Aviation Meet-up in Phoenix

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.

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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

-Aviator_Ryan

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Great read, thanks…

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Your welcome. I plan on releasing more of the trip later.

-Aviator_Ryan

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Great write up. Who is Dillon? :thinking:

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My look-a-like brother haha

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that would be me. i am his look alike

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Here is part 2 of this story. This is the main day so it is quite the read. If you want to check out the other blogs, fill free to click here.

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Welcome to part two of three of our aviation meet-up in Phoenix, Arizona. Part one was all about the travelling my brother and I did and that days events. If you have not checked out that part yet, please go check that out before reading this.

Day 2: After a good night’s rest, it was Saturday, January 5th, 2019 and day two of the three day meet up for Dillon and I. We woke up around 10 am local time and I texted my buddies who were in the room across from us to see if they had woken up. Surely enough, they had and were about to go downstairs. I texted then back and told them that we were gonna be down in ten to fifteen minutes. They said that they would wait on us downstairs. Surely enough, it only took us ten minutes and we were downstairs.

Once all downstairs, we all decided to ride the train over to the airport to meet up with the rest of our crew. Getting to the Phoenix Sky Train was a very simple task. All we had to do was cross the street and ride some to the waiting area. Once we got to the waiting area, we waited two minutes for the train. Once the train pulled in, we got on and rode the train to the terminal four parking garage. While riding it, we all talked about aviation and flying and how our careers are going. The train ride was a very short five minutes and upon getting to terminal four, we exited the train and went downstairs.

Now, that might seem like that’s it, but in fact we still had to get to the terminal four parking garage. Getting to the “staging”area was not hard at all. Coming off the train, we just walked through a massive hallway and across to the other side of the terminal to the elevators that would take us up to level eight. Upon reaching level eight, we walked to the southwest side (literally where Southwest Airlines parks) and met up with the rest of our crew. The rest of the crew included: Jake Youngs, Chuck Dart, Joe VanReeth, Derin Allerd. Johan Illena, Cody Downey, Dillon, myself, Jadan Fields and Cliff Leftridge. We plane spotted for a while and saw everything from a tiny CRJ to an Airbus A330-300. While we were plane spotting, we had our aviation scanners going so we can listen to the tower and figure out what plane was taking off.

After plane spotting for an hour or so, we decided to go back into the terminal and get something to eat. We got back into the same elevator that took us up to level eight of the parking garage back down into the terminal. When we got back on level three of the terminal, we all went our own ways to get some food at the restaurants that Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport has to offer. Most of us went and got chicken strip and french fries because that sounded good. We all get our food and sit a one of the big tables that is open. We talk for another hour to another hour and a half before once again heading out and continuing with the day.

The next stop for the day after eating lunch was the new south concourse and terminal three. We rode the train over to terminal three and then walked from the train station to the bottom of terminal three. Once in terminal three, we walked all the way through the terminal to the elevator and that took us to the top of that parking garage. Once getting to the top of the parking garage, we set up a spotting location on the south side of the parking garage and spotted arrivals and departures off of 7L and 7R. Once again, Jake and I had our aviation scanners going so we could listen to all of the arrivals and departures. While we were up there, we took our group photo. Luckily for us, the control tower was our backdrop which made for a pretty neat group photo. After out group photo in front of the control tower, we all went back to plane spotting. As soon as we get done with our group photo, Jake informs us that a Delta Boeing 757 is about to leave from the gate. Jake, myself, Cody and Johan all run to the north side of the airport so we can see the Delta 757 push and takeoff. We rush over there and see it push back and start to taxi and just admire the sound of the engines and how sexy the plane looks. We all figure it will be taxing to runway 7L for departure like it usually does, but it instead taxied down to runway 8. We were all disappointed but once it was taking off we all became quiet so we can hear the roar of the jet engines. Once that left, we returned to the rest of our crew and just started talking. As soon as we got back to the south side, we see and hear a flight of four Stearman aircraft doing a low approach on runway 7R. That was cool to see. Shortly thereafter, I started to do some interviews for the youtube channel. I interviewed Cody Downey and Jadan Fields. That took about half hour or so to do. After that, we did not do much except plane spot for a little bit. Around 5pm local time, we left the terminal three parking garage and walked back down through terminal three and back up to the train. We got on the train back to terminal four so we can eat.

Once we got back to terminal four, we headed back downstairs into the main part of the terminal to eat dinner as a group. We decided to eat at Chelsea’s Kitchen. There was around a dozen of us when we went to go eat. Unfortunately, a few of those people had to bounce because they had to start there trip back home. Upon arriving at Chelsea’s Kitchen, we presented our leader and CEO, Cliff Leftridge, a present for everything he has done with the group. His present was a picture frame of a Fedex Boeing 767 landing while a Fedex Boeing 757 holds short of the runway. Around the picture was “Cliffisims” or Cliff sayings. Dillon and Jake presented that gift to him and I think everyone saw some tears. After that, we ordered our food and two other people, Brandon and Caleigh Richardson joined us. They are brother and sister and fly for Ameriflight on the Embraer E-120. They joined us and got some food as well. We ate and talked for a goof two plus hours. Nothing substantial happened during those two hours except a lot of aviation and personal talk. At around 7pm local time, we headed out of the restaurant and decided what to do next. We decided to go back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel where most of the non Pheonix locals where staying. We broke off into two groups and went back to the hotel.

Upon getting to the hotel, we went to the bar “area” and the ones that were old enough got drinks and the rest of just chilled and continued to talk about aviation. We spent another two hours sitting in the bar “area” talking about aviation and life. We had three people ask us what our group, Blue Skies and A Tailwind, was about. The first person to ask us what it was about was a Southwest captain who is famous on instagram by the name: @captainselfie1. He asked about out group and we told him. He asked how how many people flew in and those of us that did, he asked what airline. When it got to my turn, I said SOuthwest and he asked out of where and I said Little Rock. He then told everyone that has an instagram to follow him so we all did that had one and he followed all of us back. The next person to ask what the group was about was a corporate pilot flying for some major gas corporation. He told us that his daughter was flying and how he got into which was cool. The last person to ask what the group was about came later on in the night when a new private pilot of North Dakota stopped by and asked what our group was. We told him about it and he joined the group on the spot. He sat down and told us how he got started in aviation. At around 10:30 PM local time, all of us non Phoenix locals started heading back to our rooms while the Phoenix locals went to there cars and drove home. Not much happened after that as well all went our respective ways and went to bed for our flights in the morning.

This concludes part 2 of the Blue Skies and A Tailwind Meet-up blog. Be sure to come back to the last and final part, part 3 were Dillon and I unfortunately have to leave Phoenix.

Part 3, the final part of this series, will be released next week. Hope you enjoy!

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What are you talking about?

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This post obviously !!

My post was related to the topic. Part one was the first part of the story in the main post so I just put part 2 in the thread…

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Just to let you know it is allowed, as it is part 2 of the story.

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Thank you! I didn’t know adding a second part to my story was gonna be a big deal

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After a two week break, part 3 of 3 of my trip to Phoenix for an aviation meet up is live. You can read it here:http://greenebrothersflying.weebly.com/flight-experiences/blue-skies-and-a-tailwind-meet-up-part-3.

Enjoy.

Also stay tuned for an exciting announcement in the next few days!

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