For a couple years now I have wanted to take a trip to Ingalls Field. I have watched many videos on YouTube detailing the unique airport atop Warm Springs Mountain near the Homestead Resort in Virginia. The airport has the highest elevation (3792 ft) of any public use airport East of the Mississippi and landing there is compared to landing on an Aircraft Carrier.
My Mom was coming along for this flight as she always likes to fly over the mountains. Side note; she was the first female in Tazewell County, Virginia to obtain a pilots license and worked for United Airlines as a Flight Attendant for thirty-six years.
We departed KHEF at 1040 hrs for the 53 minute flight West and received flight following from ATC. Our waypoints were KCJR and KSHD with a cruising altitude of 6500 ft. The flight out was smooth but of course the winds at KHSP were not as they were reported to be on the TAF’s. ATIS advised the winds were 120/8 knots, which constituted right quartering winds for Runway 07. The thing about Ingalls Field being on top of a mountain is wind shear. It was definitely present on final as the winds came up and over the mountain. It wasn’t severe but there was a lot of stick and rudder going on until touchdown. The runway is plenty big 100x5600, and I think it looks a lot worse than it actually is. We left 80 degree weather and were surprised to be in 62 degree weather when we exited N7044S at KHSP. So, bring a jacket
We packed a lunch, as the airport does not have a restaurant. There were tables in the FBO where we could eat. We found out the FBO has a crew car that can be used to travel from the airport. Another pilot landed while we were there and he took it to the Homestead for lunch. After eating and relaxing for about an hour I talked to the FBO attendant and got my Ambassador Passport stamped! That’s always exciting for me!
The take-off from KHSP is amazing. There are literally cliffs at the end of either runway and it’s definitely something for your co-pilot to video or photograph. We reversed our route for the 59 minute flight back at 5500 ft. We had ATC flight following, which was good, because the closer we got to KHEF, the more we were dodging traffic on this busy Saturday.
For such an inordinate airport this is really a short flight. I highly recommend you make the trip and experience landing on a “aircraft carrier”.