enough to be concerned. Even though we were VFR and could see the storms, it sure was nice having the Nexrad weather display on the MFD.

While eating lunch at the airport restaurant, we met another Air Race team. The two nice ladies were from Iowa. That'll be convenient for them when the race is over (which finishes in Atlantic, Iowa).

After a check of the weather, we headed out for our next fuel stop, PhillipsburgMunicipal Airport in Kansas. We could have made it all the way to Denver with another 3.5 hour flight but we didn't want to do that to ourselves again. After a quick top-off, we were on our way to Denver.

It was 255 nautical miles to Denver from Phillipsburgh. The winds aloft were finally dying down, going from a 25 knot headwind to a more friendly number of 10-15 knots, with a zero headwind the last 30 miles or so. We were seeing ground speeds of 146 knots. Not too shabby!

Jessica and I haven't flown in this part of the country much, so we kept expecting to see mountains any time. Instead, we experienced a very gradual climb of the terrain. Phillipsburg's elevation is about 2000 ft MSL. Centennial Airport in Denver almost 6000 ft MSL. In those 255 nautical miles, there were no large increases in the terrain, it just slowly rose beneath us. We started our flight at 4500 feet and ended up climbing to 7000 feet by the time we reached Denver. It was a bit hazy, so we coldn't make out any mountain peaks until we were about 30 miles out. The terrain here is beautiful. It was a nice sight to behold before landing after a long day of flying.

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