Weather or not

Huskies head south for Sun 'n Fun

March 22, 2012

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    "Hi, my name is Husky, and I'm ready to fly!" The 2012 Sweepstakes Husky on the AOPA ramp.

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    AOPA Senior Editor Dave Hirschman does a final check before takeoff from Frederick Municipal Airport in the 2012 Sweepstakes Husky. Executive Producer Warren Morningstar, right, shoots video for AOPA Live.

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    Local flight instructor Richard Bailey checks out the 2012 Sweepstakes Husky during a fuel stop in Danville, Va.

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    AOPA President Craig Fuller flies his Husky alongside the 2012 Sweepstakes Husky over North Carolina.

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    The pair of Huskies had to dodge several storms along the way. AOPA President Craig Fuller's Husky seen here against an impressive-looking cell in South Carolina.

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    The high wing of the Husky gives the crew a fantastic view of the coastal salt marsh on descent to Beaufort, S.C.

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    AOPA Senior Editor Dave Hirschman turns base on short final for Runway 7 at Beaufort, S.C.

Heavy clouds and a low ceiling plagued the morning at AOPA’s headquarters in Frederick, Md., not great for VFR Huskies. By early afternoon, conditions improved and the pair of airplanes took off, headed for Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Fla.

The clouds kept AOPA Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and AOPA President Craig Fuller low and slow over Maryland and Northern Virginia. The high-wing Huskies gave great views of the Shenandoah River Valley until a break in the clouds allowed for a climb to 6,500 feet msl over Front Royal, Va. Despite small storms in the area, the pair had smooth air all the way to the first stop of the journey in Danville, Va.

Famous airplane

After setting down at Danville, the Huskies drew a crowd of pilots and airport employees. The Tougher than a Tornado 2012 Sweepstakes Husky was instantly recognizable to pilots on the field. CFI Richard Bailey had just finished an instructional flight when the two taildraggers taxied to the fuel truck. "Oh, goodness! This is just unbelievable," exclaimed the veteran aviator. "This is just a fantastic airplane.” He and his flight students took the chance to get a photo with the airplane. After a visit with the friendly folks at the fixed-base operator, the airplanes were full of fuel and ready to go.

Weather conditions had been a big concern all day, and after takeoff from Danville was no exception. The pair had to dodge several strong storms across the Carolina Piedmont, but still the air was smooth.

Sunset found the airplanes on short final to Beaufort County Airport in South Carolina. After checking the weather forecast over a meal along the water, it was time for bed. The Huskies have a long way to go en route to Sun 'n Fun. Weather could play a big factor on Thursday, and all eyes were on a line of storms stretching north across Mississippi Wednesday night.