After having flown to most of the well-known airports in range of Richmond, I had an itch for adventure. So on the next flight, I chose a random airport called Effingham County Memorial (1H2) an hour and a half west (towards St. Louis), preflighted and left with Horace in the Seminole.
As we departed Richmond, we faced a few problems to deal with. The ceiling was at 4,000′ broken, and multiple PIREPs were reported for icing descending through clouds. However on the bright side, the clouds were supposed to clear up a little past Louisville. So in order to be safe, we just cruised at 3,000′. It was very bumpy and unenjoyable, however I got to see the landscape in greater detail which was pretty cool. When we were passing Louisville, the layer started to break up a bit into scattered, but not enough to warrant a climb up to the smooth air. So reluctantly, we accepted our fate of flying through bumpy air all the way to our destination.
As we crossed into Illinois, the land started to flatten out considerably, and the weather was clear blue and sunshine. The air traffic was almost non-existent, and we talked to Kansas City Center all the way to Effingham County. All that could be seen was farmland stretching far into the distance, and long straight roads dissecting the fields. The approach into the field was very straight and long, and the airport simplistic. When we landed, I swore I was on the movie Napoleon Dynamite.
Only one plane was parked on the ramp, and it was as if it had been there for months. I did not think anyone was even on the airfield, however when we opened the door to the small FBO we were greeted by an enthusiastic “Good Day!”. The man there fueled our airplane up, and meanwhile I soaked in the Midwestern small town atmosphere. Prior to this, the furthest west I had traveled was Nashville or Chicago, so this was very different to me.
We ended taking back off, and the weather cleared substantially for our route home. We cruised for half of it in the smooth air at 8,000′, and landed in Richmond without a problem.
It was a lot of fun to take a break from busy and iconic airports, and to take a seek-and-find flight searching for a small airport somewhere for fun. It was neat to experience a new area of the country, and now I’m excited to experience the far west in the future. For the meantime when people ask how far west I’ve been, I can tell them Effingham County Illinois.