This morning started at 5:45. I woke up and was kicking myself for setting such an early alarm, but I wanted to be able to make it home tomorrow so I had to put some distance behind me to do so. I had planned for either Tulsa, Oklahoma again (since I had friends willing to keep me there) or to make it all the way to Northwest Arkansas. I have a pilot friend who lives there with his family and had already cleared it with them to crash land at their guesthouse for the evening. So I was at the airport just after 6:00 and ended up meeting the morning crew at the door as Signature opened. They fueled Molly up while I filed a flight plan in the lobby. After touching base with home, I walked out into the cool morning just as the sun’s rays began to warm the tarmac. I did my preflight and climbed into the plane ready for a very long first leg to Clinton, Oklahoma

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Santa Fe tower and terminal
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Santa Fe

On climb out, I noticed that the aircraft was running warmer than normal. I actually climbed about 10 knots fast (so slower vertically) than normal because of that to increase the air flowing into the cowling. Eventually I reached the cruising altitude of 10,000 feet assigned by ATC for the mountains in the area. This would be the last flight dealing with both mountainous terrain and desert. It also would be the last flight about 3,000-foot field elevation. The higher the aircraft operates, the poorer the performance will be. As a result, I can’t fly as far or high because I can’t take full fuel tanks on the way. Once I reached Oklahoma, with my reduced field elevation down to about 2,000 feet or less, I can fuel the aircraft up and go not really having to worry about the weight because it will carry the load. The flight was slightly different than planned, I ended up going to the next airport after Clinton: Thomas Stafford Airport in Weatherford, Oklahoma. The reason was the airport I was intending to land at didn’t have fuel for this week for some reason so I extended to the next one about 10 miles further and landed after just over 3 hours of flying. I was exhausted and the heat and humidity in the descent were overwhelming. I sat on the couch and drank 2 bottles of water before I ended up feeling back up to flying again. I also made my way through the museum there at Stafford Field and saw some monuments to the astronaut for which the field is named.

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Putting the thousandth hour on Molly

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Once I fueled up, I departed for Springdale, Arkansas. I would end up flying from Santa Fe to Springdale and could have made it home by tonight would have been nearly exhausted plus I saw some storms on the horizon that confirmed my decision to stay with my friend overnight. I landed and we got supper and then headed back to their place for the evening where I am finishing this up after catching up from not seeing one another in a few years. It’s amazing how blunt your question can be when you don’t know when the next time you’ll get to meet is!

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My plan for tomorrow is to leave here to be at Murfreesboro Airport around 3 o’clock. That could significantly change depending on the weather tomorrow morning but I plan on doing an IFR flight plan so the flight will be visible to the flight aware (located under “flight tracker” at the top of the home page). That will be updated on the Facebook page as well if there are significant delays. Ready to be home but super blessed at the adventure I’ve gotten to experience. So many stories I could tell that haven’t been listed here but there will be more updates to come. The beginning of my thesis has only begun! This fall will be the defense of what I have done and I still have a few connected things that will be going on this summer.

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Springdale, Arkansas
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