Re: Flight Report 8-21-10

Rick Hole

Fantastic report Mike. I look forward to your adventures!
Rick Hole

-----Original Message-----
From: Q-LIST@... [mailto:Q-LIST@...] On Behalf Of
Mike Dwyer
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 5:37 PM
To: Q-LIST@...
Subject: [Q-LIST] Flight Report 8-21-10

Flight Report

8-21-10 KPIE to KEYW (Key West). Filed a DVFR flight plan and got a 1211
squawk code from FSS for the flight. Safety equipment: a SPOT locator
beaconing our position on the internet, the 1211 code being read by all
the ATC radars, and each of us wearing a yellow inflating life jacket.
We took off in a rain shower, light sprinkle, down past KSPG and across
Tampa Bay heading for Naples. The rain stopped about 10 minutes out and
it was clear sailing at 7500'. Called FSS to open our flight plan. 45
minutes later at Naples we turned due South for the next 45 min over
water flight. 50 miles out we see the Keys, wow most excellent
visibility today. Typical is 10 miles in haze, prior to the Dynon I've
turned back when the sky and air were the same Grey color, no horizon at
all! Key West Approach saw us squawking the weird code and seemed to
know who we were as we approached Key West. Tower had me do a 2 mile
left base for 9 so we flew right over old town on our way in. Squeaker
landing and as we taxied in but had to pass several of the ramp turn ins
as they were flooded.

The tower asked on the radio "What kind of plane is that?" So I told
them. A FBO water vacuum truck was trying to suck up the excess water.
Seems the night before our arrival they had a huge downpour that knocked
out the power for 4 hours! I heard it was pandemonium in the bars that
night. We were early for the Bus so as we walked to the bus stop we came
upon the control tower. hey let's go up and say hi. I buzzed and
introduced myself as the Quickie pilot. They said come on up! Turns out
the 2 guys up there had already looked up the Q on the internet. They
told me that when I was on short final one of the controls had the
binoculars on me and was asking "What the hell is that!" The handed the
binocs to the other controller and he repeated the question. I was
laughing and gave them both a little business card picture of the Q that
I carry. After a short visit with our new friends we headed down to the
bus. Cabs are $18, the bus is $4, you do the math.

Got off the bus a couple of blocks from Duval St and near our hotel.
Dumped the roll bags and headed to the snorkel boats. Got our tickets
for the 1pm boat and grabbed a Cuban sandwich for lunch. The snorkeling
was pretty good, maybe 50' visibility. Found one barracuda maybe 4' long
and a bunch of colorful parrot fish. A couple of schools of blue Tang
swam by, maybe a few hundred of them. The coral is still plentiful
although not too many varieties. Times up, back to the boat for the ride
home. A spotty shower came up so we hung out below decks for most of the
ride back. Nearing Key West the rain quit and we headed up to the bow to
dry off in the breeze. The crew was pouring beer on the way back and
everyone was getting pretty happy. They even brought pitchers up to the
bow and forced me to drink it. I forget how we got there but one of the
crew was also a pilot and we were talking airplanes for a bit.

Back on land we watched the Sunset with the rest of the tourists' at
Mallory Square. For years people gathered there at sunset with jugglers,
street performers, all kind of crazy. This time we watched an escape
artist get out of a straight jacket, better him than me, that's for
sure! The sunset was very good as the sky had plenty of moisture in it.

The next morning we awoke to a kind of Grey sky. Pulling up the
Blackberry tiny weather images showed a lot of rain around, mostly over
the Gulf of Mexico. Looked like we may want to push up our departure
time. There isn't much to do in the Keys in the morning anyway. We had a
nice breakfast at the hotel and packed our bags. The Keys have this nice
web site for the bus that you can pull up on the Blackberry. It tells
you exactly when the bus will be there. We got back to the airport and
checked over the Q, amended our flight plan, got a 1230 squawk. You
can't put on a life jacket when your in the Q so we do it on the ground.
I had one on my wife when a jet pilot walked buy and says "Doesn't show
a lot of confidence in the pilot!" I took it as a compliment on my
safety procedures.

I called my new buddies in the tower for a NE departure. They
recommended an Easterly departure for storms and offered to get me a
clearance thru Key West Navy. This would be my first time through that
airspace as they typically make you go around it so I say yes to the E
departure. As we climbed through the Navy airspace it looked pretty good
to the North so I decided to fly around the restricted balloon airspace
and turn North. As we flew along we could see a rain shower to our left
but no big deal. We climbed to 8500', another 45 min over water. About
30 miles from Marco Island we spot land again. There are some big storms
there also, maybe we can get over or around them them? The radar showed
very little over the everglades so I headed inland. After flying around
a few big clouds and not seeing a good path in the direction that I
wanted to go I decided to try down low instead. I descended to 1200' and
just West of Ft Myers came upon a wall of showers stretching pretty far.
Maybe I could fly around it but I'd be way off course. One area looked
like a shower curtain. Obviously raining hard but you could see through
it, looked pretty thin. So we bugged thru it, about 30 seconds of hard
rain and we popped out the other side into a blue sky, absolutely
beautiful day. I've never seen such a transaction. The rest of the
flight was uneventful. We pulled in with 2 hours on the clock, 30
minutes later than we should have. So the total flight time this weekend
was 3.5 hours and I had an hour of fuel left. Not bad. The Q climb rate,
speed, and range make a trip like this feasible. Get er done!

Mike Q200 N3QP

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