It seems that since our pacific trip our chapter meeting BBQ location host, Jon Smith, has been doubly bitten by the flying bug and can’t keep himself on the ground for much longer than 48hrs, leading to the title quoted message I received from him last week to just scratch that itch. So being the good friend I am (I could never let him travel all that way on his own), I dutifully accepted and off we went bright and early on a wispy Sunday morning…
Outbound we tracked direct to KAKQ for fuel and a coffee evacuation break before heading direct to VG39. This conveniently threaded the needle between KPHF and KLFI (we were hoping to see some interesting aircraft and aircraft carriers at Norfolk but the haze made it difficult), then a short 15nm hop across the Chesapeake Bay. We decided we would get up to 7,500’ for the crossing so should the engine quit we could imitate a “glide” (it’s an RV6!) back to dry land, before turning north to VA92 and then West to KTGI. This route was necessary due to the Restricted Airspace around KTGI and our fear of flying over water for lengthy amounts of time.
The pattern around KTGI really brought home how small this place is and the staple industry (fishing/crabbing) as there were more boats and docks than houses. The runway is in good condition, roughly 2,500’ long and we had only a light sea breeze from the south to welcome us. Nothing remarkable about it really, no FBO or fuel, plenty of ramp space, a few with tiedowns and a parking cost of $10. Tangier Island on the ground was quite quiet, quaint, quirky and Island like… by which I mean in summary; the people we met seemed nice (481 live there) with interesting accents, lots of fishing /crabbing related paraphernalia around, some very old houses with their own graveyards, at least 2 churches, one plane crashed house (see the pic), very narrow ‘roads’, lots of golf carts (contrary to the podcast we listened to on the way out there are some cars), lots of birds, expensive for what it was food and a welcome/farewell cat (see the pic).
For the return leg we originally planned to reverse our route however, we finally put our man pants on and headed for open water by essentially skirting the restricted airspace, going directly south then turning west on course for KMTV… it wasn’t that bad really. We considered trying to get home without refueling but knowing there was potential for thunderstorms we would likely need to do some maneuvering so we filled her up at KMTV just in case. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop and have lunch here as the restaurant is apparently very good with big portions but I/we will be back Im sure (maybe a chapter trip?) The remainder of the flight was uneventful, just a little cloud dodging and light rain east of SUG to contend with.
Returning in to 0A7 we planned for a more fun approach to landing with an overhead break! This stems from being asked by the KTUS tower if we wanted an overhead break during our pacific trip, Jon has tried one since and really likes them! Alas, traffic in the pattern put a stop to that, maybe next time… we settled instead for the conventional approach and touch down, just left of center (ask Jon)….
I personally would recommend a visit as the island is pretty unique, at least to me and potentially only has ~25yrs before it is consumed by rising sea levels or eroded away (depends on who you ask). We managed to land around 9-9:30 so the majority of folk were in church which meant everything was closed (11am opening times typically) but pleasantly quiet and tranquil allowing Jon to take some pretty cool photo’s.