Breakfast…with Aaron

So Friday evening  Aaron texted me and asked if I wanted to do breakfast at KJXN (Jackson Michigan) It is about halfway between our respective AO. Since I wasn’t doing anything important Saturday morning, I said yes.

A quick check of the upcoming weather at both places and the decision was made. Meet at The Apron at 10 ET.

Left the house the next morning  at 7:30 (CT)… a 1-800-WX-BRIEF briefing on the way for both the flight up and the flight back.

Pulled the plane out of the hangar, did a short preflight (I had done one two days before, so really just needed to check the tires and the fuel (for water) and filed for the flight. 9000 feet to KJXN, flight time about 45 minutes.

Got the email acknowledgement (As Filed) while I was pulling the plane out, closed the hangar door, started the right engine, then the left. Checked the ASOS while the engine oil was warming and then taxiied to the end of the runway. Called Clearance, got my clearance… was told “Hold for release”….and I held. And held. And held….Aaaand I held… Finally I was about to call and tell Clearance that I would depart VFR and pick up the IFR on the way, but they FINALLY called and released me just as I was reaching for the mic switch. I think I got caught up in a shift change.

Took off, turned on course, called Departure, got cleared to climb…and began a slow cruise climb (500FPM at about 150 knots) first cleared to 3000 Ft, then 6000 Ft, then told “Climb and maintain 9000 ft”,,,which I proceeded to do.

The view was spectacular!


Settled into a nice trimmed out cruise at 9000 ft and enjoyed a nice tailwind.

You can’t read it, but that is an airspeed of 199 knots and a groundspeed of 208 in level flight.

As I was descending into KJXN’s airspace, I heard Aaron calling ATC and ask for a practice RNAV approach. Our timing was good.

As I was flying the faster airplane, I beat him to the class D and was transferred to the KJXN tower, who asked me to enter a left downwind for Rwy 25, and then asked me to make a tight approach for the traffic entering the pattern from the south….He was trying to merge airplanes entering the pattern from three or 4 directions and was doing a great job but needed a bit of help so I agreed to the tight approach……..which was challenging because I was moving at about 160 knots and the 340 doesn’t slow down easily, especially when descending.  (I really need to get some Speed Brakes) But I handled it, did a halfway decent one mile base entry and just continued the turn down into a final, all while descending. (Power to near idle, put the props at full bite so they create drag, get to flaps speed, dump the flaps to 20 degrees, get to gear speed, drop the gear, add power to compensate for drag to keep the altitude right, get down to the speed for the second notch of flaps, make sure you are on the glide slope, pitch for 75 knots over the numbers, add a bit of power, ease down land on the 1000 ft markers…..Challenging, but fun to do. Ended up with a pretty good landing, considering that it wasn’t a 5 mile approach or a normal pattern spacing.

Rolled out, made the turn, was directed to parking and parked as per the marshaller. I do want to say that the tower and ground controllers at KJXN are some of the nicest folks that I have ever worked with at any airport….and I have been to a fair number of airports. They are just cheerful and nice folks.

Parked, arranged for fuel (It was a dollar cheaper than I pay at home, so I topped up) and watched Aaron do his final approach…He did a pretty decent landing and taxiied up and parked.

We went in and ate, and talked. The service was great, the food was good, and I never had my coffee cup get below half. (I drink a LOT of coffee, so it can be a challenge for a waitress to keep me supplied). We both had the Pilots omelet:  Ham, bacon, sausage, onion, peppers, cheese. …..Hasbrowns and toast. The waitress asked if I wanted my omelete topped with sausage gravy…I said “Duh!”

We talked, and ate and talked some more, as friends who don’t see each other often will do…

After way too short a time, I had to leave as there was weather coming from the west, with the possibility of storms, so I paid my fuel bill, preflighted, filed a flight plan, called ground and departed. Aaron departed first, while I was doing my runup.

The flight back was bumpy….and slow, as my tailwind turned into a 50+ knot headwind. I tried asking to move from 10000 to 8000 ft, but that made no difference. Even 6000 feet was a 50 knot headwind.

ATC was very accommodating, giving me the different altitudes when I requested, but I ended up back at 10,000 feet so I could save fuel, if not time.

The view was nearly as nice going back:

But the damned winds were killing my groundspeed:

Yeah, that’s a 198 knot airspeed and 148 knot groundspeed.

Did a practice RNAV into the airport, Why is it that when you do a perfect landing there is no one in the plane to see it? I mean, 10 knot, 20 degree crosswind, but yet a gentle touchdown, no bumps, no chirp, just a rumble…one-two-three….and no one to witness it.

I ended up using almost 10 gallons more fuel going back than I did going up.

And that’s how I spent a part of my Saturday. ‘Twas good day.

2 thoughts on “Breakfast…with Aaron

  1. Just like a day at the range, any day flying is great (if more expensive)… And the 50kt headwind sucks!

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