When them blow, they blow!




Monday April 16th 2018

Winds! When them winds blow, they blow.

Gary Berdeaux  of Beachflight aviation, once again, went out of his way to assist me in my adventure. Meeting me at Salt Air Aviation, where I returned the car rental, and then taking me to his hanger, where the BZIM was sleeping, at 0730.


The forecast today was for blue sky’s and wind. A 25 mph head wind in thermic conditions isn’t particularly comfortable. Worse though, the 25 mph headwind would slow my progress, meaning an additional fuel stop en-route.



Departure from Jack Edwards was first toward Denton, on Dauphin Island. The flight to Dauphin Island was a nice slow flight. A distance of 28 miles traveled, should have taken 28 minutes at the BZIM’s 60mph speed, instead, it took almost 50 minutes!


Fort Morgan, Alabama


Offshore, crossing the channel to Dauphin island


Denton in the centre above the tree line

Jeremiah Denton (4R9) airport, Dauphin Island was built on land reclaimed from the bay.


Looking right, whilst on finals to Denton, Dauphin Island


The BZIM at Dauphin Island

I’m told this can give an aircraft carrier departure feeling, but I guess that would be in an aircraft needing a longer departure run and at speeds faster than the BZIM.

After departure from Denton, I was advised by Gary, routing inland would lesson the wind speeds compared to following the coastline. Disappointed, as the plan was to fly low along the Mississippi River, this turned out to be a wise decision.IMG_0695


For the short period, where a low level section was flown, the air was very turbulent and the view was not as pretty due to the previous days torrential rains. Much nicer was the area from where False River Airport got it’s name.


Part of False River, now a lake, which once was a part of the meandering Mississippi River.

The flight from Denton to False River (HZR), for refueling, took 4 hours 39 minutes to fly the 211 miles.


False River (HZR) airport, Louisiana

Having missed “Tora Tora Tora”, a Commemorative Air Force team who recreate the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor team, at SunNFun, due to my early departure, it was nice to see the aircraft at False River (HZR).

One of the Tora Tora Tora aircraft. I think this one is Tora.

The BZIM soaking up the sun at False River

A regular gas station, near the entrance to the airport at False River, was trekked to. The airport manager offered a ride to the station, but it wasn’t far and stretching the legs after 4 hours 40 minutes felt good. The FBO has a nice area and feel with free snacks,  coffee and water.


Next stop, Eunice (LA90) only 60 miles away would allow the BZIM’s tanks to be filled using  Mogas (motor gas). This was done quickly and by 1620, the BZIM was on it’s way to Livingston (00R) 160 miles to the west. Most of this area is densly covered with trees. The area is largely swamp land with a few alligators I am told!




More trees, a river and the BZIM

Although Livingston does not have unleaded fuel at the airport, a local gas station just over one mile away resulted in a late evening walk. Even though no fuel was purchased at Livingston, Dan Burrows allowed access to Burrows Aviation building for the night.


The BZIM in the setting sun



Time to sit this one out

Weather 1404

After arriving at Jack Edwards Thursday evening, an out of the blue phone call to Gary Berdeaux of Beachflight Aviation brought him out to the airport within 15 minutes. Gary went out of his way to assist finding space in his hanger for the BZIM and then insisting in taking me for a meal and a drink at a local restaurant. Not usually a fish person, Gary recommended the Mahi-Mahi. I loved it. A very meaty chewy fish.

It was at this point I was discussing my concern about getting away before the incoming storm came through on Saturday, otherwise I’d be stranded until the 23rd. Gary pointed out, “but its only the 12th”. Somehow, possibly linked to stress and being dehydrated, I had convinced myself as I left SunNFun that I was on a very tight schedule and I might not make the west coast, never mind the east! I was convinced the weekend coming was the 21st April, not the 14th. Suddenly a huge weight was lifted. I could wait out the storm at Jack Edwards.




A storms a coming.

Gary could not be more helpful, picking me up on Friday, taking me to his hanger, for me to collect some items, and then to the FBO to get a car hire. Gary further dropped everything, meeting me at his hanger on Sunday and then early morning Monday for my departure. There is something about Trike pilots in America. All have gone out their way to help basically a stranger.


Edits to this page will be done later.

Departure towards Louisiana today at around 8AM. Hope-full of some flying low over the Mississippi, but an air-met for turbulence below FL100 (no lower limit), may make things bumpy. Landing at Eunice (4R7) for some fuel and the hopefully into Texas and Livingston. 1 hour 20 mins til departure, so better get my ass moving!

To Apalachicola and Jack Edwards

Not the easiest airport to make RT calls to, but the flight to Apalachicola was straight forward. A shadow was seen to pass slightly to the right from behind. Looking up a UH-1  or similar US military helicopter flew overhead 1000ft above.

Since leaving Lakeland and later Cedar Key I had became obsessed about trying to get ahead of forecast storms. If I didn’t, I thought, then this could result in being grounded until April 23rd, still in the south eastern portion of the country. There would be no way I could complete my main goal. I needed to get ahead of the storm front that was being forecast. This led me to decide to not continue following the Florida coast line, as I had planned.


This detour offshore,  resulted in the sighting of a number of dolphin pods though. 🙂




Alligator Point

The BZIM was approaching an area with a large number of MOA (Military Operating Areas) associated with Tyndall AFB. Following along the coastline allowed transit below the 1000ft lower limit of Tyndall G MOA. Aircraft flying VFR can fly into a MOA, but if the area is active with military traffic, its probably not best.


Dog Island strip. An planned airfield, but missed to save time

A PC12 was in the pattern as the BZIM joined tight downwind for runway 14 at Apalachicola. The surface wind was gusty, but straight down the runway. A very quick turn around thanks to FBO staff, the BZIM was airborne and heading for Jack Edwards, Alabama.


FBO staff at Apalachicola







Jack Edwards

Edits to this page will be done at a later date

Cedar Key and Ms Judy

From this post on-wards, where possible images, in the post will be duplicated in a gallery at the bottom. This will allow clicking on the gallery image, and a full size image will display in a new window. Older posts will be updated later.


Approaching Cedar Key (CDK) from the south west, the airfield is at the far left of the connected chain of land.


Overflying at 1500ft, joining downwind for runway 5 was pleasing to the eye. Winds from the east though caused a fair bit of rotor low to the ground and the BZIM floated a bit further down the runway than anticipated. Still a massive amount of space for the BZIM, used to a small grass airfield.


Upon landing a voice came over the Radio, “You’ll be wanting a taxi” in a deep south American accent. “Yes please” i repield.

Thanks to Ms Judy, two trips to fill up my external tank were made, a third trip to fill my rumbling belly.

During these trips, three other aircraft arrived Ms Judy ferrying us back and forwards into town.


On the final journey Ms Judy gave a quick tour of the area. Describing how things had changed over her time, due to storms and “them up there in New York” buying up the property. Property prices went up, taxes went up and cost of living went up, forcing many who work in the area to move in land, and commute.





Returning to the airport, sitting eating my burger and fries, it felt sad to be leaving such a beautiful area so quickly. I could have sat there all day relaxing!



Leave I must though. A nasty storm was being predicted for when I was expected to be in the Mississippi area, so perhaps it could be avoided by heading south towards Houston, and getting ahead if it. Otherwise, there was a strong chance of being grounded until the 23rd April!? I needed to be further on by this point. (or so I was thinking).

Departing Cedar Key, Ms Judy asked me to do flypast, which I gladly obliged with.


Ms Judy