It was a beautiful VFR Thanksgiving Day, and I was en route from Russellville, Arkansas, to McAlester, Oklahoma, in my Cessna 150J. The little bird suits me just fine, partly because we were born in the same year, 1969. I had earned my private pilot certificate in August, and McAlester would be my furthest out-of-state hop.
After picking up flight following with Memphis Center just west of Russellville, I was handed off to Razorback Approach near Booneville. It was pretty much a straight east-to-west flight. At 4,500 feet and cruising along at 95 miles per hour, I was enjoying the solitude, the mountains and valleys around me and the soothing hum of the Continental O200A. HOG MOA was inactive, and I hadn’t seen another bird since takeoff. There was scant traffic on my frequency with Razorback Approach, and it had just given me updated wind, temperature and altimeter for Fort Smith. All was right in the world.