Tuesday, October 16, 2012

GA vs Airlines Schadenfreude

Took a little weekend jaunt to Vegas this weekend with friends. We took the Baron, they took the airlines. Am I the only one that gets some level of schadenfreude when friends suffer the misery that is commercial airline travel while we get to enjoy the awesomeness that comes with flying your own plane?

So on Thursday Vegas was hit with a slew of heavy thunderstorms, so after a 1 hour bart ride to get to SFO an hour early for their flight, our poor friends spent 5 more hours waiting for delays. If the airlines aren't flying neither are we... stayed home and had a glass of wine and relaxed. No non-refundable tickets to worry about!

The next morning we set off, the bay area was covered in thick clouds but the thunderstorms were gone... VFR is preferable on this trip due to routing, but with the cloud layer it wasn't to be... got half a day of work in Friday, filed IFR and then blasted off for Vegas on our own schedule and arrived before sunset. Friends spent 35 minutes at the taxi stand, we were guided by a "follow me" truck, then whisked the FBO in a golf cart by a guy who chocked us and loaded our bag, handed fresh water bottles and offered a free shuttle to our hotel.

Typical good fun two nights in Vegas... drink, wine, dine, spa, pool, show, etc... then return trip. Our airline bound friends wake up at 7 am, quick breakfast and rush out at 8:15 to catch their 10 am flight. SFO fogged in like usual... delayed two hours. We wake up at 8:30, have a leisurely breakfast, pack up on our own time and take a taxi back to Atlantic at 11 am. We "suffer" a 10 minute ATC delay waiting at the runway, then blast off VFR direct for home and just more than two hours later we swap the plane for the car waiting for us in the hangar just 15 mins from our house. Our friends still hadn't touched down at SFO...

Cost... airlines $250 pp each way, or $1000 for both, somewhat late booked but hardly last minute. Baron, variable cost total flight time both ways 5.4 hrs * 25 gph + $100 parking fee (KLAS is ridiculous). Ya, ya I'm ignoring Mx, tbo, insurance and the rest but humor me on the cost side I guess.

Bottom line... awesome weekend bracketed by the miracle of flight vs. awesome weekend bracketed by hassle and frustration. GA wins!  Here is the landing at KLAS

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

back from annual

Finally got my plane back from annual last week.  They spent a lot of time on the rigging, put some new hardware in to correct some sloppiness I complained about in the trim tab, and rerigged the landing gear to stop some chaffing in the gear well.  Maybe it's placebo effect but it definitely felt tighter in roll. It will be interesting to see if I pickup a few knots.  I still need to saw off my huge battery drain and that should reduce drag somewhat too.  All in all I'm super psyched to have my plane back but of course now I'm slammed at work and have no time to flyer her.  Planning a trip to Vegas here shortly so that should be a good time to wring her out.