Friday, July 22, 2011

Mitchell, SD

The wind in Billings finally died a little after 5, and I got out. About 15 miles out of Gillette, WY, I flew into the smoke trail of a contained forest fire. Visibility was still fine as long as you weren't looking toward the sun. I put my lights on to be more visible, and landed at Gillette right about the time the sun touched down, too.

The next morning was cool, bright, with fair weather, and I tried to cover ground as fast as I could. Stopped for fuel and sunblock in Wall, SD. Wall Drugs is a tourist trap, not a functional drugstore... darned hard to find sunblock. Got back to the plane, and managed to burn my legs right through SPF 45.

Got to Chamberlain, SD before the heat exhaustion started making me stupid. Landed, drank half a gallon of water, talked with a couple Agcat mechanics (working on a Thrush, right then.) Realized I was flat-out exhausted, camped. Spectacular lightning and thunder show around midnight, but almost no rain.

Woke up this morning to the sun shining, birds chirping, jake brakes... wait, no, that's distant thunder. Waited for the thunderstorms to pass, then took off along I-90 as it was the clearest corridor east. Fifty miles later, realized I was pointed directly at a growing thundercloud just down the road. Landed at the airport to my right, and having a cold soda while watching the radar until it reports the coast is clear.


  1. I declare, you are having such a great adventure! I hope Calmer Half appreciates you properly. :)

  2. Again smart move, and remember the hydration. Take care and fly safe!

  3. Great stories,
    I agree with Old NFO. A long distance sailplane pilot freind of mine has a good plan for the hydration issue. Drink a ton of water the night before a long flight. Drain off extra before take off. Drink while in flight. Some of this guys flight lasted over 8 hr. Most of them over 500 km. I have used this plan for 4 hr legs.

    Good luck & keep safe.