Last Thursday I did my first “Angel Flight” to take a little boy and his mom home to Louisville after he was treated for his illness in Cleveland. That flight, and any others I do from now on, are dedicated to Doug and his family.
Before I describe the “Interesting Groundspeeds” I encountered that day, I’m curious - any other Cirrus drivers out there involved (now or in the past) in this organization? There are several chapters around the country; typical is http://www.angelflightne.org Angel Flight Northeast
Now about those groundspeeds… the weather that day was dominated by a very deep low centered over the Great Lakes. Winds aloft were very impressive indeed. I had to get from Chicago (PWK - Palwaukee) to Cleveland (BKL - Burke Lakefront) to meet my passengers. Once south of Lake Michigan, I had one of the best tailwinds I can remember; groundspeeds were consistently in the 220-225 range all the way (at 9,000 feet) as I headed eastbound. It was pretty turbulent - moderate to occasionally severe - but it was FAST. Nobody asked me how many engines I had ; but two controllers did call me a Sabrejet, so no complaints!
I couldn’t resist taking a photo - and now I can’t resist sharing it.
However, for every tail wind, there’s an opposite but stronger headwind… so, when I left BKL for Louisville (LOU - Bowman Field), I found myself between a rock and a hard place. The bumps were really bad all the way up to 11,000 feet… I was concerned that I’d scramble my passengers; and although it was smooth at 12,000 feet, the wind was right in my face, and very strong. How strong? Hopefully, this picture, taken while straight and level at 12,000, with a TAS of 155, will tell the story. Just in case it’s not legible to you, though, that’s 34 knots on the ARNAV display. By the way, both photos show 260 NM to go - that was a happy accident; but when I was doing 222 knots over the ground that meant another 1:10 to go; while the next photo shows 7 hours and 39 minutes left. Luckily, the winds did ease up as I headed south; by the time I got to LOU I reached my maximum GS for that leg… 90 knots.
Doug, where ever you are, I hope that you have blue skies and strong, smooth tailwinds always.