ETE: 18 minutes
Flight Conditions: 3000 broken, visibility 10 miles, winds 020 @16, OAT 75F, Altimeter 30.06.
Flight Plan: IFR to KEVB, VFR to KLEE
“Bonanza 85 Kilo, RADAR contact, climb and maintain 3000, heading 080, Orlando altimeter 30.06. VFR traffic, 10’Olock, 2 miles. Mode “C” indicates 2000 feet”.
High pressure dominated the weather, and Orlando Departure Control was busy as we departed Leesburg and winged on over to New Smyrna Beach, KEVB. The destination was agreed upon by a group of Beechcraft pilots, from all over the state, as a great place to meet for lunch at the on-airport restaurant.
New Smyrna Beach has always been one of my favorite Florida destinations, both for the beach and the restaurants. My Dad has a beach condo in Daytona Beach Shores, just a few minutes north of the field. If he is in town, he is always quick to pick us up for lunch or dinner at Boondocks Restaurant, and then an overnight at the condo for some R&R.
Our route took us northeast, over Lake Eustis, between Sanford Class C airspace and the Deland airport. Once handed off to Daytona Approach, we were vectored for the visual approach to RW 02 at New Smyrna Beach.
NSB is an old military training base from WWII, and numerous old wood frame building left from its military days dot the perimeter of the field. It is now an active GA airport with a control tower. ATC folks were relaxed and friendly as they gave us our landing clearance. Less than a mile from the field, the Atlantic Ocean glistened, framing a stunning backdrop for our approach.
One by one, different iterations of Beechcraft Bonanzas (and one lonely Cessna) landed and taxied to the ramp at Epic Aviation. As we deplaned, greetings were exchanged all around.
In the past, I have logged many visits to The Breakers Restaurant, right on the beach, on the North Ramp at NSB. They serve the best hamburgers on the Florida East coast, just steps from the white sugar sand and the waves. Anytime we have relatives in town, we take them to The Breakers.
For this particular trip, our group of Beech pilots met for lunch on the back deck of McCharacters Restaurant, just steps from the airport ramp. McCharacters used to be called Stella’s, and before that, The Skyline Restaurant. We feasted on grouper sandwiches and swapped lies about our flying (mis)adventures for a couple of hours.
After lunch, we waddled back to the Epic ramp for some group pics. With our good-byes done, we taxied out single-file to RW 02 for take-off. Again, one by one, each aircraft took the active runway and departed, each choosing a compass heading that would lead them back home.