What’s been happening?

Fly, eat, fly, eat, fly, Sleep.

That sums it up.

Bit more detail? Ok, just some brief details. More details will follow.

Navasota to Burnet Muni to Odessa. Next day, Odessa to Cavern City airport. Then 2 days delay due winds and a storm took til Saturday 21st April. Thats when the last post was made. Saturday took me to Santa Rosa route 66 airport then Moriaty, Estancia, spending the night at Double Eagle, hosted by Damien. Sunday was great flying with a number of other local trike pilots and then onto Bluff then Monument Valley airport. The evening ended with a brake cable snap at Marble Canyon airport. Monday, flying continued to Page, then Vallie and Grand Canyon cavern airport, followed by Jean. This was very difficult flying conditions! More info will follow. Next Furnace Creek, Death Valley and Stovepipe Wells. Finally today 24th April, Stovepipe Wells to Kern Valley, which is where I type and will post this. Expect to make Santa Paula today where I will stay until brake cable arrives. If the fog lifts I will also fly over the Pacific, completing the first coast to coast. Just one other coast after that.

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At least I flew a little further…

Tuesday April 17th 2018

The forecast Monday evening, for Tuesday was not good. The morning weather briefing was no better. A full FAA weather brief for each flight is generated at 1800wxbreif.com, a (the?) FAA approved flight briefing portal.

Forecast winds, from the south were 45mph at 2000ft. A sigmet  (a weather advisory containing significant weather information) had been published for low level wind shear (LWS) below 6000ft, and another for moderate turbulence at lower levels. At Livingston, the winds were calm at sunrise, but due to increase quickly during the day to be gusting 25/30mph by 10am. My destination, Navasto (60R) had a similar actual and forecast report. Probably best to wait this out until things improve.

OR………

Go for it, ride the winds and get to Navasto BEFORE the winds pick up…..

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The calmness is obvious from the reflection

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Thin layer of haze seen where the air is smoother

Upon landing at Navasota it was obvious the gusting winds were picking up again, so after a quick taxi around the whole airfield, the BZIM found a sheltered location from southerly wind, behind some hangers. Just in case the wind directions changed, the wing was lowered and tied down.

IMG_0779.CR2The flight to Navasota had taken 1hr 25 minutes to cover just over 60 miles. Not long after the BZIM arrived, Mike from Spinner Aviation arrived. Mike, also a pilot, was keen to find out all about my journey. We also discussed his vacation flight with his father, crossing the Atlantic in his fathers impressive TBM. This happened during 2016. It was encouraging to hear of his experience when he visited Prestwick airport on his westbound return leg. “The service and amenities were some of the best encountered on the trip.”

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Mike from Spinner Aviation and his dad’s TBM

27651949268_cf424c0c49_kMike was then kind enough to provide access to the airports courtesy car. He¬† recommended the “Classic Rock” restaurant for breakfast, which was heartily devoured. Navasota, in Grmmes County Texas, is known¬† as the Blues capital of Texas, something very apparent from the decor of the restaurant inside and out.41479584032_b2ccd3c21f_k

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Winds were forecast to subside by evening. After a few hours hanging around the airport, Mike offered the airport car and suggested a visit to the birthplace of Texas, in Washington-on-the-Brazos state park, a few miles up the road.

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Back to Navasota again, Larry from Air Photos USA introduced himself. He produces canvas prints of aircraft ‘in flight’. Offering to produce on for the BZIM, I had to decline due to logistics, but I promised I’d plug his product instead.

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Larry from Air Photo USA

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More watching the military play in the pattern.

By 7pm it was obvious the winds were not going to subside in time to get anywhere, so a night in Navasota it was. Time was well spent and enjoyable hanging around Navasota airport, visiting the town and soaking up some history, thanks mainly to Mike and Spinner Aviation.

At least I flew a little further …..

Continue reading

When them blow, they blow!

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Monday April 16th 2018

Winds! When them winds blow, they blow.

Gary Berdeaux  of Beachflight aviation, once again, went out of his way to assist me in my adventure. Meeting me at Salt Air Aviation, where I returned the car rental, and then taking me to his hanger, where the BZIM was sleeping, at 0730.

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The forecast today was for blue sky’s and wind. A 25 mph head wind in thermic conditions isn’t particularly comfortable. Worse though, the 25 mph headwind would slow my progress, meaning an additional fuel stop en-route.

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Departure from Jack Edwards was first toward Denton, on Dauphin Island. The flight to Dauphin Island was a nice slow flight. A distance of 28 miles traveled, should have taken 28 minutes at the BZIM’s 60mph speed, instead, it took almost 50 minutes!

