Just wanted to share a short trip that Jon and I went on today. I hadn’t been flying in forever, and Jon had been grounded with a big work project for the last few weeks that is now finished, so we both wanted to get airborne for a while.
The trip route: 0A7-35A-KEOE-KCUB-0A7
It started with a suggestion to go get fuel, and then I added a
destination I’ve wanted to check out for a while, since we would already be
After announcing and taking off on 33 from 0A7 (Hendersonville), Jon spotted traffic ahead that was coming towards us at low altitude. It was a helicopter headed S-SW at about 600ft. Jon had to veer right soon after clearing the trees, as we were otherwise quickly headed to the same place at the same time off the departure end of the runway. I believe Jon’s somewhat surprised radio call went something like “Hello there, helicopter”, to which they responded (in the typical helicopter, guy-in-a-paintcan-shaker choppy tone, but with a low voice) “Well, hello there.” Which at least made it entertaining. 🙂
35A (Union County, SC) was just a stop for a couple patterns and to see if anyone else was there. There never seems to be any traffic there when we’ve visited (usually for the cheap fuel), and today was no different.
KEOE (Newberry, SC) was a new stop for both of us. Goal here was the cheap fuel. We did a few circuits here. In the middle of one of our patterns we saw a Quad City Challenger taxi out to midfield and turn into the wind. Jon asked “is he going to just takeoff from midfield?”…the answer was yes, as he rolled only about 100ft until getting airborne and climbing. Soon after, we departed the area to the SE.
Then it was off to KCUB (L.B. Owens Airport) in Columbia, SC. We
landed on Rwy 31 and noted that the runway has a slope on both ends, with
the low point in the center. A/FD says 3deg slope on 31 (20ft height diff), and
4deg on 13 (30ft height diff) for the 5011’ Runway, which both sound
insignificant while reading it (to a low time pilot like me) but it does make
it feel like the runway drops away slightly on touchdown. In any
case, we landed safely and taxi’d over to the ramp.
The goal here at KCUB was to visit the Hunter-Gatherer Brewery
that is located on the field and occupies an old hangar that was built in 1929.
I had first read about this in an article in the AOPA magazine, and have wanted
to check it out since:
From the ramp, you have to exit the airfield thru the FBO and walk along the road to get to the brewery, which is a bit of a walk but not bad. (We got to walk it twice, since the first time we didn’t realize that it was outside of the airport fence…)
Once arriving, we went inside and browsed the old photos on the walls of the hangar and airfield. For example:
Yesterday vs. Today At one point, the Curtiss-Wright hangar was the only building on the airfield. (Note the train tracks that are visible on the top right hand side of both images, there definitely appear to be sections that are still the same.)
bar, we ordered up some food. Both of us wanted to indulge in the brews, but
obviously couldn’t because, airplanes. We’ll have to do a chapter fly out here
sometime with an overnight stay, so that we can enjoy them! Instead, a
Margherita pizza, taco pizza, and pretzel with mustard and beer cheese would
have to suffice. And that they did! The food was great and the environment
really cool. The only thing I wish they had inside was more aviation stuffs…I
was honestly surprised by the lack of it, considering the history of the place.
Perhaps its still in the plans for one day, but it’s just begging for model
aircraft to be hung from the ceiling or put on display.
Perusing the Hunter-Gatherer Brewery Facebook page, you can find photos of the hangar before they restored it, which is absolutely fascinating. There are also many of the restoration process on their page as well.
After our meal we checked out the rooftop patio and walked around a bit before heading back to the plane.
The ride back home went smoothly and without incident. Once we landed back at Hendersonville, Jon did a number of patterns to get in some practice (I think procrastination may have been a factor here as well…) before we went back to normal life duties for the remainder of the weekend.
All in all, a great Sunday of flying and a fun place to visit! Who wants to join us for a second visit as a group? 🙂
Hola! So…onto Day 3 of our adventure flying across America. This is when the trip started to be incredibly cool.
TL;DR Warning: This is a LONG post. Feel free to just checkout the pics…they’re worth seeing!
If you missed Day 1 or Day 2, take a click to go see those updates before coming back here.
All evening on Day 2, we were debating what made the most sense for us to do on Day 3. We threw around many plans, checked the weather repeatedly, and flip-flopped on where we were going to stay. Items in play were:
Next goal after Tucson AZ was hitting the west coast, dipping our toes in the ocean, and getting some fish tacos (which was my specific request).
