© Copyright World Flight 2002







July 1-2nd Seattle to New Jersey
1902 nautical miles over 2 days, 13 hours flying

Delayed in Seattle waiting for a clearance from the Transport Security Agency meant we had to alter our plans for crossing the USA. It would now be completed in two days with only on overnight stop. Thanks again to Wayne for putting us up for the extra nights we had in Seattle.

We arrived early morning at Galvin Flying services to file plans for the days flying. On taxi we were mixed in between corporate jets and departing Boeing aircraft. It was good to see an Easyjet 737 lining up to take off on its delivery flight to the UK from Boeing Field. After take off we were instructed to climb to 13000 feet. SMD was able to achieve this without to much hard work as we had only 84 gallons of fuel on board. As we turned eastbound we could see Mount Ranier (an active 10 000ft volcano) looking down on the city of Seattle. Our track would take us over the high terrain of the Cascades, which lie immediately to the east of Seattle. Sitting at 13000 feet the outside air temperature was a cool minus 8. It was a clear run to Shelby County airport in Montana. A brief stop was made for fuel and some light lunch before continuing on to Fargo, North Dakota.

The forecast showed a cold front lying to the west of Fargo and we were unsure whether or not we would be able to climb above the weather. We departed Shelby and climbed to 9000 feet. The flying in this part of the world was in complete contrast to other places due to low lying terrain. The weather associated with the front never materialised and arrival into Fargo was made in beautiful evening sunshine. Our stay here would be brief as once again we would try to out run poor weather approaching from the west. An early departure was called for and we arrived at the airport around 8am to make a final check on the weather and fuel up for the 9 hour trip to new Jersey. Our decision to depart early was well justified as Fargo was forecasting winds of 60-70 miles an hour about four hours after our planned departure time. However there was more bad weather west of New York that might affect our planned route.

North of Chicago past the Great Lakes the weather deteriorated with severe weather warnings issued to all aircraft in the area and aircraft heading South East. A line of thunder clouds had developed with cloud tops reaching 50,000 feet, there was no way we would climb over this weather so we would have to divert around it. We gave Flight Watch (weather advisory service while onroute) a call on frequency 122.00 MHz to get the update on the bad weather. They advised us to fly east and not attempt to continue on our flight plan track. We headed east with the dark sky and bad weather clearly visible off to the right of the aircraft. Skirting through Cumulous (heat clouds) we were bounced around and tried a climb to 11,000 feet but found we were now deep in cloud and still being bounced around by the turbulence. Also concerned about icing which can very quickly build up on the aircraft at temperatures below freezing and in cloud/ precipitation we tried to climb over the cloud and headed up to 13,000 feet. It was better up at 13,000 for a while but soon after, cloud at our level appeared ahead so we descended back to 11,000 feet where we were able to stay for the rest of the flight.

Approaching New Jersey we were transferred to New York Centre Air Traffic Control. They gave us vectors (compass headings) to fly to have us remain clear of the busy New York airspace, descending us along the way. Approaching New Jersey Regional Airport it was getting dark and not an easy airport to pick out during dusk. The airport did not have ILS approach only an off station VOR. We were vectored into the area for a visual approach and asked to contact McQuire Airforce Base as we neared their airspace. They cleared us for landing at South Jersey Regional. While on a Base Leg for landing we heard the friendly voice of Al Nugent on the radio confirming we were setup for landing. On Finals for landing it was gusty conditions and the runway although 4,000 feet long was very narrow compared to the main airports we were used to landing at. Taxing in we saw a crowd of about 30 people at the restaurant building, we pulled up outside not realising they were all there to meet us. On embarking from our aircraft we were greeted with warm handshakes, a cold bear each and flowers. It was truly a wonderful moment to have so many people there to wish us luck and welcome to New Jersey. Thanks to Al Nugent for organising the warm welcome. Al is originally from Galway and moved to the USA over twenty years ago. Al is very much involved with South Jersey Regional airport as well as in the excellent air museum at the airport. Not only that but Al is a camera man in the local TV stations helicopter and also the ground crew for a fighter jet.

Billy O'Hara who runs BP Air at South Jersey Regional sponsored our trip by giving us a free of charge maintenance check. PH-SMD would have a thorough engine check and maintenance before our next sector, the Atlantic crossing to home.

That evening we spent chatting to the guys from South Jersey Regional Airport over a few welcome cold bears. Special thanks to Al Nugent for oganising a super weekend in New Jersey for us, Billy O'Hara of BP Air for maintenance, Steve Bulboff for organising a flight for us in a Aero Vodochody L-59 fighter Jet, Brad & Mike of Patriot Air Services, Doug Herlihey of Helicopter Flight Services and Vince & Jim of the Lunt Runway Cafe for feeding us so well while we were there. Thanks to everyone at South Jersey Regional for making our visit to New Jersey so enjoyable.

Seattle skyline
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A view of Seattle.

Paul, Matt, Wayne and Lydia
in the Irish
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Our last night in Seattle
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Thanks to Wayne for putting
us up in Seattle

Thanks to the Vince & Jim Lunt of the Runway Cafe for a warm welcome.
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Thanks to Al Nugent for organising an amazing weekend of flying for us both in a fighter jet and a helicopter.
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Thanks to Steve Bulboff for bringing us flying in the L59 jet seen above - a highlight of our aviation careers.
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Thanks to Billy O'Hara and crew at BP Air for sponsoring our flight by maintaining PH-SMD at South Jersey Regional Airport.
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