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By Skyhawk back from the Pacific - Day 10 - Longmont to Bloomington, IL

August 02, 2017 11:15 PM | Michael Brown (Administrator)

I'm more than halfway home from Colorado.

I got a late start this morning, and didn't leave Estes Park until 8:30, so I didn't get into the air until nearly 10:00. However, with a small tailwind and an efficient fuel stop in Hastings, Nebraska (KHSI), I was able to make up some of the time and landed in Bloomington, Illinois (KBMI) by 6:30 Central Time, Total flying time for the day was 7.3 hours.

East of the Rockies, Colorado flattens right out, although it remains green for quite a while.

Eventually, though, the land becomes dryer and the green circles of the circular irrigators appear.

The weather was warm and hazy, so I few higher than usual (7,500-9,500 feet) to get above the haze and into cooler, dryer air - the tailwind at that altitude, and the better economy were factors, too.

Above the haze layer, with some small clouds below, navigation across the plains is easy - just follow the roads as they run straight east-west for mile after mile.

A circular housing development adjoins a circular irrigator in Nebraska.

As I went further east, the clouds began to build up. They were very scattered, though, so I could avoid the patches of rain by flying in the clear open air between the clusters of clouds.

Finally, the Mississippi River came into sight, and I was in Illinois.

The clouds became thicker and more active in Illinois, so I had to descend to get under the bases. There was more rain, and stronger, so I had to divert around strong showers - if I can't see through the rain I won't fly through it. The ADS-B radar display and help from ATC allowed me to skirt along the northwest side of the storm, then turn southeast through a gap to get east of the system. By the time I reached the Illinois River near Peoria, the skies were clear again.

About 30 miles further on, I landed at Central Illinois Regional Airport (KBMI) in Bloomington, Illinois. There are two FBO's, but one of them - Image Air -  sent a "follow me" truck to meet me as I left the taxiway, so that's the one I went with. They were nice enough to give me a crew car to take to the motel for the evening, and "thanks" for that!

I'm only about 600 miles from Ithaca, so with any luck, and some favorable weather, I should be home tomorrow afternoon.

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