Monday, March 4, 2013

Welcome to Miami


What a gorgeous day to go flying! And, even better, we’re going to fly over the Gulf of Mexico on our way to Miami today!

We had the life raft onboard for just such an event. Any time that you’re beyond gliding distance from the coast (in the event of a dual-engine loss), then you have to carry a life raft on board. Sobering, huh?

Ours happens to weight fifty-six pounds and takes up lots of room in the cabin, but it cuts out about an hour of flying time by going over the water instead of up and around over land.


I also had warm, soft, clean blankets ready to go, since such a long flight might warrant some napping in the cabin.


We were scheduled to leave at 8:00 AM this morning to arrive in time for some meetings later today in Miami. The two-hour time difference and expected four-hour flight would get us there around two o’clock local.


It was a busy Monday morning on the ramp, too. Lots of airplanes were out and getting ready for trips this morning as well.


That’s why we are way back in the corner this morning…other airplanes were scheduled to leave just before us, so they got the number-one spot today.

Way to spoil things, Beechjet.

Thank goodness our passengers can just drive on the ramp and bring their luggage right to the airplane! That would be a long, heavy walk otherwise…


We left almost exactly at eight and were soon on our way to depart Runway 3 this morning.

Doesn’t this look like a gorgeous day to go flying?


We climbed and turned and climbed some more. Phoenix Approach soon had us flying over the very airport that we had just departed…though now we were at about 10,000 feet!

We were soon given some shortcuts on route, which is always appreciated on such a long flight.


Southern Arizona is famous for its copper mines, among other things. We passed one today that had an airplane almost flying directly overhead when I took this picture.



Our scheduled four-hour flight turned into just 3.5 hours thanks to this awesome groundspeed. Can you see it there? We were already going 526 knots over the ground, and we were still climbing! Once we leveled off and sped up, we had almost six-hundred knots groundspeed today.

That just means that a tailwind is a wonderful thing. It really helped our “long” flight be bearable today!


This was my last glimpse of the coast before we headed over the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s just slightly unnerving to be so far from land, but we had good practice last May when we flew to the Caribbean a few times.


Unfortunately, lots of clouds blocked the nothing-but-water view below on our flight this morning. We talked to Houston Center for most of our water flying today, and then we were handed off to Jacksonville Center when we got closer to the coast of Florida.

What a great flight!


The gray portions of this map indicate where our XM weather doesn’t receive any service. As you can see, we went through a little pocket of XM weather not knowing what to tell us. It wasn’t a big deal, since it was daylight and we could simply look outside to see if any thunderstorm cells were building.

Luckily, in this time of year, nothing was there. In a few months during the summer? Well, it will be a completely different story then!


This was my first glimpse of the Florida coastline after almost an hour over open water. It’s always nice to see land again. Comforting, you know?


We passed some non-threatening puffy clouds on our descent into Miami today. Due to the location of their meetings, we actually landed at the big international airport! I’ve never been here before but wasn’t nervous. If you’re nice on the radio, the controllers will help with anything.

Actually, if you’re nice in real life, you can get help for anything! It’s not just in flying that being nice can be a good thing!


Hello, big Miami International Airport! I’m glad to see you. And about half an hour sooner than I thought I would have you in sight!

Can you see downtown Miami in the distance near the coast?


Lots and lots and lots of giant airplanes were busy on the field today. Miami is a hub for all sorts of operations from all over the world. Cargo, corporate, and airlines alike use this place as a starting point for their overseas endeavors.


We pulled into the Landmark Aviation FBO to unload our passengers. Security prohibits vehicles on the ramp at this particular airport, so we loaded the luggage on a cart and hauled it inside to load it into their awaiting ride.


Gladys was one of the smallest on the ramp today, but that didn’t stop her from looking her best. What a pretty airplane!


The ramp was full of midsize jets, and all of the big airplanes had to park in the distant ramp. I guess there are lots of benefits to being the small airplane today! We don’t have to walk from clear over there!

And you can see one of the presidential airplanes is here visiting this afternoon.


Once our passengers were safely on their way, it was time to head to the hotel. We passed this gorgeous Dream Lifter airplane made by Boeing. They use this super-modified Boeing 747 to carry giant pieces of Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes from various manufacturing and assembling locations.

Look how huge it is in between an MD-11 and another Boeing 747, which are also huge!

I could probably live inside one of those, too.


I found us a better hotel rate online, since the cheapest hotel through the FBO was over $200 a night. There was some sort of expensive yacht show taking place in Miami this particular week, so all of the hotels hiked up there prices.

Not cool! Who wants to pay $200 a night for a Best Western?!


It was a nice Marriott but was still way more than I prefer to pay when on the road. We were here two nights before leaving Wednesday morning for Virginia.


It was a nice, comfy room. I loved all of the extra space. And I got lots of work done at the desk. Thank goodness these guys didn’t charge for using the internet. We got stuck with that several times during this nine-day trip on the road!

I hate paying for the internet. Hate it! I refuse to do it.


I loved the room view. I could see downtown Miami about ten miles away. It was fun to watch people from the ninth floor, too.


Though I was right next to the freeway, the hotel room was nice and quiet. What a great way to spend a few days on the road!


After a nice flight from home this morning, this was quite a nice thing to see before going to bed tonight. Isn’t that view gorgeous?!

Tomorrow we’ll go exploring in Miami. Hold on to your hats!

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