Four aircraft departed from the four corners of the Mid Atlantic Region: one from the north from Frederick, MD, another from Manassas, VA from the west, one from St Mary’s County in the south and the fourth from Tipton, MD and converged on Georgetown, DE for the monthly DC99s flyout.
The winds were gusting to 22 knots, when Gert and I departed HEF. Rather than circumvent the SFRA and the various restricted airspaces that abound south of DCA, I had opted a more direct route to my destination. I had been advised repeatedly that the best course was to always exit the SFRA by the nearest route and then proceed on course to destination. This meant avoiding the the R-6608, R6601, R6611A, R6612, R6613A, sneaking in between R6613A and R4007, avoiding reentry into the SFRA, heading north and then east to GED. All adding an additional 30-40 minutes flight time. My flight plan to exit the SFRA was direct and simple:
It was a pleasant surprise when we were cleared as filed and Gert and I headed straight for IRONS after departing HEF. With tailwinds pushing us forward and ground speed reaching excess of 156knots, it was literally a breeze to traverse through the southern portion of the SFRA. The only traffic we encountered was a commercial airline on it’s way to DCA: higher and faster.
We landed at GED without incident ahead of the others, landing in winds gusting to 19 knots with crosswinds, a little squirly on final and headed for the Lighthouse Landing for our $500 hamburger (or vegeburger).
After lunch we headed over to the museum which was opened up by the owner who was happy to share and talk about all the World War II memorabilia he had ranging from news clippings, to attire, survival kits, aeronautical charts and guides, camera equipment, and much more. The library was stocked with thousands of aviation related books. We even got to see the B25 depart in front of us!
The return on the other hand was a crawl! Headwinds all along the route meant 70kts groundspeed as we retraced our flight path back to Cambridge. Cleared through the SFRA we headed straight to IRONS and into HEF with the setting sun in the west. High clouds had obscured any sun sightings earlier in the day out east at GED, but the flight west provided golden vistas of the sun peaking through clouds as it descended down the western horizon. It was a perfect end to a perfect day of flying, camaraderie, and hangar flying. With 4 planes and 13 people attending this was the best DC99s flyout of 2011!