Flight Report Q200 N3QP
It has been so terrifically rainy here in FL that I haven't flown for a month. The job thing I have did get in the way a few nice days... For you overseas guys, our unleaded 90 octane gas with no-ethanol is now $3.20 a gal and the car stuff is $2.25. Wow, looks cheap now. The airports here are pretty dead still, and I like that. 15 years ago I'd taxi to the runway and it would take 20 min to get a clearance. Now, when I say I'm ready it's more like 60 seconds.
Today I decided it had been so long that I had planned a Saturday of checking the Q200 over real well and do a test flight to see if I still remember how to fly. By 2PM she was fueled, oiled, and checked out. It was 92F and 85% humidity. There was a big rain shower 10mi to the North West but otherwise clear. Dragged out the plane and used the Sam H priming instructions, 2 pumps with the accelerator pump throttle, 8 clicks on the prop and she sprang to life. For real cold days like less than 70F you could do this twice but it would be better to go back to bed.
I got cleared to RWY 36 and headed North, negative class B. Headed to the most northern barrier island just off shore. Tower didn't yell at me so I guess I did everything they way they expect. The There was that shower to my left so I went North and around it. Beautiful visibility so it's easy to see the rain downpour. Gulf of Mexico water here is quite green due to it being so warm. In the winter it gets real pretty and clear. Looked for sharks, turtles, and dolphins... didn't see any. Tons of boats all over. I think due to the stinky weekend weather in July these guys couldn't wait to get their boats out. With the tinted canopy it was pretty comfortable even with the OAT around 88F.
I turned south and headed down the beach. Clearwater Beach was getting blasted with rain and zap, there is a lightning bolt so I give the storm a wide berth. Hey, there's my buddy Phil's house so I circle that a few times but he's in the AC and not coming out. I head to my own house and circle it a couple of time. Again, the wife is in the AC... Now there is a shower poping up to the south and it's getting a little dark here too. Better head back to the airport. Hey, with a bunch of dark clouds overhead it's not too bad.
I call in with my position and get a straight in to RWY 4. They paved this runway last year and it's my favorite. Wind is 10K from 90 degrees, no problem. But you have to land after it crosses RWY 36 cause they built in a launch ramp there. I pity the poor guy that lands on the number 4 and then finds himself 20' in the air after crossing rwy 36 intersection. But I know the secret.
Nice landing, needed some decent braking to make the early left turn and we cheated death again!
10 min later as I was refueling for the next mission Bam, the lightning started, the sky turned black. BAAAMMMM, a lightning strike hit the hangar. I quickly got the door shut and the rain started pounding down.
That was too close.
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