Yesterday I flew a Cessna 182 back from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Sanford, NC. Fortunately, there was a 15-35 knot tail wind the whole way – which made it possible to make it back in one day. Normally, this plane cruises at 140 knots. But, I was averaging about 165 knots (190 mph/305 kph) for the trip. You can see my GPS track in Google Earth colorized by altitude. I stayed up at 9,000 feet altitude where the winds are a bit faster. I ended up making two stops – one in Sherman, Texas where I fueled and got some lunch; and another in Winchester, Tennessee for some fuel and a bio-break. This also helped give me a bit of a rest between legs of the trip. I took a few photos along the way which I will georeference and share later in the week. I may even overlay them over Google’s aerial photos just so you can compare. Oh, and I forgot to turn on the handheld GPS (just used to record the track) until shortly after takeoff from Las Cruces, New Mexico. I need to add that to my checklist.
For you pilots reading this: I used a useful planning tool at AirNav.com which lets you plan a trip (link seems broken at the moment) by finding the cheapest reported fuel at airports between two points. Both of the airports I picked had fuel as much as $1/gallon less expensive as other area airports. Sherman Municipal was only $2.75/gallon (self-serve). You will also note I got diverted around the Charlotte airspace – they rarely let general aviation planes through – even when the flight density is low.
- Flight out to Las Cruces – make sure you read the bottom of the blog entry for more details on the flight conditions.