Joyce’s Great Adventure: And, It's Over...

by Editor 23. June 2012 14:10
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"It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s exciting to get to the end and sad to know that it’s almost over. There are lots of really neat female pilots in the race and knowing that you’re probably not going to see them for another year is sad." -- Joyce Wilson

And the Race is over!

Joyce Wilson

We arrived in Batavia, Ohio this afternoon about 2:30. Clermont County airport is home to Sporty’s Pilot Shop, THE pilot shop for General Aviation and maybe even the professional pilot’s too. They have everything you could ever want and then some. We haven’t been shopping yet as we are just a little tired and wanted to get settled into the hotel and de-stress a little.

We ended up flying 3 legs of the race yesterday. We started in Columbus, NE. Our strategy was to leave a little later in the day from Columbus and fly fairly low to mitigate the headwinds. We knew that there were going to be headwinds for this leg all day and that they would get a little better as the day went on. We also knew that when we turned the corner at the next fly-by, Watertown, SD, that we would get tailwinds in the afternoon. It’s a real chess game to try to plan where you need to be 2 or 4 or even 6 hours later. The tailwinds prevailed from Watertown to Ashland, WI. I think we made some pretty good time.

We stopped for fuel and to regroup for the leg from Ashland to Sault Ste. Marie, MI. The winds were good, but we waited for the storms to get out of the area. The clock keeps ticking if you have to divert or worse yet, land to wait out a storm. Unfortunately, there were a couple of teams that had to do this. Fortunately, we were not one of them. We did get into Sault Ste. Marie pretty late. Then we had to find some dinner as it’s difficult to eat during the day while flying and we also had to find transportation to the hotel. We ended up getting to the hotel around 10 pm. It was a long day.

This morning we were up early and out to the airport by 7:15 only to find out that we were socked in with low clouds and IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions. We couldn’t leave. A couple of teams got out really early when the weather was good, but the rest of us were stuck on the ground. Again, this race can only be completed in day VFR (Visual Flight Rules ) conditions. So we had to sit and wait. It was actually really cool to chat with other pilots who have become our friends. We laughed and joked and just had as relaxing of a morning as we could. Then the weather started to lift. The race was on again!

We had fueled up so we could fly through Benton Harbor, MI on to the finish line. It was beautiful to fly along the coast of Lake Superior. It was also really smooth flying over the edge of the water just off the coast line. We turned the corner at Benton Harbor and knew that the end was almost in sight. Another 1 ½ hours and we’d be on the ground and another race would be complete. It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s exciting to get to the end and sad to know that it’s almost over. There are lots of really neat female pilots in the race and knowing that you’re probably not going to see them for another year is sad.

Now we just have to wait to see how it all shakes down. All the planes should be here and the work for the judges and scorers begins. Tomorrow we’ll go shopping and Sunday evening we’ll know the results.

I’ll keep ya posted.

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