It takes over two hours to drive to downtown St. Louis from my home base. The Cherokee Six will get me there in 45 minutes. A last-minute party plan came up for Saturday. The party would start at 6:30 and probably run until midnight. I didn’t want a two hour drive ahead of me. Driving can put me to sleep, especially if I have noone to talk to, but if I’m in the left seat of an airplane…I’m wide awake.
The weather looked great, clear skies, calm wind, and decent visibility — there’s always haze here in the humid summer. I paid special attention to the threat of fog in the cool, clear nights. Thursday and Friday nights both had fog, but it was in the forecast. Visibility dipped to as low as 3/4 mile, way too low for VFR flight. When the TAF’s for Saturday night came out, there was no mention of fog. With a go from weather, the flight was on.
A new passenger was arranged, no worries there. We pulled the airplane out of the hangar and fired it up. Light crosswind on takeoff, no big deal, and we climbed away. Dodged a few clouds around 4,500 and headed to cruise at 6,500. The cool 67 degree air was a welcome refresher from the 90+ on the ground.
Watching the GPS closely for the St. Louis class B airspace line. We’re approaching from the Southeast, basically along the approach to runways 30L and 30R at STL, so the first block of class B is 30 miles from STL from 3,500 to 8,000. My plan is to call up approach and request a class B transition inbound to our destination, Creve Coeur Airport (1H0), only seven miles Southwest of STL.
36 miles out and clean frequency.
St. Louis Approach, Cherokee one five four one x-ray.
Approach: Cherokee 1541X, St. Louis Approach.
Approach, Cherokee four one x-ray 35 miles Southeast, inbound Creve Coeur, request transition.
Cherokee four one x-ray, squawk 0244 and ident.
I set the transponder to 0244 and pressed the ident button.
Some radio traffic with other aircraft ensued, all the while we’re creeping closer to the class B line. I should mention for non-pilots, that with class B airspace, you must have clearance to enter it – not just radio communication as with other types of airspace. When I was only 32 miles from STL, a mere 2 miles from the line, he called me back.
Cherokee 1541x, ident for me again, please.
I pressed the button and acknowledged on the frequency.
Cherokee 1541x, radar contact, cleared into the class bravo airspace, descend and maintain 3,500.
Decend and maintain 3,500, four one x-ray.
Some heat at the lower altitude wasn’t as pleasant as 6,500 had been, but it wasn’t bad. A few more minutes and I was given a decent to 3,000 and asked to call the airport in sight.
Having never been to Creve Coeur before, it took a few minutes for me to locate the runway. I called approach and reported the airport in sight. I was asked to maintain my squawk until I landed, but to switch to the CTAF for 1H0.
Landing at 1H0 was uneventful, no one else in the pattern, and little wind to speak of. I floated a bit on the flare, but no bad. The 4,500 runway was more than enough space.
A few guys were flying radio-controlled airplanes on the taxiway, but were well out of my way as they saw me land. We parked the Cherokee, and ended up moving it into a freed T when a 140 left.
The flight home that night went about the same, St. Louis approach was excellent to deal with and didn’t vector me at all out of my way. A good night flight direct to MWA and a pretty nice night landing.
We tucked the Six away in the hangar. What a way to have a party…cut the 5 hours of driving and replace it with 2.0 in the Six and some class B airspace to boot!