We launched from APA (Denver Centennial) at about 0816 this morning. Kelly’s family was there in the grandstands for our take off, which was really neat. One of the many benefits of being the co-pilot was that Erin got to watch them jumping up and down waving while Kelly had to fly the darn airplane down the runway!
It was really nice to be airborne at the front of the pack (6th plane to take off since one withdrew before the start) rather than at the back like last year. Since we’re all headed in a straight line from Point A to Point B we’re all trying to occupy the same airspace simultaneously. Not one of our favorite ways to blast through the sky!
So we used up most of the 4800’ runway at APA (even that early in the morning the density altitude was high and we were startled at how long our take off roll seemed!) and climbed (slowly!) to our pre-determined altitude for the cruise over to LBL (Liberal, Kansas).
After a mostly uneventful flight to the first airport along the course, we decided to fly by to continue rather than land. We turned south toward the great state of Texas and enjoyed a lot of sage brush. And red dirt. And vultures. None of which were a match for the Velociraptor.
The timing line in SWW (Sweetwater, TX) was a welcome sight after the temps in the V’raptor were well over 100 degrees. We were glowing – literally! The hospitality at the airport was second to none and we were welcomed as the first racers to touch down. Of course, once we deplaned Erin headed right over to the Learjet parked on the ramp, leaving Captain Kelly to roll her eyes, for she knew that her trusty co-pilot was more interested in the fancy jet than the winds along our next leg.
After yet another (difficult!) round with those ubiquitous, baked on bugs, we were chauffeured by one of the kindest volunteers, Marianne, the Director of the WASP WWII Museum here at Avenger Field in SWW.
We downed some grub and checked into the hotel, then joined Marianne and a few other racers on a personal tour of the WASP museum. What a thrill! However, Erin’s pretty sure that some of the other teams paid Marianne to point out the many cool WASP souvenirs that Kelly of course had to load up on, which we now have to account for in our weight and balance calculations. Looks like we’ll have to skip a few meals tomorrow….
Needless to say, we were both in awe of the WASP presence on the field and feel humbled to fly in the wake of their amazing history. Please check out the museum website at: http://waspmuseum.org
We’ve just ordered some crappy take-out and are revisiting our navigational charts and weather forecasts in the room tonight. It's going to be another early morning so we’re signing off for now. Thank you for your continued support, enthusiasm, traffic on our blog site, and thoughts of strong tailwinds for Classic #7!
More tomorrow from….?????