This morning we did our usual early bit and woke up to a fairly low overcast. We kept moving anyway with usual morning preparations but before calling the taxi we walked back into the quaint little town of Stillwater in search of caffeine. We found a fun little cafe and got our morning fix before wandering back and checking out.
Back at the Valters Aviation, the local FBO the plane was waiting for us in the hangarM. The owner wouldn’t let us pay for the night in the hangar then left to go to the doctor.
We were planning on going to Alexandria before continuing on to Pierre but the weather at Alexandria was reporting quite low and not forecast to improve for about 4 more hours so I decided to ditch it. I wanted to visit the certificate holder for the Bellanca Viking aircraft but I didn’t want it to hold us up. So we sat around a little while chatting with the very friendly staff at the FBO while we waited for the cloud to lift slightly.
Around 09:30 we’d had enough waiting so we jumped in and headed West. Since the wind was favourable down low we stayed under the cloud at around 1000′ AGL for a lot of the flight. It made for a busy flight. Across Minnesota are many very height radio masts. Some well above as at we past by. The tallest of which we estimated to be around 1500′ high. Fortunately they are lit and my GPS points them out along with an “Obstacle” annunciation and a mast symbol of the PFD.
Added to the mast problem was masses of birds. It seemed about every 3 or four minutes we were pointing out birds. Some in very large flocks, some sole but most around our height or higher. It meant that at least one of us had to be heads up the entire trip. We managed it by clearly indicating who was doing what.
At one stage later in the flight we’d had enough and it was getting a bit lumpy so we climbed to 4500′. This gave us a slight headwind but it was a lot smoother. It didn’t last long however as the cloud started climbing with us so after 10 minutes we popped back down to finish the flight at around 3000′.
All in all an interesting flight.
Once we arrived the line guy from Mustang Aviation, the local FBO was there to Marshall us in to our park. We unloaded, parked the plane for the night and gassed it up.
The receptionist at Mustang was very helpful sorting us transport, offering us dining advise and got us a couple of bottle of water. The FBO offices are obviously new and are very comfortable indeed. We feel very spoilt with this FBO system. They make everyone feel important. Boy, New Zealand aviation has a long way to go and unfortunately it’s currently going backwards. It seems here that the local municipalities see a value in having an airport so do a lot to support it. The airports are all very well cared for. As opposed to NZ where people buy cheap houses near airports then try to get them closed down while CAA try to legislate aviation out of existence. This really is the place to fly, no doubt about it.
We caught a taxi/bus thing into town. I must admit, we were shocked at how little there is here. I’m sure there must be something but we can’t find it. We did ask someone but I think she thought she was on candid camera so it was hard to get much sense out of her.
After about an hour of walking around we found a nice place to get a great sandwich and a cold drink. Then we went back to the hotel to do some washing and blog.