Estelle Lands at Her Birthplace
It has been 60 years since Estelle rolled off the assembly line at Cessna in Wichita and today she made a triumphant homecoming. Cessna have since moved their piston production to Independence Kansas so Estelle shared the ramp with many Ciatation Jets but I could tell she was happy to be home.
On our third day of the adventure to Oshkosh our flight path took us from Roswell New Mexico to West Woodward Oklahoma for fuel and finally onto Wichita for a tour of the Cessna Factory.
Another 6am alarm started the morning, with sleep in our eyes we headed for the Roswell airport without ever spotting an alien or UFO, maybe next time. The people at Great Southwest Aviation treated us well and soon we were on our way. Again, the weather was perfect, we would be fools to ask for anything better. We climbed to our cruising altitude of 7500 feet and pointed the nose Northeast. Along the way we saw the typical midwest landscape, mostly flat with green crop circles, miles and miles of straight dirt roads and train tracks as far as the eye could see. It wasn’t long into the flight before we witnessed an aerial treat, from 7500 feet we circled and watched a crop duster doing his work, pass after pass mere feet above the crops with aggressive climbing turns to lineup for the next pass. After a couple minutes we headed back on course though I could have watched this crop duster dance for hours. The flight time on this leg was 2.5 hours which gave us plenty of time to take in the midwest landscape. One thing I noticed was how many wind turbine generators there were dotting the landscape, good or bad they sure are putting a lot of these things up.
It was around 11am when we landed in West Woodward Oklahoma and as we taxied in I noticed 3 guys sitting on what looked to be a front porch for the FBO. When I stepped out of our airplane the guys greeted me with “Great Landing” and “Nice Airplane”. The guys were very nice, my landing wasn’t great but what the heck, I’ll take the compliment. We only stayed at this stop long enough to get fuel and water and we were on our way.
Another 1.5 hours went by before we were on approach to Wichita Mid-Continent airport. As has been my luck the last several days, the winds had come up and were not even close to runway direction. I did what was necessary and made the proper corrections and we were safely on the ground, add two more grey hairs for that one. James Nelson took us on a great tour of the Cessna Factory, (sorry no pictures or videos) and he introduced us to Scott Bengtson who was a real Cessna historian. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, learning about Cessna and its heritage. It is reassuring to see a magnificent american made product that is the Cessna Citation and Cessna Caravan, maybe next time we will stop and tour the piston facility in Independence Kansas.
Next stop on the adventure is Iowa for fuel, weather allowing we might make it the rest of the way to Oshkosh, only time will tell.