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Leg 33: Price Co (KPBH) - Antrim Co (KACB)

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It's an early start for this leg, so no rest for the wicked. The low cloud base seems to be following me around North America but today I have an added incentive to get a move on: fog and isolated flurries of snow are expected over Michigan, with the weather expected to hit Antrim around sundown. And is it cold: even the Baton is shivering. But with all systems running the cockpit soon warms up. It's a rude wake up call for the locals and music to my ears as the Bucc flings itself down the runway.

 

Not many friendly waves, so I get airborne sharpish.

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One of the perks of an early start...

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Staying under the clouds, as I don't really want to descend through them coming into Antrim.

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Not that it really works out very well. Halfway across Lake Michigan the weather takes a turn for the worst.

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And it looks no better from the outside. 

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But, true to the forecast, it is relatively clear over Antrim, and I begin to slow the Bucc down for the approach. Then first stage flaps...

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...then it goes wrong. The Bucc begins to roll to the left. I roll it back level but to no avail; the roll to the left resumes as I soon as I let go. The aircraft is still in control but glancing down at the flap indicator I see that it isn't working. A look outside and the problem is confirmed - the flaps on the left have not deployed. 

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I retract the flaps and I'm not going to crash any time soon....but Antrim is too short a runway to land on without flaps. 

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A look at the map reveals an airport with a 11700ft runway not too far away - Oscoda-Wurtsmith. I hope they have mechanics on hand...and maybe a large net.

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On approach and gear down. I hope that runway is long enough as I don't really fancy a swim.

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On final. Crosswind and I'm slewing sideways again, the weather not the only thing to have followed me from Edmonton.

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Anchor out. Wheel breaks squealing fit to burst. And....STOOOOOP!!!! Which it does. Phew.

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I'm lucky and find a mechanic to work on the flaps but the sun is already down by the time I get going again. Could have caught a bus; but the Bucc never admits defeat.

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Finally over Antrim but oh boy...that looks grim.

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A little lower down and the weather looks better, good enough to attempt a landing.

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On final. A smile on my face. Don't know if I'm supposed to enjoy this kind of weather but I really do.

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Looks rock solid; is rock solid. Even my old friend the crosswind doesn't unsettle it.

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And remarkably - a greaser! 

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That's it done then. But, to me at least, this is no mere machine anymore. It broke down, sure, but it came back and rode the storm like a legendary sailing ship of old. As Clarkson would say, cheesy or not  - this Bucc's got soul.

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Over to you Sean.

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Great flight story and pic's. :thum:  Good move staying below the clouds in that beefy looking Buccaneer, after all it was designed for low level flight anyway, right?

I feel sorry for all you guys having to fly in all this cold weather and for that poor baton too. :(

 

shiveringbaton.jpg

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