Two hounds needed a ride from Tennessee to Maryland and Connecticut after finding themselves in difficult circumstances so HoundPilot decided to make a fur 1800 nm day out of it.
As is often the case one ended up discarded because her “family” moved to an urban area where they felt she couldn’t go. Thankfully someone got involved and she didn’t meet her demise. Instead she ended up with ABTCR and thanks to ABTCR’s awesomeness she was saved. The other is one of so many puppies that just “show up” on the road or a rural farm looking for food. Both received the gift of a lifeline from ABTCR and HoundPilot was happy to be a part of their freedom ride to a foster in MD and an adoptive family in CT!
Our airplane had been in Annual, a yearly required inspection, for over a month with some needed engine work and repairs so this was an excellent opportunity to knock of the flying rust and save some hounds while preparing for our long trips in the coming months.
The weather hadn’t cooperated the day prior as strong storms were forecasted and in fact developed across the area and flight path. So we pushed it a day and things worked out aside from the high winds. I’ll edit a video about that and post it later. We dealt with the winds from the frontal passage and used it as an opportunity to test our aeronautical decision making and flying skills.
Leg 1 KDMW Westminster, MD- Huntington TN KHZD 650 nm 5 hours. We battled headwinds all the way from MD-TN so what should be a 3 hour or less trip took 5 hours. We had 3 alternate fuel stops planned and preflight briefed our decision points for stopping. The bright side is that even though on the edge of our safe fuel zone the weather cooperated so that we could make it non-stop.
Leg 2 Huntington TN KHZD to Baltimore, MD KMTN 3 hours 680 nm. Here we had to battle the winds since they have a single runway and the winds were at a 40 degree+ crosswind factor gusting to 36 Knots. It tested my co-pilot and made for an exciting ride. In Baltimore Fairy Godmother deplaned to a wonderful MD Foster mom and we refueled and struggled with the decision to continue to CT or not. The weather reports and forecasts had not been matching up all day and I feared the front was behind schedule and would catch up to us. However the CT airport had 2 runways crossing at 90 degrees so that gave us options ensuring the crosswind would not be outside our aircraft’s and more importantly my abilities. After a careful look and some discussions we fueled and departed for CT.
Leg 3 Baltimore, MD KMTN to Bridgeport, CT KBDR 1 hour 45 minutes 250 nm. This route is BUSY! We have the presidential TFRs, along with complex Philadelphia and New York airspace. Our routing was fairly good considering this and we flew along the coast, over Long Island Sound and JFK Airport then into Bridgeport. I’ll save the flight video for another post but the cold front did in fact catch up to us which meant extremely high and gusty winds and a last minute change in runways. It was challenging but we stuck with our plan and safety decisions, had options, and made it in safely. ABTCR Franklin met his new furever family and we took a break in the pilot lounge to file the flight plan home and suck down some food, aka coffee and energy bars.
Leg 4 Bridgeport, CT KBDR to KDMW Westminster, MD 250 nm 1 hour 30 minutes. The pups all safe and secure we headed home to MD. The winds were still strong in CT and darkness had set in however the front had passed MD and winds there were reporting calm. ATC gave us some terrible routing all the way down the coast and over DC prior to turning back Northwest to MD. Due to the presidential TFR and they way they do routing, they said nothing else was available. We took on plenty of fuel and departed. We were rewarded with a breathtaking night flight over New York City and JFK Airport. Once south of NY yet North of the presidential TFR we negotiated an alternate means and routing and made a shortcut around the Northwest edge of the TFR. Arriving home after a very long day, exhausted, yet happy. We put the plane away, cleaned up, and dreamed of Fairy Godmother and Franklin living their best lives!
Look out for a follow-up post to include all the pictures.
Thank you ABTCR for doing what you do and letting HoundPilot be a part of that thing we do.