Leg 2: Go West

Flight Date: April 29, 2017

Aiming for the mountains.

Goal: Cody, WY

Departure: CKP

Destination: RAP (or, more affectionately known as KRAP)

Engine on: 4:00 PM CDT

Hobbs: 2.4

Gallons: 28.5

Distance: 337 nm

Our second leg of the day was as mild as they can get, particularly in contrast with the uncertainty we faced leaving Nashville.  We cruised at 8500 ft and marveled at the flatness of the country below.   We soon crossed the Missouri river, which  got our attention not only for its size, but because a controller was able to see us again in his radar after losing us for some miles.

Crossing the Missouri river.

Further down our path we encountered multiple contrasting sights.  One of them was the White River, a name clearly explained in the picture below.

The white White River curled for a while on our right.

Another one consisted of interesting canyon-like formations.  Again, the one below was hard to capture in camera, but you can get the idea.

Canyon-like formations in South Dakota

On this route we still had a tailwind, which brought us faster than planned to Rapid City.  By the time we arrived to the terminal area, it was about 5:30 PM (we switched time zones to mountain time), and as we pondered whether to continue to Cody, we concluded that we would have better FBO services and a better chance of finding a cheap hotel, or any hotel at all, if we spent the night in Rapid City.  We thus planned to make our landing the last one of the day.

Landing on runway 32 at KRAP

As we were coming in for landing, Rapid City tower informed us that an emergency was under way and that we needed to circle around downwind while the emergency aircraft landed.  It turned out to be an F-15 (I think), with which we shared the pattern for a few seconds.  After they landed we followed behind and called it a day.  You can see the guilty plane in the back.  It’s the one with the sheepish look due to being unable to hold its temperature.

One of those forced us into a 360 in the pattern

After 6.4 hours of flying, we were ready to head into town.  We explored downtown Rapid City, where we found Delmonico Grill.  Our steaks were a great end to a very exciting flying day.  The night ended with the hotel-provided shuttle taking us to our first night away from home.  We went to bed early in preparation for the following days’ flight, one which would take us over the highest pass in our journey.


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