Page 1 of 1

Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:49 am
by Soccer-Jock
I'm a newbie pilot with about 120 hours. My better half and I decide it's time for a vacation, living in the Tampa, FL area we decide on Key West. Hummm... 9 hour drive or 2.5 hour flight? No brainer. Since I rent, cost is a concern but we decide to make the "flight" an event of the vacation. I've never been to EYW, nor have I ever traveled across so much water, needless to say I'm concerned. I make my flight plan weeks in advance. I have a CFI check it over... just to be sure. The weather is outstanding at both ends, but gusty at our destination. We wake up and leave for the airport that morning at a leisurely 9:00 am. As we walk through the door at my former school, suitcases in tow, I look back and say "Here's where we go through security". I see Randy behind the desk and say "Hi Randy!". He answers back "Hi Eric." I look back again and say "OK, security is done"... and we walk to our plane, pre-flight, load up, and we are gone. A beautiful flight ensues. My other half marvels at Sanibel and Captiva Island as we pass above. Soon Ten Thousand Islands glide below us followed by turquoise waters. Somewhat used to working the Tampa class B, and their somber and very matter-of-fact communications, I have carefully arranged what I will say to Navy approach into Key West. "Navy Approach, this is Cherokee xxxxx, level 6,500, over the STRAP intersection, VFR to Key West."....(then, in an almost whimsical tone) "Cherokee xxxxx, Navy approach. Welcome to Key West! The boys are busy today, so you'll need to stay clear of our airspace. Descend at your discretion and report Key West Int. in site." I was so taken back, I think I stuttered on my reply! The handoff to Key West tower, and again "Hi Cherokee xxxxx, welcome to Key West! Please report turning final." The girls at the ICFS (FBO) were less cheery, but not unkind. They quickly move to the topic of the dollars involved in parking. Two minutes later a cab is waiting, and our vacation beings... because we arrived fresh and not worn out. We have a wonderful vacation right up to the morning of our departure. We are having breakfast with another couple, when she asks me "What time does your flight leave?" I smiled and replied "When I start the engine."

Now that's why I learned to fly! :D

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:11 am
by JHWellington
Soccer-Jock:

Great story. You've described why thousands of us learned to fly!

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:17 am
by jackhodgson
Awesome story, and flight. Congrats.

Fair warning. I'm gonna read your posting on UCAP125.

-- Jack

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:35 am
by Dave Higdon
SJ -- Love your story...congrats on taking that first-step into real-trip flying -- and hope it opens the way to many more! FWIW, one of the trip my Bride and I both love regaling with to our non-flying friends is one that involved EYW...reading about your ATC contacts and the friendly, welcoming attitude of the controllers flashed me back to our visit there -- also :lol: in a "low wing" airplane...

Very cool, guy! Glad to hear you and your Significant Other had a great experience!

-- Dave

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:21 pm
by PilotBillFromTexas
I totally second that opinion. Great story!

I can feel my inner di-lithium crystals rejuvenating just reading the story.

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:32 am
by Soccer-Jock
He he he...Thanks Guys. I did forget to mention another thing I enjoyed, although my other half didn't find this as interesting as I. The guesthouse we stayed at, about middle-way down Flemming St., appeared to be in the flight path of Final for runway 9 at Key West. I mentioned it was 25 gusting 30 most of the weekend (what the Key natives were describing as "breezy"... LOL). Our second floor room had a small balcony, where I found myself a few times looking up as the various planes contorted to remain on centerline as they followed the glide slope. :D You know how that is... some are crabbed, others are slipped. The most entertaining one was what appeared to be a SuperCub towing a large banner, barely moving as he fought the wind. I could have inspected his tires a he crepped by.

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:15 pm
by Jeb
Ain't EYW a great trip?

We should hook up...

Jeb

Re: Our first vacation with aviation... EYW

Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:34 am
by Soccer-Jock
Jeb, it was an awesome trip. Trips to new places, for me, are like re-living my first solo x-country! (except maybe each time I'm a tiny bit better prepared)