After the last attempt’s fiasco (see Flush: Devil May Care), this time I decided to play it safe and let Debbie do the flying while I wanted to sit back and enjoy the ride. We couldn’t have asked for a better day for the Eastern PA 99s Poker Flight!
A Poker run or poker flight as it is called is a fairly easily flight. A host of five airports are chosen by the organizer and at each airport one or more poker cards in a sealed envelope can be picked based on how many hands one intends to play. At the Terminus or the airport identified as the final stop, each hand is opened and prizes are given for the three best hands. According to the Poker hand ranking: a Straight Flush consists of 5 cards in numerical sequence all of the same suit while a flush consists of 5 cards of the same suit and a straight consist of 5 cards in a numerical sequence. Four of a kind or quads consist of four cards of the same kind such as 4 fours. Full house consists of three of a kind and a pair. The ranking for choosing the winners is: straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, pair and high card.
The air was calm, crisp, and clear with unlimited visibility. Without much ado, pilots, navigators, traffic spotters and passengers all hopped into Debbie’s glass cockpit Cessna 182 with traffic, weather and XM satellite radio and headed out and onwards. Debbie had done all the serious planning, chalking out routes on the chart and in AOPA Flight Planner. The route she planned was the most efficient route we could take- Trenton, Doylestown, Pottstown, Smoketown and Chester County. And I had the airport shopping list ready with communication and weather frequencies, and runway information for each of the five airports handy and ready for use. The twins were in the back to assist as needed. We had all grounds covered!
The first leg of the journey was the longest leg. With autopilot set to navigate the course, we could all sit back and enjoy the scenery. With unlimited visibility we could see all the way to Chesapeake Bay and even downtown Philadelphia off in the distance. We skirted around the Class Bravo airspace around Philadelphia and headed to Trenton for the first pit stop. After registering and picking the first poker card, it was on to the next stop.
The first two stops were uneventful. The winds at Pottstown were squirrely. Crosswinds combined with a short narrow runway and the fact that we were high and fast meant a go around. How long is that runway anyway? Definitely got us to pay more attention to runway length after that! Last stop was at Chester County where we all tried our luck. It was too early to know if we won anything. But the result of my two hands was a pair of queens and an Aces high.
It is a little strange for me to be a back seat pilot. In fact this was I think my second time being in the back seat. It relieves the tension of flying and enables more carefree opportunities to be a part of and take more photographs. But I would never give up that chance to be up front and in charge, of flying and experiencing the most wonderful joy of all!
My gamble paid off!. Turns out my two pairs of queens and sevens did win a third prize. Ironical huh? All in all a good move! As it happens Debbie won too… for her pair of fours! Too bad, no triple crown race today. But luck was certainly with us today… in pairs!