Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Pleasure, Pain & Southern Hospitality
An unforgettable weekend
Two mornings later, we were back at the airport for our return flight. With flight planning, weather briefing and preflight checks completed, I started the engine and attempted contact with clearance delivery. No response. Called again. No response. After several more attempts, I switched to the second radio and tried again. Still, no response. I shut the engine down and started radio diagnostics, then switched to ground and asked for radio checks—no response. Turns out, there was a mic jack issue on the pilot side, so I plugged my headset into the copilot jacks and used the copilot mic button for communications—it was a little awkward, but workable. Maybe this was a sign, but I wasn’t listening. After forgetting to flip the frequency back to clearance delivery, I mistakenly asked ground for a clearance: “Guess you haven’t talked to clearance delivery yet?” was the stern but friendly reply. I should have seen this as sign number two.
Soon, we were on our way home. While climbing to 4,500 feet, we flew through a hazy white-out in “clear below 12,000” conditions. Missed another sign—number three.
|DISTRESS NO MORE. GA’s flexibility and accessibility can make it an indispensable resource in an emergency. |
Here’s a lesson on not completely trusting the reported weather: I did get the AWOS from Kaolin Field, but on short final, it became evident that the winds reported had changed dramatically, and I was blown way off-course. Upon recovering, and because I was unfamiliar with the runway, I made the difficult decision to go around. (I needed to get down quickly but didn’t want the ambulance to be for both of us.) I finally landed into the wind after the go-around, and an ambulance arrived shortly thereafter. We were soon making our way to Sandersville Regional Hospital.
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