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The Boo

Phase 2 - When the Fun begins

7/22/06 Completed my annual today.  Total cost?  Less than $150 which includes a new PC680 battery, eye bolts, charts for the trip to OSH, new air filter and some miscellaneous items.  I needed a new air filter because the old one started to crease in a weird sort of way.  I'm not totally sure how it happened but I suspect that I over tightened it onto the front baffle, either that or I hit a bird.  Here's what it looked like;

Nothing else was noted in the annual.  All wires were still in the shape I placed them a year ago.  No chaffing or binding.  The annual took two solid days, most of the last day included replacing about a zillion screws, par for the course on these RV's.  You get used to it, and you get nice big Popeye forearms to boot.

Now some may say that I'm a little lopsided wanting to make OSH as my first "real" cross country.  Bah, humbug.  After fixing the heat issue this thing has been flawless.  I even decided to allow the P-mags to advance to their maximum timing before the trip.  We'll see how the CHT works out during the trip after that modification (removing the pin #2 and #3 connect).

7/23/06 Took to the air after the annual to make sure she's in tip top shape.  No squawks.  Tomorrow, I leave for KADS (Addison, TX) to pick up a long time friend who just got his license a few weeks ago.  He's never been in an RV.  This is going to set his hair on fire.  I'll stay 3 days there and then Duane and I will head to OSH.
7/24/06 Left KCPM at 06:30 AM.  David Richardson was on hand to take a few pictures.  I think he thought they might be the last picture ever taken of 447RV :)  Anyway, I was glad to have him there. 

These pictures shows a bit of anxiety in my eyes.  I wasn't nervous, but I wasn't sure what the future holds.  What troubles lay ahead for this pilot and plane?  What problems might I face?  It's time to leave and test this plane, which I built. 

I packed an extensive tool bag with all sorts of items gleaned from other pilots on the web.  You name it, I got one of em in this bag, and it's heavy too.  Will I be able to pack all my crap and Duane's crap and all the tools and other items without getting over gross?  All sorts of questions. 

Here's the last time I'll be in CA for two weeks.  Hope it goes well.

Well everything was going very well until about Demming NM.  That's when it started to get hot, really hot, and bumpy, really really bumpy.  Why did I leave on the hottest day on record?  I would have to say that the turbulence was right on the verge of being severe.  I smashed my head on the canopy so many times that I ended up riding the whole trip with the seatbelts strapped as tight as they would go.  This made my ass go numb.  It was miserable.  Worst flight experience I ever had.  And to top it all off, I had headwinds of up to 28 kts the entire way.  The trip ended up taking 8 hours.  8 hours I want to forget.  I tried altitudes ranging from 3500 up to 11500 but nothing would stop the turb or headwinds.  So I just kept on flying, mostly at 7500 ft.

Here's a couple of shots of rain of my left wing and the corresponding XM WX display on the EFIS.

There isn't much to see in the desert from 7500 ft, it's still beautiful though.

Just cruising along at LOP flying the GNS430 flight plan.

West Texas.  You want flat?  You got it.  Out here, if your dog runs away, you can watch him for 5 days.

I made it too KADS in spite of the inconvenient weather and oppressive heat and turbulence.  And not a single issue with the plane or instrumentation.  I learned that George does a very good job when it's somewhat smooth air but when you get 1500 ft vertical gusts you better just fly it manually if you're VFR and you have leeway in your altitudes.  Made two fuel stops instead of one on account of the headwinds.

KADS is my prior home base when I used to own 758ND.  It was a real joy to land there again.  I love TX.  Millionaire kept the plane in a nice huge hanger, right next too a bunch of expensive jets.  As long as I bought fuel they would not charge me for the hanger fees, very nice.  Total cost?  about $80 for three days.  Awesome.  I love TX.  Duane got a shot of me landing at KADS.

7/26/06 Duane and I pack our crap and load it into the plane.  I don't bother to weigh each piece of trash we are taking but I estimate the baggage total is about 125 lbs, a bit more than recommended.  We leave at 0630 local time and overtake the Cessna that departed ahead of us like it was standing still, flying over an overcast sky until it breaks in NE TX.  Duane gets a taste of the "stick" and I'm sure he is overwhelmed by the sensitivity and accuracy of the controls.  Surely every plane should feel like this...