Originally we were looking at Bob Maxwell Memorial Airport (KOKB) just East of Oceanside, CA. However, further research revealed that they did not have a courtesy car, whereas McClellan-Palomar Airport (KCRQ) in Carlsbad, CA did and even had slightly cheaper fuel to boot. Score!
How far could we get before it got dark? What could we fit in? The main talking point was around whether we push on towards Las Vegas after hitting the coast, or take a day to relax and enjoy time on the coast.
If we made it to the Vegas area, it could make for an excellent staging stop for Day 4, which could then include Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon.
Daylight was going to be an issue if we wanted to press forward. We would need to get up early and keep moving at a good pace throughout the day. Also, none of us were night current, and even if we were, the unfamiliar mountainous terrain made us nervous, so landing after dark was off the table.
Jon REALLY wanted to go to the Titan Missile Museum. Apparently his previous travels had brought him to Tucson AZ many times, but every time that he tried to visit the Museum, they were either closed or he wasn’t able to make it out there for one reason or another. Although he kept mentioning it, he had essentially resigned himself to accept that it probably wouldn’t happen. It was pretty clear that we had to try to make this happen for him. 🙂
In the end, after much discussion at dinner on Day 2, we decided that we could shoot high and try to fit it all in for Day 3:
Check out and be at the Titan Missile Museum as soon as they open, and take the first available tour at 10:00am.
Drive straight to Tucson Airport (KTUS) and take off for McClellan-Palomar (KCRQ) in Carlsbad, CA around 12:30pm.
Flight time should be around 3.5hrs
Take the courtesy car to the beach, grab tacos on the way, and head back to the airport. Visit length = 2hrs total, including refueling of the planes.
Take off and head to Henderson Airport (KHND) just south of Las Vegas, which should take around 1.5hrs.
If all goes to plan, we would arrive at KHND just as the sun sets on the Nevada desert.
So started our day. Breakfast at the hotel, checked out and drove the 25mins south to Sahuarita, AZ. We quickly stopped at a Walmart to pickup a few things before driving over to the museum. (Simon was looking for a hat and nearly purchased a rather “fetching” blue bucket hat with white stars. It would’ve been special.)
The Titan Missile Museum was pretty amazing to see. It is the only remaining Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) complex of the 54 sites that were on alert during the Cold War between 1963 and 1987. Photos below:
Once back at Tucson Airport, Jon, Mike & Simon got the aircraft ready while I returned our rental car. I got back and jumped in the plane with Jon. We spent a while on ground frequency waiting for clearance, and it seemed like the controller forgot about us. They sounded busy with a possible runway closure, so we checked in again and were sent over to tower.
The tower asked if we would be ok with an intersection take off on Runway 21, which gave us about 3000ft of runway. We were happy with that since it got us out of KTUS quickly and was the same length as Hendersonville Airport (0A7) where one of our aircraft is based. After taxiing to the runway, we had to hold short for a few minutes while some F-16 traffic took off. It made for a great show, and Simon got some great photos of them:
The tower also granted our request to overfly the aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, which was awesome.
If you’re not familiar, the aircraft “boneyard” is part of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group (AMARG), which is the worlds largest aircraft boneyard with typically over 3,200 aircraft in its inventory. It is the sole aircraft boneyard and parts reclamation facility for excess/retired military and government aircraft.
Check it out on Google Maps (Zoom in on the fields & Pan around to see the aircraft!):
We really wanted to go take the bus tour of the Boneyard while we were there, but our schedule was so fluid for this trip that we weren’t able to make reservations within the required 2 weeks advanced notice that is required. Our flyover and our drive around the perimeter roads would have to be our tour.
Our flight of two takeoff went smoothly, and the tower handed us over to Davis-Monthan AFB tower for our flyover of the boneyard. Below are the photos we captured of the boneyard from the air.
After our flyover, we were handed over to Tucson departure control, and resumed on our course to KCRQ. This leg of flight saw us having to dodge a significant number of restricted areas, and brought us quite close to the Mexican border. See our flight plan below.
The flight overall was fairly uneventful. Much attention was paid to avoid the restricted areas along the route, and this meant flying thru some relatively narrow airspace corridors that were busy with other traffic doing the same thing. I was keeping a close eye on the ADS-B traffic and scanning the horizon looking for other aircraft, especially as we traveled from East of Yuma, AZ until we approached the mountains West of El Centro, CA.
