After arrival, Sherry had the tanks topped off, then mentioned that it would be nice to fly VFR up toRutherford County airport. She said that they "have a pretty good reputation for food," and it was getting close to lunch, so I happily agreed to landing there.
Once we were all strapped in,Sherry began the procedure for a hot-start, and 4SG cranked with a few turns of the propeller. Those G1000 units lit up after a few moments. I was amazed at the incredible abundance of information to behold. Though she is still getting used to operation of the G1000, she seemed like a pro from my vantage point. The aircraft has a castering nosewheel, so as we began to taxi, she would "bump" the brakes a bit in the direction she wanted the plane to head. Not her favorite aspect of the ground handling.
We aligned with runway 27, pushed the throttle forward, and we were soon lifting off the strip at 75 kts, and continued to gain both airspeed and altitude at an impressive 1300 ft./min. We acheived cruise altitude in no time at that rate. The heading was almost directly north to KFQD, so we flew toward Laurens, then over Spartanburg, and then started our decent into Rutherfordton. The flight took a little over 30 minutes, and I would have not expected any less with such a fast plane. On our arrival, Sherry used the speed brakes to dirty up the airflow over the wings just enough to get a good decent rate without causing too much shock cooling to the engine.
The landing was a little on the bumpy side, and Sherry was embarrased about doing that, but I told her not to worry about it, as I have experienced much worse in the past. We taxied to the ramp and hopped out, heading to the FBO to speak to the people inside. Then we walked over to57 Alpha Cafe to eat. We were greeted by the resident cook, who just so happened to own the joint. The house specialty is his Mexican food, but he has the traditional stuff too. Sherry took him up on the Mexican and ordered Nachos, but I decided to have a genuine $100 hamburger. During lunch, the FBO owner, Greg Turner, and his father sat next to us and we enjoyed good aviation conversation.
After lunch, we climbed back into 4SG for the trip back to Greenwood. As we were taxiing, we were greeted by a very nice redPitts Special who took position #1 for departure. After waiting for a Piper Warrior to arrive, the Pitts took to the air, and we were next up. We left Rutherfordton with a high performance climb, and were at cruise altitude moments later. The Appalachian mountains were too our west, and looked fantastic! The flight back took a bit longer due to a slight headwind, but still seemed to only take a matter of minutes.
We did a precision GPS approach into runway 27, but the G1000s are not WAAS-enabled just yet, so we didn’t have a glideslope to follow. Visibilty was not a problem, so it was no problem flying in by hand once we had the field in sight. Sherry set her down on the runway, and taxied over to the FBO so that I could get out and bid her adieu. She then took to the skies once again to return home to Asheville.
What a great day for flying – it certainly was, Sherry! Thank you!