A couple weeks ago, I was staring at good weather to the north, and my “wishlist” of airports to travel to. It just so happened Horace and I had the Seminole for the whole day, and Pittsburgh was about two hours away. I did the performance calculations for the trip, got a weather briefing and filled up the airplane. After that we set out for Pittsburgh (ACG).
My roommate Adam and RA Jeff were also flying a Seneca that day, and decided to go up with us. Horace and I had filed for 7,000 feet, so for simplicity Jeff and Adam filed for 9,000 feet. I was flying the left seat on the way up, and once we took off from Richmond, I looked behind me at the runway. I saw the Seneca taking off just as we were contacting Lexington Approach. While we technically were not a “flight,” or two aircraft flying together, we were the IFR equivalent throughout the trip which was a lot of fun.
Fast forward to the point where we were crossing the West Virginia border. The approach controller there was a treat to talk to. He loved the idea of us flying to Pittsburgh together, and laughed several times. Right about this point, we saw the Seneca pass overhead. It was extremely neat to see an airplane that I fly so much in the air ahead of me. We had to switch to Indianapolis Center control shortly after this, and briefly leave the nice controller’s airspace. When we got to Pittsburgh’s airspace, I was vectored ten miles to the west, instructed to fly to two more fixes, and then was cleared for a close visual approach. It must have been a busy day or something, but I did not spot much traffic in the area. My landing was absolutely beautiful, and Horace and I went into the FBO. It was extremely nice, with free chocolate and drinks, a crew shower, aristocratic leather furniture and entertainment. We ate at a local place called the Primanti Bros., known for sandwiches stuffed with fries and cole slaw. The town had an old-fashioned American feel, and I enjoyed it a lot.
When we were on the return trip to Richmond, we had to carefully pick our way through clouds due to EKU buddy flying procedures. The West Virginia controller recognized us, and happily accepted our altitude requests, bidding us a good day for the final time once we were clear of his airspace. The weather in Richmond was fairly clear, a relief from what the AWOS was reporting before (2,500 broken). We landed without a problem, and each of us had a huge smile on our face. It was a fantastic trip, and I think the next big one I get to take will be to Memphis, TN. Fingers crossed I will get to complete it over Spring Break in a couple of weeks.