As we neared McClellan-Palomar Airport we contacted approach to bring us in. The airspace was extremely busy, so we had to pay close attention to the controller. This was easily the busiest airspace of the entire trip.
Now that we made had arrived, we started our whirlwind 1.5hrs on the ground in Carlsbad! After parking and quickly tying down the aircraft, we rushed to the FBO to figure out the crew car. They had a new Hyundai for us to use which was perfect, so we signed it out, jumped in and headed for the beach!
Once parked, we jumped out and ran down to the beach. Birds were ridge soaring along overhead as we got out, which was a beautiful sight for a glider pilot. 🙂
Jon definitely won the award for best celebration, via jumping into the ocean and collecting a bottle of seawater as a souvenir.
After only a quick 15minute stop at the beach, we got back into the car in search of my fish tacos on the way back to the airport. My googling on the ride to the beach had revealed a highly rated local joint called Pelly’s Fish Market which was right on our route, so off we went!
Mike elected to rest in the car while Simon, Jon and I went to get food. Boy, was Pelly’s a good call! I got an order of Fish Tacos and a fried calamari appetizer. I’d be in trouble if I lived closer to this place…
I was a happy man. After food, we revived Mike from his slumber in the car, and headed back to the airport. We dropped off the car with the friendly FBO staff and took a quick pit stop, before climbing back into the RV’s to get ready for our next leg.
Timing was looking just right for making it to the Las Vegas area before sunset, but we needed to get moving. The plan was as follows:
KCRQ MORON HEC 353108N1153131W KHND
(Simon pointed out the waypoint called “MORON” which made us all chuckle, so we had to use it…) The target was Henderson Executive Airport, KHND. We decided on this since it was still close to the Las Vegas strip, and should be much easier to get into and out of than if we attempted to land at McCarran International.
Our planning for this leg was purely logistical…getting from Carlsbad to Las Vegas before sunset, and avoiding the restricted areas along the way. Little did we know how incredible this leg would be…
Our target for the stop in Carlsbad was 2hrs total, and we started our takeoff roll 2hrs and 11mins after we touched down. Pretty darn good!
We departed KCRQ to the Northeast towards the mountains and Las Vegas.
At this point, the sun was getting low, and golden hour truly started to begin. The effect in this area of the country, with its gorgeous landscape and the clouds that were present, was nothing but spectacular.
I’m going to let the photos do the talking. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did taking them and experiencing this beautiful place.
Pretty incredible scenery, huh? That was the most memorable leg of the trip for me, just because it was so beautiful and was totally unexpected when we set off.
After arriving, we took a bit to figure out where we were staying. We didn’t have reservations yet since we didn’t know if we would make it to Vegas today! Hard to believe that the day started out in Tucson, AZ at the Missile museum….
We finally settled on staying on the strip at the Flamingo, because….why the heck not? And this was Simon’s first ever visit to Las Vegas, so we wanted him to at least be able to walk the strip at night. We hailed an uber, and were shortly on our way to our hotel.
Once we arrived and checked in, we went out to get dinner and walk the strip. We decided to eat at Gordon Ramsay Burger, which is silly pricey, but was pretty darn good. Beyond recounting the day’s events, a mishap occurred while taking the first big bite of my delicious “Farmhouse Burger” which was topped with bacon, Dubliner cheese, and a fried egg. Just as I took the first bite, that fried egg’s yolk popped and exploded all over my left arm, my watch, Simon’s arm and right side with bright yellow yolk. Whomp Whomp. Sorry Simon. The event was dubbed the “egg-splosion”, and that evening I learned that it is amazingly difficult to remove congealed egg yolk from the cervices of a Casio G-shock watch.
After dinner while walking, Mike announced that he wanted some ice cream, and ducked into the McDonalds that we were passing. Upon learning that they were entirely out of ice cream for his M&M McFlurry, we ended up at Shake Shack, procuring a suitable replacement. 🙂
In the end, we walked down to the Luxor to view the large interior atrium and architecture, before calling it a night and hailing an uber to drive us back to the hotel.
We were beat….what a heck of a day! This was definitely one of my favorite days of the trip with the sheer amount of things that we were able to do and see. That trip from Carlsbad to Vegas will stick out in my memory for quite a long time.
Stay tuned for the next days updates, there’s much more to come!
So I realize that I’m behind on updates, but sleep in the evenings has taken precedence. Trying to get a brief update on Day 2 in today before we get started on Day 4 of the trip!
