Flying Across America

Promoting General Aviation

Best of day 1: Dunnellon - Destin

This post is  a summary of today’s flight that took us from Dunnellon (X35) to Destin (KDTS) via Willinston municipal (X60), Daytona Beach (KDAB) and Marianna (KMAI).

Radar display on ForeFlightWe got our fair share of surprises today. It started even before getting to the airport. A short look at ForeFlight weather radar display shown thunderstorm activity over the gulf of Mexico, quite close to the panhandle. Close to our route as well.Quite strange for this time of day… More on this later.

The first leg of the day was Dunnellon - Daytona Beach. Why starting towards east to fly across America? Because we want to make this flight a real coast-to-coast flight.

The second surprise was waiting for us right at Dunnellon airport - the 100LL fuel pump was out of service. There was not enough fuel left in N512R’s tanks to fly all the way to Daytona beach, so we first flew to Willinston Municipal airport to get some fuel, and then to Daytona beach.

After a short stop there, we flew along the beach for a while before flying across the peninsula. When coasting out for the short part of the flight above the gulf, we had two more surprises, unfortunately two bad ones. We could spot the oil spill, patches of oil approaching the coast are clearly visible, even from 6.5oo feet.

Oil spill in the gulf of Mexico

Then we had to cope with the weather that we had seen on ForeFlight before. Some thunderstorms over the gulf and in the Tallahassee area forced us to divert towards North and we had to land to buy some extra-fuel.

We landed in Marianna airport, bought a few gallons of fuel and took-off again towards Destin. The PR team at DestinJet was waiting for us with one of their flight instructor and a press photographer. They even treated us with a carpet at our aircraft’s door. After 5h25 flying, we enjoyed DestinJet’s facilities a lot. Their pilot lounge is incredibly comfortable and the whole team there was really sweet with us.

DestinJet

After that, they drove us to the hotel in which they booked rooms for us, which is really close the beach. We enjoyed that shortly before getting back to the hotel to work on posting here, tweeting, sharing with you on facebook, editing video, and preparing tomorrow’s stop in Baton Rouge. By the way, thanks for all your tweets. We loved the tweets from those of you following our flight progression online.

We went out for great dinner with DestinJet’s team and it’s now time to get some rest. We’ll post more during the coming days, there’s so much to share from this adventure. Expect videos to be online very soon.

One last great thing, which is not really a surprise: we worked as a crew today. This is one incredible thing about aviation. We come from different continents, speak different languages, have different cultures and despite all that we work together well - because we’re both pilots. Aviation creates understanding, friendship and solidarity. This is it.

Flying Across America on Destin's beach

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