Woke up at 7:30. Grabbed some breakfast, was ready to go...but had to wait on a couple of the other pilots. Ended up leaving at 8:45 for the airport.
Pre-flighted the airplane, then hopped in. Got the weather, called up ground, taxied to Runway 22, and then hit the skies. A perfectly smooth day. AGAIN. I'll take it.
I loaded up a flight plan to the west and began the 55-mile trek. I ended up getting on station at 9:36 A.M. Right on time. And so began one of the normal days. The simplicity, the monotony, the fun of work. Fly south, fly north, turn, fly south, turn, fly north. Repeat for five hours.
I really didn't have much to look at at all out here. Just trees and open land. Again, northeastern Texas is pretty bland. But they want a map of it, so who am I to argue?!
About two hours into the flight, small clouds started popping up right at my altitude. Quite literally. Just to the west. They were staying out of my way for awhile, but then they started getting in my flight plans. I tried to avoid them as best I could, but they were getting pretty widespread. I finished two plans, then headed back towards the airport.
The skies were much more clear back towards Texarkana, so that worked out well. I flew above the city for the next hour. I had considered landing for gas back around noon, but the closest airport was 20 miles away...to the west. Out of my way. So I just continued flying.
Now, however, at 1:45 P.M., I was watching my fuel gauges pretty intently. They still showed 15 gallons, but I still don't trust them completely. I just don't know this airplane that well yet. I only have about 85 hours in her. I have 52-gallon tanks, and my fuel burn shows 7 gallons an hour, but even then, I don't trust it. Sure enough, a little after 2:00, my anunciator light comes on telling me that the left tank is low. The right tank still shows five gallons more than the right side, but I know that this needle doesn't move for the first hour. So I don't trust it.
I opted to land...a full 30 minutes before the window closed...but a good 5 hours into flying. As I prepared to shut down, my left fuel tank light was still on...and my right tank now showed only 3 gallons...not the 8 that it was showing in the sky. The needle had settled. I had no problem with my decision at all!
Well, scratch that. I did have a problem with my decision...five hours in an airplane is a long time!!! My body was sooooo sore when I got out. I had to pee, I was hungry (four granola bars in the sky for lunch), and I had a little headache after I got out, too. It's just not worth it!!!! I'm definitely opting for landing in the middle of the day from now on. I may lose 30 minutes, but I'll be more refreshed, full, and probably happier!!!
We headed back for the hotel, then went out to Texas Roadhouse for supper...one of my favorites!!! So that was nice.
Came back to the hotel, and the guys decided to swim...I decided to read. I'm reading the biography of Charles Lindbergh...it's long, but it's pretty interesting. That man had so much to do with aviation. I'm enjoyin' it so far.
Went to bed at 11:30. Forecast is for dismal weather tomorrow...low overcast and possible rain. We'll see...