Last week was Spring Break for Eastern Kentucky University. I worked the weekends, and went home for a couple days-never expecting to have a day off to fit a flight in. However, I got lucky and the last Sunday before classes opened up for me, and Horace had also gotten back from his vacation. Therefore, we set our alarm clocks early for the next morning, and planned on flying to Dupage Airport in West Chicago.
I got a weather briefing in the FBO at seven, and the weather conditions aligned with our flight perfectly. Richmond was clear, and en route over Indiana broken layers existed one or two thousand feet below our cruising altitude. Chicago was supposed to be a little bumpy but clear, so we would be able to see the city skyline and traffic in the area.
The flight was incredible just as I had imagined at seven in the morning. Not much exists over Indiana save for Indianapolis, however once in Chicago’s airspace it is a ton of fun. Lake Michigan creeps over your windshield as you approach the area, and as you descend you start to notice the density of housing pick up. Around fifteen to twenty miles from Dupage, the skyline pops into view, and the Willis tower stands tall and proud alongside the other iconic buildings of Chicago. The air traffic begins to pick up substantially as you cross approach paths for O’Hare and Midway, and jets begin to pass to and from in front of your windshield. After three radio frequency changes, you find yourself on final approach parallel with another aircraft passing railroads and busy highways. As you touch down, your are faced with a huge flight center that houses the FBO.
The ramp was ginormous. Although it was fairly quiet and empty when we were there, it was a Sunday and I imagined it filling up for weekdays or important events. Inside the flight center were homeland security offices and other offices I didn’t have access to view. It was a very neat place.
As we returned, our altitude was once again perfect to experience conditions without the challenges associated with them. Right as we had finished our climb, the layer below us formed into a broken layer, and eventually an overcast layer. We got the experience of being on top of these thick layers without worrying about icing. Then once we crossed Indianapolis, it cleared and we had a good view. We experienced one more broken layer in southern Indiana, but our arrival to Richmond went very smoothly. It was a flight packed with new experiences and I had a lot of fun.