In short, our trip has been nothing but incredible thus far. If you didn’t catch the Day 1 update, you can find that here.
Day two saw us departing Lubbock, TX (KLBB) and ending up in Tucson, AZ (KTUS). Our route was the following, with the only fuel stop being at El Paso, TX (KELP):
KLBB KELP KDMN P33 E95 KTUS
Taking off from KLBB was a memorable incident… • After takeoff with Jon in the lead, the dialog went something like this: ○ Simon: “Hey Jon, would you mind slowing up? You’re faster than us and we’re pretty far behind. ○ Jon (without skipping a beat, a wry smile on his face, keys the mic…): “I’m sorry, Say again?” ○ Simon: “I said, would you mind slowing up as you’re faster than us and we’re behind.” ○ Jon (Beaming): “I actually heard you fine, I just like hearing it. Slowing down now.” ○ Mike C (Laughing over intercom to Jon): “Wow, dick move!”
We headed down to El Paso as a fuel stop, just to be safe. El Paso was quite busy and we had some fun finding the self-serve fuel. The tower (who kept us on freq for taxiing) gave instructions on finding it based on us locating an old, white, unmarked 727 on the corner of the ramp that seems to be a fixture of the field at the moment. On the way to the fuel we got to see NASA’s “Guppy” transport plane which was really cool.
While landing at KTUS, there were two F-16’s (“Vader”) that were doing overhead breaks into the downwind leg of the pattern. Once we cleared the runway, we were able to snap some photos of the F-16’s landing behind us on the runway which was really cool. We found our way to Velocity Air (FBO), and tied down the aircraft.
One issue we found with our planes was the co-pilot side mic did not work on Mike’s plane. Simon sent out a message to the local EAA chapter at KTUS, asking if anyone had the items (PTT switch and wire) needed to fix it. Per request, the President of the Tucson EAA Chapter provided Mike & simon with an extra push to talk switch to try to aid them in their future leg duties. It was really nice of him and his wife to come out and help us.
We then got a rental car and drove straight to the Pima Air Museum, which was phenomenal. They have a ton of aircraft there that are really unique. We ended up being the last ones in the facility when they closed. 🙂
Day 3 should include the Titan Missile museum, and hitting the West Coast!!
As many of you may have heard, Mike, Simon, Jon, & I have been planning a trip to Fly Across America.
The goal is simple: Dip our toes in the Pacific ocean, see some great sights along the way (Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Hoover Dam, Oceanside CA, Pima Air & Space Museum, and the Titan Missile Museum), while having fun flying a whole lot in Jon & Mike’s Van’s RV-6/6A.
Today was a very successful Day #1. Follow along with us via our SPOT tracker points by going here.
The flight plan looked something like this the night before we left (copy & paste into Skyvector/Foreflight/etc if desired):
We just finished our first day of the trip, and we ended up deviating a bit due to the weather, namely convective sigmets and high winds coming up from the south. Our actual route ended up being the following:
0A7 KLQK 4M3 KLAW KLBB
While enroute from 4M3 to KFDR, the cloud cover was deteriorating quickly so we took openings in the overcast down and diverted to KLAW. At KLAW, we reviewed all the weather and decided that it made the most sense to fly the route backwards, choosing to fly the sourthern route first while the weather on the northern part passed through. Thus, we ended our day in Lubbock, Texas.
Pretty great first day…we were able to accomplish nearly 11 hours of flying and around 987nm! We are all pretty exhausted and were happy to get to the hotel and have a good dinner. I’m falling asleep here typing this, so its time to get to bed!
Tomorrow the plan is to fly from KLBB (Lubbock, TX) to KTUS (Tucson, AZ) to visit the Titan Missile Museum, and the PIMA Air & Space museum (likely to be done Wednesday morning).
Given the success of last months chapter gathering/BBQ at 0A7 (Hendersonville), we feel it would be a shame to not do it again!!
Therefore this months meet will be a carbon copy of last month;
Arrive around 6ish
bring a side, your own meat/main dish and drinks.
Grills, cutlery, napkins and plates will be provided.
Weather permitting it would be great to see some planes in the air.
Friends and family are welcome!
A note regarding car parking tomorrow evening… we need to preserve access to the hanger south of Jon’s place (red box on image) could we therefore please park on the grass in the blue boxes. Note: the west most box may not be possible and will be coned off if not.
If you are bringing an aircraft feel free to park next to the taxiway leading to the museum or closer if you can find a spot.
