I flew out to Sullivan Indiana today and fond a nice little airport. I found a small
FBO with reasonable hours. Self-serve 100LL and Jet A at reasonable prices. I didn’t see any fuel trucks. Runways are 36 and 18 and is about 4300 ft long. Below I have included a picture of the hours of operation (sorry for the reflection) for the FBO. It is locked when not in operation, with the exception of a small set of rooms accessed on the south side of the building. this area has a Flight planning area
and bathrooms. It was clean and well maintained. I did not see a courtesy car.
I meet two people while I was there. I suspect one was the airport manager and the other just doing some aircraft cleaning. Both were very friendly. I would be more than happy to visit again when I can visit some of the local eats.
On our flight out to Knoxville a month ago, ATC called to verify my altitude. I thought that’s a little odd, but I responded with “we are level at five thousand, five hundred” They thanked me. 15 min later they asked me the same question, I responded with the same answer, but this time looked at the transponder (One of the nice pieces of information given on most newer transponders is the pressure altitude it is reporting to ATC) at it is reporting four thousand three hundred feet. Uhh oh. I call back and inform ATC that it appears that the Alt Reporting is off. I try resetting the transponder, but no good. So call ATC and tell them I would be off for a few minutes while I reset the the Avionics. I hit the Avionics master, and leave it off for 60 seconds, Flip it back on and …. looks like it’s working, But I continue to monitor it and after about 5 min it starts slipping again. Now the transponder is reporting my altitude +/- 500 ft, but is usually off by +/- 200 ft. for the rest of the trip. On the return trip it never takes a thousand foot excursion, but is still all over the place. Fortunately I am VFR and I am not in class B airspace so no big problem, but still not right.
After our return I do some more flights around the Bloomington area, and it’s not getting better. I think it can’t be a static leak, or I would see the same fluctuations on the altimeter. A little research and discovered that my encoder is a very old Narco AR-850 and this is a common failure mode for these devices.
I start looking at for a new encoder and find a pin for pin replacement. Perfect! I call my avionics shop tell them symptoms and the model I have and the encoder I would to replace it with. He agrees that it sounds like an encoder, but there are two versions of my old encoder. He asks do you have the 25 or 15 pin connector? I don’t know, but I go out to the plane and quickly count more than 15, so it must be the 25pin. I call my shop and inform him of my findings. ‘Umm, that’s too bad he said’. What? ‘we will have to redo the harness’. well poop!
After my conversation with the shop, I start thinking… We already have to redo the harness and pull apart the instrument panel, maybe now is the time to get the ADS-B compliance out of the way. I setup a meeting tomorrow with the shop to talk solutions and pricing. I will update with the conclusion of that discussion soon.
The FBO has moved from the South East side of the airport to the South West side. If you are landing on runway 1, Accessing the site will require taxing back on taxi way A, then crossing Runway 1 at A1. It isn’t difficult. I found the local pilots very considerate of those needing to cross.
The new building is spacious and clean. The line crew was prompt and friendly even helping my mother with some bags. Seats were comfortable for those that might be waiting for passengers and there was popcorn as well.
We Flew down from Bloomington IN. It took us about 1.6 hours for the flight. When we arrived the pattern was busy as was the airport. turns out, we had stumbled in to the end of an EAA pancake breakfast fly-in. We announced our location and intentions and slid into the pattern and landed. We parked and were promptly greeted by an attendant. We placed our order for fuel and started to unpack the plane. Before we had finished, the fuel truck had completed it’s job and moved on. Lebanon is a very friendly community and the airport staff was very attentive and professional.
The approach end of runway 1 deserves a special note. Interstate 40 is only a 100 Yards or so off of the displaced threshold. Trucks can look rather large on short final. Also of note is that the access road to the airport runs under the runway near the threshold… caught me off guard seeing a car heading for the end of the runway. About the time I was really getting concerned, It disappeared under the runway.
There is a ton of stuff to do near buy and there isn’t enough room here for it. There is a nearby light rail that runs into Nashville, ending downtown across the river from the Nissan Stadium and at the bottom end of Broadway. Broadway is at the heart of entertainment section of downtown. music, Bars and food is all within a short walk of the train station. That includes the Rymen Auditorium as well. While the train is pretty cool transportation, it only runs on weekdays. Make sure to check the hours of operation too, as it doesn’t run very late. If your there during the week, its a great way to get downtown, see the sites, Grab a bite to eat and head back without the stress of driving and finding a place to park.
On our trip from Bloomington to Knoxville Downtown, we ran into some clouds that would not let us over the mountains in to the Knoxville area. The closest airport was Somerset, KY (KSME).
The staff at the county Airport was very friendly and professional. Full service fuel was around $4.15/gal… Pretty reasonable for Full service. They have a couple of courtesy vans that are in good shape. The lounge is comfortable, but the weather station wasn’t working while we were there (My experience is that many FBO’s are letting these slip with more pilots using their phones).
Cheryl and I signed out a van with the intention of grabbing a bite to eat… we headed out the front door where we were greeted by ‘Cumberland’. Cumberland was abandoned by someone when it still needed it’s mother. it was starving and dehydrated. The Lineman gave us a box and we headed to town on a mission to find Cumberland a home. We were going to take her to the local Humane society, but they were closed on Saturdays. We met all kinds of friendly people while searching for a home. With help from the locals, we were able to locate a veterinary hospital, that took her in to be put up for adoption later that day.
After the minor animal rescue, we headed to the near by Texas Road house for lunch. The plane was fueled and ready to go when we got back. Twenty minutes later were back in the air again heading for Knoxville Downtown.