Round-Trip Angel Flight to Memphis

Weather can postpone a lot of things, but it doesn’t stop people from needing help to travel to receive medical treatments!

On this Monday morning, I had volunteered with Angel Flight Soars to pick up a patient in the Memphis area and fly her back to the Atlanta area for cancer treatment. Although the weather may not have been ideal for a joy ride, this flight was a necessity. A cold front was passing through the southeast, which was causing low ceilings, scattered rain showers, and the winds were picking up. I arranged for an IFR clearance on the ground and took off into the clouds. To my surprise, the first layer of clouds was very thin and I was above the mess within just a few miles of departing.

Although I had stiff headwind of almost 30 knots, the ride was smooth at 6000 feet and I was able to stay above most of clouds. I did catch up with the main front of clouds just after I passed the Birmingham area and spent a good bit of time flying through hard IMC, with no visual sight of the sky or the ground. Oddly enough, just as I was approaching Memphis area, I began to see some breaks in the clouds and the ceilings were a litter higher than when I departed Atlanta. I was vectored in for the localizer approach and descended through the clouds, eventually making an uneventful landing, in spite of a crosswind that was 11 knots, with gusts up to 17.

Cloud Deck

After a brief stop on the ground and a fill-up, I met Patricia, loaded up her bags, and filed my flight plan for the return trip home. The weather in Memphis had improved, but the weather back at our final destination was getting a little worse, since the front had made a little more progress east. After the departure, I climbed up to a final altitude of 7000 feet and was able to take advantage of the same winds that slowed me down on my initial trip. With the winds now coming from behind me, the trip home would be much faster and was expected to reduce my flight time by as much as an hour. I was able to fly above the clouds until just prior to me crossing the Georgia state line. After flying through a few rising clouds, Atlanta Center transferred me over to Atlanta Approach and they started me down on my descent into the Atlanta area.

I was cleared direct for a GPS approach into my destination and was in and out of the clouds until the final approach, where we broke out of the clouds at about 2500 feet AGL. After a smooth landing, I helped Patricia with her bags and assisted her with arranging a ride to the hospital.

Patricia and I

I get so much enjoyment from being able to give back and help someone in need. Patricia was a fantastic passenger and even made the comment that she doesn’t particularly like flying, but she really enjoyed the flight. Going forward, it will be my pleasure to be the angel pilot that she can depend on whenever she needs me.

If you, or anyone you know could benefit from the services of Angel Flight Soars, please reach out to them and see if they can help you as well. If you are not in their geographic territory, they will be more than happy to refer you to a smiliar agency that might be able to help in your area.