Just wanted to share another flying adventure that Jon and I went on yesterday (6/30/2018).
TL;DR: Excellent day flying Jon’s RV-6, and Schwitzer SGS 2-33 and 1-26 gliders. Jon and I took 5-flights each, with flights of 1-2hrs of sustained flight at the end! 😊 See photos below.
The goal for the day was to get in some soaring at Bermuda High, in Kershaw, SC. The soaring weather forecast looked great (see pic), with climb rates @ 3-4kts up, and strong buoyancy to shear ratio so the lift should be fairly consistent from low levels to the cloud bases. It also predicted the Cu (cumulus) to start forming around 11am, so we wanted to get into the air by then to start hunting for lift!
We departed 0A7 around 9:30am, and flew south thru the hazy conditions. We followed the valley out of the mountains and skirted below the outermost shelf of Charlotte airspace. Everything went smoothly on the ~1hr flight down. We landed at SC79 Bermuda High and parked the RV-6 at the end of the field next to a nice red & white Aeronca Champ that the tow pilot had flown in. Soon after we were greeted by a staff member in a golf cart to take us to the clubhouse.
The staff there already had a number of gliders out, as they were doing a checkride and prepping for a couple rides for visitors later that day. After a short discussion about the day’s plans, they decided pulled out their third SGS 2-33 and by 11am we were strapping in for our first Aerotows behind “Silver”, one of the field’s Piper Pawnee’s.
We both took two solo flights in our own SGS 2-33’s, towing up one right after the other, to get into the swing of things. Our flights went smoothly, but at this point there was not much lift….just enough to maintain “Zero sink” in a few places, which meant about 200ft/min updrafts.
After this, Jon volunteered to be my first passenger, so we went up for a flight with me as PIC in the front, and Jon in the back. We searched around for lift, but it still wasn’t strong enough to let us gain much. We might have gained a couple hundred feet, and some sustained zero-sink.
After this, I did my transition into the sleeker mid-wing, single-seat, SGS 1-26 glider, which was said to be much more sensitive in pitch and have a higher roll rate. It’s convenient that the V-speeds are all the same between the 1-26 and the 2-33….almost like it was designed that way. 😊 The airbrakes are also much more effective, as they are similarly sized between the aircraft, but on the shorter wing of the 1-26, they increase the descent rate much faster. My instructor briefed me on the cockpit and got me “fitted” in the glider. Take-off roll felt quicker than the 2-33, but perhaps it was just my first impression. I made a smooth lift off and tow out, making conscious note to tone down my pitch inputs to avoid any PIO’s. Once in the air, I found the 1-26 a delight to fly. My “test flight” saw me put it thru some shallow and steep turns, the stall series, and some airbrake testing to get the feel for it. By then I was out of altitude with no lift in sight, so I joined the pattern and was pleased to put it down smoothly, despite the difference in sight picture between the gliders.
On the next flight, Jon (in a 2-33) and me in the 1-26, we went up to 3000ft and continued the hunt for lift! Conditions were great by this point and we were getting 200-400ft/min climb rates. We were able to spend quite a bit of time chasing eachother thru the thermals, and at one point I got some cool photos of Jon above me in the thermal as I was trying to catch up.
Flying parallel with Jon to the next cloud.
Close enough to read the tail number.
There were also some hawks, and two other fiberglass ships out playing with us in the clouds (an LET L-33 and a Ventus Ct, IIRC), which made things more interesting. Following the hawks or other gliders into lift is really a cool sight in a bubble canopy. It becomes a constant game to see who can locate and center the thermals better and out climb the other (though, we couldn’t play with the glass ships on flight speeds between clouds though….they win that game everytime due to better glide ratios).
In the end:
Jon set a new personal best, at right around an hour of soaring flight time!
My last flight I came down right around 2hrs in length, only because I had to pee and I knew the school was waiting on me to close up the hangar! When I made the decision to come down, I was up at 4900ft and had plenty of options to play around the cloud bases.
What a blast! I hope more of you decide to try soaring sometime and come join us…it’s a lot of fun.
The ride back to Asheville was interesting as we were dodging storms on the way. Made for some really interesting photos as we passed thru the clear area between two large cumulonimbus formations on either side of us, near GSP. Conditions were very hazy and visibility was poor at lower altitudes, so we were both on alert. However, once we got back north over the Sugarloaf VOR and dropped into the valley, conditions were great and Hendersonville looked fantastic during golden hour.