Flight Over My Hometown

Flying

With a population of about 1000, everyone really does know everybody. So when I decided on a whim to do a fly-over my Uncle jokingly told my Dad that I was probably piloting the plane that was buzzing them. Without knowing it he was right!

Double Springs Alabama

I scheduled the flight and reserved a Cessna 172, N984SP, a week before. The weather looked like it might be clear which is a bit out of the norm for spring in the south. As the day approached I kept checking the weather forecast and it stayed remarkably perfect for flying. This would be my first solo flight in the 172, I received my sign off a few weeks before (Cessna 172 Upgrade!).

I received some unexpected news on Monday morning, the day before my scheduled flight. My grandmother “Granny” had passed peacefully in her sleep at the age of 85. Her health had recently started declining fairly quickly so she was definitely in a much better place now. I thought about canceling the flight but wasn’t sure…

Not really thinking about my upcoming flight I was trying to figure out where I might fly or if I was going to fly. If I went I wanted to go about 50 mi so there are many airports in that range, most of them I had been to before. On the day of my scheduled flight a thought popped in my head, what if I flew to Double Springs and flew around where I grew up. It was a great thought and fit my 50 mi. range perfectly, 49 mi to be exact. So that was the plan, I plotted up the trip in my Garmin Pilot app on my iPad, it would only take me around 1.25 hours which was about as long as I wanted to fly. I submitted the flight plan and headed for the airport.

Shortly after taking off from Redstone Army Airfield I started talking to Huntsville Departure to get clearance thought the airspace, since I had to cross in front of HSV on the way out of Huntsville. I entered 3M2 (Double Springs-Winston County Airport) into the GPS. After I passed Decatur airport I was cleared onto my course, I found an aimpoint that looked to be a forest fire. I turned out to be just accross Smith Lake from the Double Springs Airport. (see pic below)

IMG_1627

Prescribed Burn of the forest across the river from Double Springs airport.


About 30 min later I was over the airport and turned toward the city to do a little bit of sightseeing. Posted below are a few pictures of my family’s land; Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and Grandmother. When I was a kid I ran all around that lake and had many good times on the “Hill” across from the ball fields.

The “Hill” just between the ball fields and the lake.

The lake, spent many times fishing and being chased by the geese…

Another view of the “Hll”, taken from about 1800′ AGL.

My flight path was recorded by ATC (Huntsville tower and Memphis Center).

FlightAware Flight Details

FlightAware Flight Details

The Origin of the flying bug…

Flying

First Flight Cirtificate

At a very young age I was intrigued by flight until the day of April 16th 1994 it just clicked… I want to be a pilot!

My sister, Holley who was a grade ahead of me in school was studying airplanes in the 5th grade. Her class was invited to the local airport (http://www.aopa.org/airports/3M2) for a demo flight by another classmate’s Grandfather. I tagged along not knowing that I might get a ride. After watching the airplane do a few take-offs and landings my mother told me to go with my sister to fly! I didn’t really know what to expect, I had flown before but only on a few 747s back and forth to Germany a few years prior. This was a much smaller plane, single engine piston, 1957 Mooney M20 (I still remember the musty smell). I was told to hop in the front (right) seat, couldn’t see out the window or the windshield so I curled my feet under me for an extra boost. My sister and another kid got in the back and off we went.

Going off of a 20 year memory, I believe we departed to the north on Runway 3, headed over beautiful Smith Lake. I remember thinking that everything was much faster to get to and was much closer than what I had imagined it would be. We were over the city of Double Springs in a min or less, we had just drove through Double Springs to get to the airport which took us about 5-10 min! Wow, I was mesmerized! Everything looked much different from above (1000-1800 feet altitude) as we went about our brief tour of the area. I tried taking it all in but it seemed like it ended much too soon, where did the time go? Who knows how long we were actually up there, maybe 5-10 min is my best guess but it seemed much quicker at the time at the ripe old age of 9.

After we landed back at the airport all I could think of was How could I get back up in the air… Until it hit me, I could get my pilot’s license and fly on my own!!! So that was it I made my mind up and set that goal without knowing what it might take to accomplish it.