Friday, July 22, 2011

Jousting with storms like Sir Robin

When it comes to thunderstorms, I stand with Sir Robin - bravely running away! When flying over I-90 and realizing I was pointed at a very large towering cloud rising out of the haze, I looked to my right, my left, and dove left for the nearest airport. I waited until the coast was clear and snuck around behind the thunderstorm... only to find out that a thunderstorm's passage doesn't always mean clearer, dryer, cooler weather. As the haze got thicker and thicker and cloud deck overhead became solid and started getting darker, I promptly picked the nearest airport, and landed at Sioux Center, Iowa.

The ramp was full of Agcats, Thrushes, and all other sorts of cropdusters...and a twin. The dampers started playing tetris with towbars and airplanes, and when an obvious hole opened, I was glad that I still had my large tires - I simply checked to be clear of taxiway lights, and promptly rolled off the asphalt, across the grass, and onto the ramp where the hole for parking was.

Sioux Center Aviation loaned their crew car to me, and I set out with directions to the public pool. $5 for a day pass, and I had all the hot water in the world for a long, hot shower to finally get my hair clean while waiting on weather to clear. I love public pools! Yay hot water!

The sky opened up, and I set off into the same high headwind even as ag pilots were busy calculating loads, trying to poach each other's mechanics, and splitting for a last few passes in the golden evening light. Unfortunately, at an airspeed of 90mph and a groundspeed of 68mph, the weather built and moved faster than I did. So instead of trying to run the gap between storms moving northeast, I went south, and east as able. Run away!

Good thing I did, too, because as the haze grew thicker, the sun lower, and little while puffs started to rise above the haze, I landed at Carroll Municipal airport, in beautiful Carroll, Iowa. An Ag plane was just finished loading, engine rumbling and pilot putting on his helmet as I taxied up to a tiedown.

This airport is just incredible whenit comes to friendliness and hospitality. Free hangarage for the night, free laundry, free shower with provided towel, soap, shampoo, courtesy car, fine by them if I sleep on the air conditioned couch... If I'd known this place existed, I would have been steering here all along, not come by storms and chance!

Of course, the airport cat did stretch herself out in front of the gas pump so I had to pet her to get to the fuel, but that's hardly an imposition. Good things come to those who see thunderclouds and run away!

5 comments:

diesel smoke said...

More good news. Must pay the toll at the pump.

DS

Rev. Paul said...

I love the story about the cat ... that's priceless!

Old NFO said...

Keep flying smart, and you find all kinds of 'treasures' :-) You were pointed there for a reason!

AussieAlaskan said...

Well, I'm bit late but I like your blog - will spend the rest of the day reading backwards and will keep up from now on - thanks for writing.

Robert Langham said...

Added you to my blogroll at Blackfork. Would have clicked a couple ads before I left for adsense, if you had them.