13 April 1987

Thunderstorms and a "new" 210

Glenn Miller, Rob and I were to fly a Cherokee 180 from Middletown to Memphis, Tennessee and back. The mission was twofold. First this trip would be Glenn's student cross-country, with me as his instructor. Second there was a Cessna Turbo 210 in Memphis that was for sale. Rob just went along for the ride.

Because of lowering clouds and visibility, we landed at Murray, Kentucky to recheck the weather. By the time we departed, a line of thunderstorms was developing southwest of Memphis moving northeast. It was going to be a close race. Would we get to Memphis before the thunderstorms? Fortunately we won the race by five minutes.

Thirty minutes later the line of thunderstorms had passed. After examining the
Cessna, we walked over to the Flight Service Station. We told them we wanted to return to Middletown that evening. They just laughed at us. Their radar showed that the line of thunderstorms we had beat to Memphis was now between us and our destination. It was thirty miles wide and hundreds of miles long. No light aircraft pilots in their right minds would even try to fly through it. And there was no way around it.

Glenn was forced to fork out the big bucks, and fly home commercial. His wife had just been admitted to the hospital with a kidney stone. Rob and I chose to spend another night together. (Remember Louisville, October 31, 1985?)

The following day I flew the 1978 Cessna Turbo 210. It only had 200 hours on the engine, 1200 hours on the airframe. The exterior and interior were in very good condition. The combination of turbo-charged engine and factory oxygen would permit flights up to 25,000 feet. Its weather radar would help us avoid thunderstorms. It had deicing equipment for the wings, propeller and windshield. My memory of the icing incident at Patrick Henry (December 29, 1983) was still vivid.

With this plane I could fly through almost anything. I wanted it! The call letters of the 210 were 400WB. My street address was '400' and WB were my initials reversed. Most important Liz approved the blue and white color scheme. I made a down payment and we returned home without incident. Ten days later the plane was mine.

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