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Cruise with Old PFLyers and a 3 and a Half+ Scud Run


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Afternoon All: Last week Nancy and I returned home after a shourt (4 day) cruise out of Tampa, Fl with 8 members of our Aviation Cadet Class, we graduated in March 1961 and 6 of us had not seen one another since graduation. I was a great time and surprisingly enough we were talking as though our last conversation was yesterday. Most of us were Phantom Pflyers and/or Cargo and me, the lone B-52 guy--luckily I got out of SAC early on.


The 4-day cruise was very nice and we stopped in Cancun for a day. The port is easy to get into and out of, and all the hotels provide transport to the port; most have space for parking your car or RV for the length of the cruise. I can get deep into Tampa as it is an interesting place to visit. We had no trouble packing for the trip; the CT has lots of space and we had good weather going down, but damned if we didn't have head winds going east.


The day we got back to Tampa the good weather seemed to have gone. We had 800' ceilings almost the whole way to Pensacola. I got the CT out of a hangered parking space and looked at the NextRad weather, there were no echos, no precip. About mid-day Nancy and I decided that as the ceilings were holding steady at 800' to 1400' to near Crestview, Fl and comfortably VFR in the Pensacola area--forecasts were okay. We decided to launch and sure enough we leveled off at about 700'. I used the autopilot much of the way because there was no convective activity, just low clouds. I found that if I leveled off about 100' lower than the ATIS Ceilings along the route, I stayed comfortably VFR. I listened to every ATIS as that gave me a good feel for the weather. It was curious that the reason why I did not climb to on top was that for several hundred miles the overcast was solid. So without a good fix on where on top was, I stayed low and VFR.


Thus the trip was without incident until I got with ATC neat home. The ceiling was 2000' and 10 miles vis, but Eglin didn't bother to turn us over turn us over to Pensacola Apch; Pensacola immediately wants us to climb to above 2500' and we can't and stay VFR, lots of Navy student flying so we flogged aroung to go way west and come back to 82J adding about 20 minutes to the trip. The trip was not bad--meaning no convective activity. The only things I would emphasize are pretty obvious if you are scud runing: to be sure that you keep your head out of the cockpit; don't go IFR-insure that you can always see the ground so you always have some maneuvering room; monitor unicom freqs-- twice we encountered aircraft actively flying in the pattern; don't pass up any ATIS along the route; use the autopilot if things are not too bumpy; relax-map read; and lastly ALWAYS LEAVE YOURSELF A WAY OUT--meaning LAND IF THINGS DO NOT SEEM OKAY!!


Nancy and I are going to try again this summer to get to Colorado and points west.


See ya, Ken and Nancy Nolde, N840KN aah we love it

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