Saturday, June 17, 2006
Big Yellow "X"
Today I decided to fly to Centre Municipal Airport (C22), in Centre, Alabama. It met my destination criteria: it was greater than 50 NM away, so it would count as a cross-country flight, but was less than 100 NM away, so I could make a round trip in the 2 hours and 30 minutes for which I'd reserved the plane. It's also near a big lake, so I was hoping it would be pretty.
Other than waiting half an hour to get fuel in the plane, the flight was uneventful until I had C22 in sight. It's in the middle of nowhere, which made it easy to pick out in the summer haze. I didn't see any hangers or other buildings near the runway, but I knew from the Airport/Facility Directory that the field was unattended, and the runway didn't even have centerline markings, so I figured it was just a rarely-used runway in the middle of nowhere.
As I got close enough to read the number at the end of the runway, I expected to see "27". However, there was no number there.
There was a big yellow "X" at each end of the runway.
A big yellow "X" means that the runway is closed. So I stopped descending, and started circling. I thought maybe I'd run across an old runway, and the real Centre Municipal Airport runway would be nearby. I didn't see any other runways, and my VOR/DME readings indicated I was in the right spot.
So I turned around and went home. Number of landings for today: 1.
After getting back on the ground, I checked NOTAMs to see if there was any mention of the runway being closed, but the only NOTAM for C22 was one about an unlighted tower in the vicinity. I got my weather briefing from the DUATS system this morning—I wonder if I would have known about the closure if I'd called an FSS briefer instead.
It's a little embarrassing to fly somewhere and find out there is no place to land. I guess I've learned a lesson about flight planning.