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Flight: 2013-0425-2 in N12556 (Penny) for $
M41 - KCNI (flying time 2:31)
Time for my 2h 100nm nite XC!
From M41 (Holly Springs - Marshall County Airport) 2013-04-26 01:10:38 to KCNI (Cherokee County Municipal Airport) 2013-04-26 03:41:03 [02:31:00] with 0 day and 3 night landings.
David Thorburn-Gundlach (pilot-L) / Andy Manning (instructor) / Laura Thorburn-Gundlach (passenger) /
Laura's finished her long XC and we've had Memphis BBQ; it's time to go home. I thought about flying my own long XC, but between not having planned it fully and it being late, we elected to just head straight for home and take two hours getting there. I *really* wanted to leave a skid mark at Huntsville, directly along the way, but we were behind schedule (not enough tail wind), so I stayed aloft.
I checked in with FSS along the way (while still keeping an ear on ATC for my flight following, of course) for a wind update and, yes, we weren't really getting quite the speed we had hoped, and it wouldn't help us enough to go up a layer, so we just got to continue enjoying the flight. It was a GORGEOUS night and a wonderful flight. The moon was full and the skies were clear; in fact, the moon ahead of us was so bright that I actually moved my sun visor into position to try to salvage some night vision! :-)
I think I planned a decent descent, sticking to about 400fpm, but having to throttle back to avoid high revs and thus not getting the speed I wanted. Ah, well; fast is for a constant-speed prop :-) I was watching our progress across the RMG radials and so I had a good idea of where we were, but it was still pretty much shooting in the dark until only about 6nm out; urk. When we were in the neighborhood, I headed for the NDB and lined up on that to take advantage of known terrain and set up for a nice approach, which would have smoothly become a perfect landing if I had only gotten my landing light on when I should have! Ah, well, again...
Then it was time for two more to get myself current, both of which went smoothly as well. By that time it was twenty 'til tomorrow, and we decided to call it a night. I taxied back from the wind sock or so, crossed the runway, turned for the terminal, and ... suddenly had a flat tire! At first I thought Andy was on the brakes or some such, but, no, it was just a flat on the left main. I'm *so* glad it didn't happen during a rollout at 40 or 50 mph, or over at Holly Springs when Laura landed, or ... ! To make things more fun, we were chatting with another plane on the way in and he was due in a few minutes -- and I did NOT want him taxiing into us! Got him on the radio before we shut down and confirmed that we would probably be blocking the taxiway.
Andy and I took off the wheel pant (more thoughts of what minimum took kit I really should keep in the plane; arrrgh!), Laura grabbed the towbar from the car, and we wrassled Penny around and off of the taxiway to leave her over by the hangars until morning. It's amazing how much that lightweight aluminum skin suddenly weighed :-) We were able to travel on the floppy tire and not mess up the hub, though, so at least no metal was harmed in the making of the adventure. The inbound guys, having rolled out all the way down the runway and pulled off at the terminal, drove up to see if they could help, but we were pretty much done. One of them told us of a similar adventure, except that he was left stranded in the middle of the runway at KGVL and could only call ATC and warn them to close down that runway for the night. Wow! Yes, we were protected all around.