At the beginning of this year, I had the chance to go out to Phoenix, Arizona for an aviation meetup. It was five days but I could only attend Friday and Saturday. While I could only attend two days, I still had a blast eating and nerding out with my fellow aviation enthusiasts. Down below is the first part (Day 1) of what we did and my journey getting there.
Blue Skies and A Tailwind Meetup 2019
This past weekend, Dillon and I had the opportunity to go out to Phoenix, Arizona to meet up with a whole bunch of aviation enthusiasts ranging from airline pilots, to spotters, to rampers, to student pilots. The meetup was from January 3rd to January 7th, 2019. Unfortunately, Dillon and I could only stay from January 4th through January 6th.
Friday Jan 4th: Fly day! It is 6:30AM and Dillon and I had just woken up. We finish packing up our carry-ons and then head out to the car. It is now 6:45AM, and we are leaving this house. We plan on an hour and a half drive since it is a Friday morning. We get on the free and to or surprise it is fairly empty for a Friday morning. We get up to speed and drive to the airport. After a 40 minute drive, we arrive at the airport and park the car. Parking the car was fairly easy as there was plenty of spots on level 2. Upon parking, we got out luggage out and walked across the walkway into the main terminal. From there, we went down an escalator and passed the luggage claim area and then back up the escalator to the TSA security checkpoint. Upon reaching the checkpoint, we enter the security line and went through it within fifteen minutes. Upon getting past security, we went all the way down to the end of the terminal to our gate, gate 11. After finding our gate and putting out stuff down, I went to back down the terminal hallway to go find some breakfast for Dillon and I. I found Starbucks and of course had to get it. I got there “cotton candy” drink with a sausage and egg biscuit and Dillon got apple juice with a sausage and egg biscuit. After getting breakfast, we just chilled at the gate and waited for our plane. Our plane arrived at Gate 11 around 10am local and we boarded around 10:45 am. Boarding was smooth and we were on a Boeing 737-700 in the “Heart” livery. Shortly thereafter, we pushed back from gate 11 and taxied to runway 22R. We held short of the runway for quite some for some arriving and departing traffic (C130s). After a short delay, we thundered down runway 22R and were on our way to Phoenix in a matter of seconds. On departure, the forecast was not the best. We had scattered clouds at 800 feet and overcast clouds at 1,200 feet. We reached the overcast layer quick and to my surprise, it was a very thick overcast layer. We broke out of that overcast layer at around 8,000 feet. It was about a 7,000 foot overcast layer. After that, not much happened as we all settled in for the two hour and forty-five minute to Phoenix. About thirty minutes from landing, we started our descent into Phoenix. Soon after, we touched down on Phoenix Airport’s runway 8 and taxied to the south part of terminal 4. Upon reaching the gate, our friends texted Dillon and I and told us that they are gonna meet us at the “D” security checkpoint. We texted them back and them we would be there in about twenty minutes. The people ahead of us took forever to get off the plane and when we finally got off the plane, we both had to use the restroom. Once all of that was done, we went back to the “D” gates and exited the secure area. Waiting there, was out friends and we all decided to get some food. Dillon and I get chicken strips and fries while everyone else gets there food. We sit and talk while we eat about planes. We talk and sit for about an hour until we meet up with the CEO of the group, Cliff Leftridge. He was coming off of his flight so we met him at the “B” gates. Upon meeting him, we chit chatted and finally made a plan of action for the rest of the day. The plan was as followed: To get another rental car for the day so all the Friday night guys could hangout. We get the rental car and we all end up driving over to Cliff’s place to hangout. We hangout for forty-five or so minutes then make our way to eat. The choice of dinner was, In-N-Out. We drive fifeteen minutes to In-N-Out and then everyone orders food. At first, only seven of us showed up but shortly there after we added another person. We ate burgers and talked shop for quite some time and then headed to our next destination, the Phoenix Zoo.
At the Phoenix Zoo, we decided to do the Zoo Lights. You might ask, what are Zoo lights? Zoo Lights is just what the Phoenix Zoo calls itself when they add Christmas lights throughout the zoo and people can walk and see the lights. Of the original eight of us who started, only five of us remained. We walked through the zoo for an hour or so.
After that we headed back to the rental car and drove back to the hotel to get some rest. Dillon and I stayed up later than most of the other guys because we had two friends that were coming in in a Beechcraft Bonanza and we wanted to talk to them. At 12:30am on Saturday, they finally arrive at the hotel everyone else is staying at. The two people we are waiting for are a private pilot and the other one is a regional airline pilot. We talk for about an hour and after that hour is up, they leave to there room (which is across the hall) and we sleep and get ready for Saturday…
This ends Part 1 of the Blue Skies and A Tailwind blog. Stay tuned for part 2 as we talk about the main event day, Saturday, January 5th, 2019.
If you want to read the past blogs or check out the most recent videos, check out our website here:http://greenebrothersflying.weebly.com/flight-experiences