LBB Family Adventure

With my mom only minutes away from Town & Country Airport in Lubbock, it makes sense from a pilot perspective to fly in to the small strip for a weekend visit. Renting a small airplane is expensive and adds its own complications, but the big payoff is more time with my mom. Here's how our travel options compare:


From Dallas to Lubbock
*Varies. Renters charge minimum flight hours, usually fuel cost included/reimbursed. C172 is about $145/hr 
Short distance + long time = expensive

Learning from our past adventures, we gave the kids Dramamine, had games for them to play, a nap pillow (inflatable), and extra barf bags just in case. Luckily, there was no puking this trip. Just emergency peeing in a bottle.

My mom did us supreme by renting a Jeep to pick us up then get around town in. Parking the plane is free if we pay for gas, which we need to do anyway.

The original master plan was for me to fly us to Lubbock in the 172 and for Rusty to fly us home. However, I have fallen out of practice landing the 172 in crosswinds. The last several times I touched down on one wheel before the other or came down a bit hard. It was decided Rusty would fly us. Although I absolutely love to fly, I was at peace with this.

Captain Rusty & Co-Captain Sarah
Elliot killing pigs & Joshua asking me to stop taking pictures
We flew in a Cessna equipped with a Garmin 1000 and an autopilot making the journey super easy. We were cleared to fly directly over DFW airport. Major commercial airplanes were landing below us. I had an awesome picture of DFW and a commercial flight landing below us, but those pictures are MIA.  :-(

Once we were out of the busy DFW airspace, we climbed to 6500 feet where we met 25-30 knot headwinds. We played with Garmin's engine assist feature to lean the mixture. I got it leaned to 8.4 then later we leaned it even more to 7.7 gallons per hour. The headwinds were making me nervous. We had enough fuel to get there but we were touching the yellow warning mark at arrival.

I found the airport...

"Do you have the airport in site?"
"Looking."
"It's right there- almost under the nose."
"Oh shoot, I need to turn!"

...Rusty did a good landing.

We filled it up with fuel and emptied out our luggage. Mom picked us up and away we went for our weekend visit.

Although Rusty wanted to return Sunday afternoon, there was no chance of it. High winds directly crossing the runway kicked up dust causing marginal visibility. We hung out for one more day (yay!) and spent time with friends.

Monday morning we packed up, said our good-byes then prepared to go.

Then the propeller wouldn't budge.

Rusty tried a few more times, adjusting mixture, throttle, fuel pump, no fuel pump, turn the key- click click.

It was the battery gone kaput.

I called the place we rented from for guidance then located someone at the airport to jump the battery. No, it's not like a car with another airplane hooked up. I assume it's a battery or generator contraption. The guy that showed up to help us decided it would be faster for him to hand crank the prop than to rig a 24 volt battery to jump us. After about 6-8 nerve wracking turns and a few false ka-chugs, it finally started! Images of lost limb with blood splattering the windshield and boys scarred for life melted with relief as he backed away and waved us good-bye.

Thank you Dan!!!

Rusty's voice was lost from a recent cold so I handled radios for a little bit until he got it back loud enough. Enroute to Dallas, we had almost no wind to contend with so we made good time. Although we were tempted to climb to 7500 feet to take advantage of better winds, Rusty decided to just chill at 5500. We knew Addison was reporting haze and we could see it like a cloud on the land.
Somewhere between Lubbock and Addison
Traffic much?
The boys both had to pee on the way home. This time I was more prepared having a Vitamin water bottle. (wider opening, sturdier structure)

In all it was a good flight both legs and I don't regret being Rusty's co-pilot for a moment. Yeah sure I love to fly, but this time I got to take pictures and relax!

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