Saturday, June 27, 2009

Final leg to Atlantic, Iowa

There were 22 teams that stayed in Racine. Two teams had made it to Iowa on Thursday, seven more had stayed in Jacksonville. We were all parked all over the field, so there was no way to actually take off in order. We all just fired up when we were ready and taxied out to the active. Jessica and I were about the 10th airplane to takeoff. There was a very slow moving thunderstorm just west of Atlantic. It seemed to die as it approached the Iowa border. We figured it wouldn't be a problem getting into Atlantic.

Look closely - our groundspeed was reading 159 knots for a short period!

The forecast winds were almost a direct tailwind at about 15 knots. Of course, that's not exactly what we were getting. It was more like a 4-5 knot tailwind and a 10 knot crosswind. We experimented with a few altitudes. We climbed as high as 3500feet, but eventually figured that 2700 was best for us. We passed a few of the slower aircraft. They were all over the place. Some were higher, some were lower. The closer we got to Iowa the more the winds shifted to the south, becoming more of a crosswind and less tailwind. We were just happy to finally have a leg with no headwind.

There was a bit of a bottleneck in Atlantic by the time we arrived. A few aircraft had landed, but there was one entering the pattern, one doing a fly-by, us, and about 2 more behind us. It was time to sit up and pay attention. Another issue was the lack of taxiways. Whoever landed would either have to hang out at the end of the runway and wait for oters to land, or those in the air would have to wait for them to taxiback. The fly-by was over runway 20. Jessica set her camera to film the fly-by. We were both excited and sad to do the last fly-by...but I think we were both ready to finish the race.

We intended on landing on 20 as well. The winds were calm, so the landing runway didn't matter. We realized that the pattern was becoming a Charlie-foxtrot, so we decided to land on runway 12. We would be out of the way of the fly-by traffic, and we wouldn't have to worry about doing a taxi-back because there was one taxiway that led off the departure end of runway 12 to the ramp. We announced our intentions and several other planes followed suit.

The ramp was only big enough for about 5 airplanes so they were parking us in the grass. Another first for Jessica. We followed a John Deere tractor to our parking spot and shut down for the last time of the race.

We made it! We finished on time, and we were happy with our decisions. No regrets here. Now it was out of our hands. The judges and timers would look at everyone's times. If we were lucky enough to be in the top 12 we would get a call Friday night...

We made it!

1 comment:

  1. CONGRATS Ladies! Glad you have had a blast, or so it sounds!