Sherry, Larry, the Red Bearon, Ms. Ellie and all of our web page readers completed their 'Round the World flying adventure precisely at 1:30 on a sunny Saturday afternoon. A reception party of family and friends welcomed them as they landed at the Melbourne Airport.
The weather all along the flight path was excellent. However, there were major buildups in every other area. The aircraft has a very neat Weather Data Link to complement its radar. It shows rain showers and thunderstorms exactly like the Weather Channel or your computer. Rain is green, heavy rain is yellow, and red--you just don't go there. It works only in the continental US but that was not a problem on this leg.
The coast is not so clear!
The last leg was quite enjoyable! The significance of the flight was noted on our flight plan and many of the air traffic controllers added their congratulations along the way. We had mixed emotions, however. Although it would be nice to be home again, we were also reluctant for the journey to be over.
We had told our friends we would arrive at 1:30 and it was a challenge to see how close we could be to that exact time. Although the GPS indicates the estimated time of arrival on its screen, there are many variables which considerably affect an aircraft before it reaches its destination. As these factors played their hands, the ETA alternated between early and late several times. Finally, at approximately 100 miles from Melbourne, we thought we had a good handle on it and, with about a 5 minute margin, started to slow the Baron slightly.
A variable on which we had not planned was that the air traffic controllers would "help" us by giving us more direct headings. Every shortcut deducted several minutes from the flight. Each time we would react by slowing the aircraft slightly to compensate. When the final controller cut 2 of the last corners from our approach, we could not safely slow any further and touched down 3 minutes ahead of schedule. It all worked out, however, because the taxi to the ramp was completed in 3 minutes and we blocked in exactly at 1:30. We are lucky that way!
Great to be home again!
Any excuse for a party!
An exceptional welcome!
The journey was all we had thought it would be--and more. The scenery around the world is spectacularly beautiful. Each country is uniquely different with its own special attraction. People everywhere were very friendly toward us. We would be happy to go back to any of the 17 countries visited--but there still are so many others we have not seen.
We spent 146 hours in the air and covered more than 28,000 statute miles. The two longest legs were 2420 and 2472 miles over nothing but water. They took 13.7 and 12.5 hours, respectively, due to varied winds.
There were some glitches along the way but it would not have been an adventure if everything had gone smoothly. We thank all the people around the world who worked to make this such a memorable flight and, also, all of those who offered prayers for our safety. We could not have completed the trip without you.
In the final analysis, we proved Columbus right--The earth is round. And proved Disney wrong--It is not a small world after all.