June 24, 2011
We were up and ready to go in Borger TX for the second day of the race. Our plan was to fly to Norman OK then onto Eldorado, AR. We put down the final leg to Mobile, but didn't know if we could get that far. Weather in Western Texas was going to be over 100 degrees (that is about 120 deg. in the cockpit) so we wanted an early departure. We flew the timing line, and got on our way east to Norman. Many times on the radio you can go to another frequency and talk back and forth unfortunately, two guys were hogging the airways with talk about a farm and fishing, ugh!!! So we could not find out where other planes were. We give position reports like we are 100 miles out of Norman that gives other racers a heads up for your position. If another racer is overtaking a plane they need to let the plane they are overtaking know where they are doing this.
We did the flyby at Norman and continued to the next stop in Arkansas. It was getting a little warm but not totally discomfortable. We landed in Eldorado, AK and about a dozen other racers were already there. Those planes left super early from Borger. We fueled up and called flight service for the weather. Not looking too good so we sat around waiting for the updated weather to get in place. Meanwhile we cleaned the plane got oil in the engine did our preflight and were ready to leave at a moments notice.
Weather at 1 p.m. was favorable to move on to Mobile, AL although there were thunderstorms in the vicinity at our destination the briefer said it would be smooth flying for a period of time. We needed one and a half hours at the least to get to Mobile. We started out with some scattered clouds and we were on top of them (remember we have to be visual for the race) we had good forward visability and also being able to see the ground. Then the clouds started to thicken up so we got through a hole and continued towards Mobile below the cloud layer. We also had to go through some restricted airspace, and we needed to go around it in some direction. We chose to go a little north around the restricted area and come into the traffic area at Mobile Downtown Airport from the northeast so we could enter the runway for the flyby to the southeast and not get hung up in the other airport in Mobile, which is their commercial airport.
Just as we were coming into the area to do the flyby we saw a bolt of lightning a little to the west of the airport. We did our flyby and then got on the ground. We removed all our stuff and covered up the plane just as the first raindrops came down. Within an hour there was a terrific thunderstorm and rain like Texas would love to have. Laurie and I were sure glad we left Arkansas and got to Alabama without an incident and we finished the race. Actually, there was only one other plane at the airport from the race at 3 p.m. but by 8:40 the deadline for landing there were about 15-18 racers on the ground. That meant that 22 more were enroute from either Arkansas or Oklahoma.
Thursdays sponsors were: D & B Mechanical, Anne Honer, Eileen Malan, Polly Hollander