Monday, January 27, 2014

Flying Over a Snowy Richmond, Virginia

It's been a pretty relaxing week for students in Richmond. We were out of school for Martin Luther King Day on Monday, had a snow day on Tuesday, had a snow day on Wednesday, and had a one hour delay on Thursday... all for around 2 inches of snow! At my school, that left us with a 2 day school week, not bad! Public schools were even luckier, they got every day off from school this week in addition to their exams being outright cancelled. Two of my step brothers will never have to take their Semester 1 exams! 

It lightly snowed throughout the day and night on Tuesday. After some sledding with friends Wednesday morning, I called up the airport to see if N16HV would be available later in the day, I wanted to fly over the snow for the first time! Luckily, the forecast showed the winds dying down to about 6 knots around 3:30pm, so I scheduled a flight from 4-5pm. 

I was basically the only one at the airport since earlier in the day the winds had been gusting to about 20kts, so most people had gone home. The one active flight on field was Bombardier Challenger-600 N39RE. That CL-600 is one of the larger planes that operates out of Hanover KOFP, so it was pretty cool to see it take off right in front of the hangar. Here's a photo of the plane getting ready on the ramp: 

The plan for the day was simple, practice steep turns and pattern work (landings and takeoffs). The engine was running for around an hour, but I probably only had about 65% of that time being in the air. It took a long time to heat up that cold engine! Flying over the fresh snow was a really cool experience. You could look down into fields and see tracks made by people, animals, etc. There was definitely more glare, I was sad to have forgotten my sunglasses! 

In the videos below, you can see the runway condition which wasn't too bad. The Eaglet climbed like a rocket because it was so cold and dense outside. With the winds coming directly down runway 34, there were some smooth landings. More videos like these can be found on my Youtube Channel, MartinsAviation1.

A full article will come soon on this topic, but I tried out the app/website CloudAhoy for the first time. It's an extremely simple system to use. You create an account, pay a small yearly fee, and get to map out all of your flight paths in 3D using your iPhone's built in GPS. Within the site, your flight (including altitude) is loaded onto a 3D Google Earth Map. There is even a feature where you can replay the "cockpit view" of your flight. Check out my route of flight for the day (*note, I turned on the app halfway through the flight, so the first half including takeoff is not shown on the map): 

Overall, I really enjoyed flying over a snowy RVA this week. It was definitely cold, but a great experience. 

Thanks for reading and watching,
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation


  1. Great photos and vids, Swayne! I'm especially impressed w/the 3D Google maps of the flights! Great idea!

    1. Thanks! It's amazing how much technology allows me to document my training!

      -Swayne Martin


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Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin