DAY 2 National Championships at Ohio State University
On Friday morning we awoke to 30 knot winds and overcast skies. The plan was to fly 412 miles from Shawnee OK to Metropolis IL. The stay in Metropolis allowed the team to spend the night in a home owned by Flight Team Coach Mat Belden – an SDCC graduate and former team captain. The forecast called for clouds along the route and thunderstorms along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers near Paducah Kentucky – which is exactly where we were going. It started out smooth and clear above the clouds at 11,000 feet but several hours in to the flight it was clear the forecast was bearing out. The Cessna with Paul Martin and John Crotts planned a fuel stop in Branson MO. The other 4 planes went non-stop to Metropolis, planning to fly an instrument approach into Paducah KY to get below the clouds.
Metropolis had made the national news in recent weeks for flooding. The area had received over 350% of its normal rainfall. Luckily – and in direct answer to prayer that the clouds be parted – all but one of the planes were able to fly around the leading storms to the north by Cape Girardeau MO, and circle back to land at Metropolis in clear weather. N5291E was delayed 30 minutes due to the fuel stop and we watched them arrive just ahead of a giant storm dropping horizontal rain amidst claps of thunder and streaks of lightning.
But we got the planes secured against the wind and within an hour we were all safe and dry in Mr. Belden's home. The team enjoyed Pizza, compliments of the Belden's and concluded the evening with a prayer of thanksgiving and debrief of the day's flying. We then made our plans for Saturday's concluding leg to OSU and got everyone to bed early.
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