I have been looking forward to the day I leave for SNF all winter! It has been a particularly cold and long winter for the Mid-Atlantic region. In fact, two days ago I saw snow flurries while at work. Enough of this nonsense, time to head down to the land of never-ending summer! My friend Peter (RV-8 Fastback builder - www.papalimabravo.com) decided to join me to reduce my fuel cost...I mean keep me company. Today's trip is unobstructed by weather along the route (unlike last years!). The route is pretty simple - Clear Dulles' airspace to the west then a straight shot to Baxley, GA - KBHC. This little airport has consistently low cost fuel and typically a nice spread of food for pilots. Next up is avoiding overflying the Okefenokee swamp, avoiding some restricted airspace then down to Lakeland. Easy day!
We met at 5:45am for an early departure. Neither Peter or I are morning people, so very little conversation was to be had until a decent hour of the day.
Even though we're not morning people, we still find time for selfies. Well, at least one of us was enthusiastic for the trip!
The morning was very calm and smooth air was to be had up at 6,500'.
Finally, some excitement! Was it a fire? Nope, that's the Savannah River, marking our crossing from South Carolina to Georgia. And that's not smoke - it's water vapor from the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Nuclear Plant.
One VERY long 3 hour leg to Baxley, GA. Unfortunately we got in too early for any food. Only a HVAC contractor was in the building.
Back in the air to see those beautiful FL puffy clouds.
We had slight headwinds the entire trip so far (< 10 kts). They were starting to diminish to nothingness.
Out about 10 miles we tuned into the ATIS. I am pretty sure the ATIS recited the NOTAM for SNF VERBATIM! Hopefully that means no excuses to anyone flying in, right????! The approach to the first fix, Lake Parker, was relatively uneventful. The controller was sending some planes around Lake Parker who were spaced too closely together. We found a plane via ADS-B with no one really behind him and started to follow him. All was smooth until we turned downwind - the pilot two airplanes in front of us was clearly not on the correct frequency and/or not paying attention to towers instructions to turn a tight base. They proceeded to land somewhat short on 09L causing a slight traffic jam. It added to the excitement of an otherwise uneventful trip down.
Peter recently bought a Garmin Virb and captured this SWEET pic of us turning downwind.
Once on the ground we took care of priorities - getting some of that SNF HBC hospitality! The vacation officially had begun and coincidentally it was also beer-o'clock! We tied down and set up camp for the trip. Next up was show passes. SNF is nice enough to grant Peter and I media passes for the work we do to on our extensive trip write ups (THANKS SNF!!!!). They roll out the red carpet for us media types and offer golf cart rides wherever we want to be taken. We immediately took advantage of this as the media center is about as far as possible from HBC.
While getting badged up at the Nikon Media Center, my friend Jim sends me this pic of OUR planes! I didn't even notice we were parked next to him in the hustle of setting up camp. Jim and I live near each other in Maryland. Back in the late 2000's when were were both building, I was taking an Amtrak train up to NYC for work. I saw a man walking up the aisle wearing an Van's Aircraft hat. It was early, so I took a triple take. What are the odds of two RV people on the same train? As he passed me, I asked him to his surprise "excuse me...what model are you building/flying". We've been best friends ever since. It's truly an honor to be parked next to him. Thanks Jim for chasing away the previous two neighbors you had at SNF!!!
DAGNABIT! This guy's got a quick hand and manages to steel a beer from me every time I see him! His wife, Paula, always happens to be around when it occurs with her camera ready to document her husbands antics.
Last Modified: August 13, 2023