We run into a line of thunderstorms in MO and put down for fuel and check the weather.  Checking with Flight Watch it seems that if we give it an hour we can sneak behind the front and head directly for OSH.  We take the courtesy car and take an hour for lunch.  I really enjoy landing at small airstrips where there is no fence and a courtesy car is waiting for you.  It's nice to find this in an era of tightened security, just like the good old days.

Full of fuel and food we head north.  OSH is just a few hours away.

The flight is uneventful and we are 6nm short of Ripon when we hear that inbound traffic not already at Ripon needs to divert, it's about 1415 local time.  WTF?  Arrivals aren't supposed to be diverted until 1430 according to the NOTAM.  I beg on the radio "but we've come from Los Angeles".  I'm told that he cannot approve the arrival and that it's up to the tower now.  "If you give it all you've got you might get in."  That's the last thing I hear from Ripon.  So of course I shove all three colors forward.  We pass Ripon at 181 kts gs at 1800 ft..  Shortly afterwards we're told to wag our wings.  "We're IN!".  Of course now we had to slow down for the turn onto One Eight Right, that's another story...  But we made it, thank god, we made it.  Wow, OSH, in a plane I built.  The dream has finally been realized.

7/27/06 A few pictures from OSH.  Don't forget, it *always* rains in the Midwest during the summer.

David Richardson flew up commercially and rented a car in Chicago.  We had wheels, which is a good thing if you want to eat some good grub at night and saunter over to the Liquor store :)  Here's a warning, don't fall asleep during the air show or you'll look like this.

7/29/06 We left OSH on Saturday, wanting to get out before the big rush on Sunday.  The weather, as usual, was not cooperating and we didn't get out until the front blew through at about 1100 hrs.  We strapped in and took off on 36 and turned out for the flight across Lake Michigan.  I climbed up to 9500 and we made short work of the trip in 45 minutes.  Good thing the plane doesn't know it's flying over water...

Landed in Ludington (LDM) and were greeted by my parents, another dream realized; landing at "Home"!  I was going to stay for the week to celebrate my Mom's birthday. 

7/30/06 Duane need to get back across Lake Michigan to Door Co. Airport near sturgeon bay.  It took 45 minutes to cross with a headwind and 33 minutes to get back.  I'm really starting to like the plane now.  It's a time machine.
8/3/06 Time to celebrate a birthday.  We ordered 5 dozen oysters and 5 lbs of fresh LA shrimp for the shindig.  All the usual suspects were on hand to share in the celebration.  What a great day!  Happy Birthday Mom.

8/4/06 Today was ride day.  My dad got the first ride a couple of days ago.  He's been waiting for that ride for a year and he finally got it.  Then my uncle David went yesterday.  I think all that got a ride had a great time.  And my sister didn't puke, which was nice.  All total I gave 9 rides.  The plane is flying wonderfully.  I still can't believe I haven't had a single glitch yet, nothing.  Amazing.

8/5/06 Time to leave Home.  I'm going to do the trip back to LA in two days.  Not sure how far I'll get.  I'm going to wing it.

Here's some more panel shots.  If the pictures look grainy it's because the screens are covered with dust.

Well I made it as far as Roswell Intl airport before the front cut me off.  It was getting late and I was getting tired after 8 hours so I decided to call it a day.  Found good lodging at the Best Western and they came to pick me up at the FBO.  Cost for overnight parking?  nada.  I like that.  I did buy 14 gals of gas from them though.

8/6/06 Roswell is sort of a graveyard for old aircraft.  I snapped these two shots taxing out. 

The flight was absolutely wonderful.  After the big storm the night before the skies had multiple cloud layers but overall is was clear sailing.  These two are around El Paso.

Just past Deming NM I was at 10500 when I saw a solid overcast below at around 7000.  I started a decent since I didn't know how far it would go.  The satellite imagery I looked at in the morning before departure indicated that it did not extend into CA but just to make sure I dodged below the layer.  Well that wasn't such a good idea.  With rising terrain and a descending cloud layer I looked for an opening to get back on top.  Found one and this is what it looked like on the other side when it started to clear. 

See that mountain peak covered with clouds?  Do you think at 10500 I have enough altitude to get over it?  Hard to tell isn't it?  Want to know if terrain on the EFIS is worth it?  Look at the second picture and you tell me.  Do you honestly believe that a better screen or more colors will give you any more information than this picture? 

Humming along with an 11 kts. tailwind (finally, a tail wind) at 152 kts. burning 6.7 gals/hr.  How is that for mileage?

