After our short flight from Gulf Shores, Rod Kellogg and I met our passengers at the Innisfree Jet Center FBO in Pensacola, Florida. The Innisfree Jet Center is a unique FBO, complete with waiting rooms, pilot lounges, conference rooms, and even a hotel-style bedroom for overnight crew stays.

A highlight video from our King Air trip is shown below:

We packed up Shrimp Force One, the King Air F90 owned by the Shrimp Basket, and prepped for takeoff to Jonesboro, Arkansas (KJBR), about a 1 hour and 50 minute flight. Rod would handle the takeoff and landing for the flight, since passengers were aboard, and I would take the radios. Below is a video of our takeoff from Pensacola:

We flew the route at 14,500 feet, flying VFR the whole time since it was a great, clear day. Ironically, I had flown a Carbon Cub earlier that day to 15,500 feet – Higher than we flew in the turbine King Air!

Along the route, we were transferred to various ATC Control Centers including: Atlanta Center, Houston Center, and Memphis Center. At one point, we were asked to help relay a message to another aircraft that was having trouble contacting Memphis Center; I radioed over the frequency and gave them the correct frequency to contact center control on. I really enjoyed talking on the radios for the flight – It was much easier than I imagined. Rod gave me a notepad to help with any instructions that ATC gave us, which was a good idea. At first I was a bit apprehensive about the comms work, but it was really fun! Since I hadn’t ever really done en-route, high altitude communications, it was interesting to help with those sorts of communications for our flight.

Below are photos from the flight:

Our flight’s route is show below via CloudAhoy and my iPhone:

Rod and I had the opportunity to tour Memphis Center Control (ATC) later that evening. We flew through their low-altitude, “Old West” control sector, even visiting the exact ATC controller station where we had been monitored and talked to during our flight.

Upon arrival at Jonesboro’s smaller runway, Runway 13, due to favoring wind conditions.  As we entered the pattern, Rod flew as I made position reports. On short final, a flock of birds flew off of the end of the runway. In the video below, you’ll see how close we were to having a bird strike during landing:

After the passengers de-planed, we cleaned up the plane and headed inside to grab our rental car. We then headed off to Memphis to stay overnight and tour the Memphis Center Facility and ATC Tower at KMEM.

Thanks, Rod, for brining me along for the flight. It was great to learn about corporate operations and en-route communications!
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation 

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

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