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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Carolinas, Florida and Georgia

After a late flight to Wilmington, NC, last night, Ron and I took off for Jacksonville, Fla. this morning. Rain and clouds swept through North Carolina and we left in grey and hazy skies. As we pushed south, however, the clouds lifted a little but the haze remained.

Notice the little spot on the windshield in the picture above. While flying at 6,000 feet something smashed against the plexiglas. After taking a closer look, I noticed a little blood and what looked like a piece from the shattered carcass of a bee. Of course, I didn't expect bees to fly that high and thought that it might be from the digested remains of a bee via the backside of a bird. My wife looked it up when I told her about this and it turns out that some bees do in fact soar many thousands of feet in the sky in something of a hibernating state. They supposedly just float around in the wind and awake when they hit warmer temperatures. So I guess this one really did go in its sleep.

Here is the coast of Florida, a few miles north of Jacksonville, where we were greeted by 90 degree temperatures.

After a very quick turn in Jacksonville, and a switch of seats, we took off and headed for Atlanta. I filed for 8,000 feet. After a brief while in the clouds, we punched through the deck and discovered crystal clear skies above and enthralling cloud formations. Unfortunately the most beautiful sights weren't recorded on film -- or digital sensor in this case -- because they occured very briefly as we broke out between big cloud formations.
We zipped through narrow canyons of clouds and were at times dwarfed by monumental columns of cumuls clouds that stuck out of the sky like plumes from explosions.
Below are just some shots taken when I wasn't wrestling today's aircraft, 1CK, which earned the infamous nickname "Chicken Killer" because it's a piece of junk. For instance, the throttles were impossible to synch and when I got them anywhere near they would quickly get out of synch. Also, the aircraft had a nasty rolling tendency. To test it, I let go of the controls and within 8 seconds it was in a 30 degree bank.
The flight was, nonethless, very enjoyable and stunning.

Is it me, or is that cloud below giving me the finger?

After about two hours, ATC dropped us below the clouds and we were once again in a thick haze that enveloped Atlanta's skyline.

Another shot, while on the GPS 26 into Fullton County airport. About a minute after this photograph was taken, we had a great up-close view of the city but I was too busy flying the approach to take a picture.


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