The EFIS flight plan page showing the external GNS430 flight plan.  I like this page because it shows you remaining fuel at each waypoint.  Pretty slick.

The Salton Sea.

Palm Springs, just ahead on the left.

When you get to Banning Pass, you know you are home.

See the layer of schmog?  Yep, that's the LA basin.  Welcome back.  What a flight.

How much fun can one man and an airplane have...  Over 80 hours now on 447ND and I have no complaints.  Now time to get those wheel pants and gear leg fairings on.  And then it's paint time.

9/30/06 Time to get these wheel pant on.

Recently I purchase a set of airplane jacks.  With these it's simple to get the plane jacked up to do any wheel work or in this case to get the plane just off the ground in order to get the gear legs extended as if in flight.  I screwed a Grade 5 bold into each of the tie-downs and jacked the plane up with those in place.

Used a plum bob to mark the centerline.

One inch spacer on top of the wheel.

Cutout for the gear leg and brake line.

4/29/07 Been a long time since I posted anything here.  I've been flying but not too much.  Been working mostly.  The wheel fiberglass work took forever to complete and I'm not quite finished.  Just some final work on the upper gear leg fairings and she'll be ready for paint.  Anyway, thought I would let you in on the latest trip which we just got back from today.

Dan C. and friends have been heading out to a local dry lake bed for some amusing times and let us in on the little secret.  It's El Mirage dry lake bed.  It's got plenty of history.  Google it.  It's flat as a pancake, huge in practically every dimension and is hard like a rock, in fact it's surface rivals many runways I've landed on.

Dave Richardson and I left on Saturday around 11:00 AM after packing the plane with camping gear, food, chairs, and pretty much everything else we could find in the garage.  Look at that baggage compartment.

We made the short trek to the dry lake bed.  There is a bunch of UAV training, apparently 7 days a week, with spotter planes in the area and you have to keep an eye out for them and the pesky dirt bikers and 4-wheelers hauling ass all over the lakebed in every which direction.

On Saturday they were like flies on a carcass going every which way.  Made a couple of passes and set her down.  Height and depth perception are not as accurate because of the vast expanse of nothingness and it's a bit hard to judge your distance.  Made a fair landing and taxied over to where Dave Leonard was waiting.  He arrived an hour before us from Sandy Eggo, by way of Temecula, in a rental C177, fortunately for us, as the high wing provided great shelter from the sweltering sun which sent the midday temps to almost 100, but of course, it was a dry heat.  (why does everyone say that?  Dude, it was bloody hot, regardless of the lack of humidity)  It would have been nice to pore over his rotary RV-6 but I did appreciate the shade.

There isn't much out here...

But it is pretty cool to have the most fun toys on the lakebed.  Everyone was coming by to check out the crazy pilots and their rides.

The C177 is a great trash hauler and Dave had it stuffed to the gills.  We also had another expected guest Louis who drove out in his truck from the Valley bringing a truckload of Wood, Ice and water.  Mucho appreciated Louis.  Later Louis would drive all the way back to the valley and get his GS100 and ride on the bike back to camp for the night.  Rightmost pic: Dave, Louis, David.

He kindly let me and Dave ride his pig in the middle of the night on the lakebed.  Kinda neat, especially after a couple of cocktails.  You can get very lost on the lakebed at night.  It was difficult to see the raging bonfire from only a 1/4 mile away.  I wouldn't want to land there at night.

Another visitor, Seamus, flew in on his way back from Lost Wages in his C180.  Of course the obligatory flyby was a treat.  Shortly after he arrived a very strange thing came into view.  Man, did we gobble up the Ice Cream.  This is really a weird place.

Then to round out the crew, Sharpie and Wingnut show up around 6 pm.  We bs-ed for a few hours and had a great time. 

The sun started to set and it was time for them to depart.  Of course the obligatory flyby was in store.  There was no disappointment in this flyby either.

It was starting to cool off and we brought out more, uh, cocktails, lit the bonfire and cooked some raw cow.

The stars are plainly visible out here, not like in the LA basin.  It's fantastic.

Gratuitous pics of 447RV.  Get 'em in the air folks!

Woke up the next day and departed around 8:30 am.  Unfortunately the LA basin was socked in so we headed to Hemet.  Hemet's cafe was closed so we headed for Corona and had breakfast.  After a fine chicken fried steak meal we left for Compton and finally had clear enough wx to make it in by noon.  A great weekend.



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Last updated: 07/06/05.