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Fort Morgan, Alabama

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Offshore, crossing the channel to Dauphin island

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Denton in the centre above the tree line

Jeremiah Denton (4R9) airport, Dauphin Island was built on land reclaimed from the bay.

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Looking right, whilst on finals to Denton, Dauphin Island

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The BZIM at Dauphin Island

I’m told this can give an aircraft carrier departure feeling, but I guess that would be in an aircraft needing a longer departure run and at speeds faster than the BZIM.

After departure from Denton, I was advised by Gary, routing inland would lesson the wind speeds compared to following the coastline. Disappointed, as the plan was to fly low along the Mississippi River, this turned out to be a wise decision.IMG_0695

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For the short period, where a low level section was flown, the air was very turbulent and the view was not as pretty due to the previous days torrential rains. Much nicer was the area from where False River Airport got it’s name.

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Part of False River, now a lake, which once was a part of the meandering Mississippi River.

The flight from Denton to False River (HZR), for refueling, took 4 hours 39 minutes to fly the 211 miles.

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False River (HZR) airport, Louisiana

Having missed “Tora Tora Tora”,¬†a Commemorative Air Force team who recreate the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor team, at SunNFun, due to my early departure, it was nice to see the aircraft at False River (HZR).

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One of the Tora Tora Tora aircraft. I think this one is Tora.
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The BZIM soaking up the sun at False River

A regular gas station, near the entrance to the airport at False River, was trekked to. The airport manager offered a ride to the station, but it wasn’t far and stretching the legs after 4 hours 40 minutes felt good. The FBO has a nice area and feel with free snacks,¬† coffee and water.

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Next stop, Eunice (LA90) only 60 miles away would allow the BZIM’s tanks to be filled using¬† Mogas (motor gas). This was done quickly and by 1620, the BZIM was on it’s way to Livingston (00R) 160 miles to the west. Most of this area is densly covered with trees. The area is largely swamp land with a few alligators I am told!

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Trees

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More trees, a river and the BZIM

Although Livingston does not have unleaded fuel at the airport, a local gas station just over one mile away resulted in a late evening walk. Even though no fuel was purchased at Livingston, Dan Burrows allowed access to Burrows Aviation building for the night.

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The BZIM in the setting sun


 

 

Slowly getting there

My deepest thanks go again to Gary Berdeaux for all his help, and the laughs!

Today started in Jack Edwards, Alabama, slowly followed by a 50 minute flight to Denton (Dauphin Island). A 4 hour 22 minute flight to False River, followed by a 1 hour 5 minute flight to Eunice. Finally, 2 hours 40 minutes and night stopping at Livingston Texas

8 Hours 57 minutes flying time to cover 450 miles gave an average of 50 mph flying speed. This would have been less, had the gains late in the afternoon not taken place.

Short post today as hoping for a very early start tomorrow. High winds will ground me again later this week, unless the forecast has improved, so updates and pictures will follow.

Time to sit this one out

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After arriving at Jack Edwards Thursday evening, an out of the blue phone call to Gary Berdeaux of Beachflight Aviation brought him out to the airport within 15 minutes. Gary went out of his way to assist finding space in his hanger for the BZIM and then insisting in taking me for a meal and a drink at a local restaurant. Not usually a fish person, Gary recommended the Mahi-Mahi. I loved it. A very meaty chewy fish.

It was at this point I was discussing my concern about getting away before the incoming storm came through on Saturday, otherwise I’d be stranded until the 23rd. Gary pointed out, “but its only the 12th”. Somehow, possibly linked to stress and being dehydrated, I had convinced myself as I left SunNFun that I was on a very tight schedule and I might not make the west coast, never mind the east! I was convinced the weekend coming was the 21st April, not the 14th. Suddenly a huge weight was lifted. I could wait out the storm at Jack Edwards.

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A storms a coming.

Gary could not be more helpful, picking me up on Friday, taking me to his hanger, for me to collect some items, and then to the FBO to get a car hire. Gary further dropped everything, meeting me at his hanger on Sunday and then early morning Monday for my departure. There is something about Trike pilots in America. All have gone out their way to help basically a stranger.

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Edits to this page will be done later.

Departure towards Louisiana today at around 8AM. Hope-full of some flying low over the Mississippi, but an air-met for turbulence below FL100 (no lower limit), may make things bumpy. Landing at Eunice (4R7) for some fuel and the hopefully into Texas and Livingston. 1 hour 20 mins til departure, so better get my ass moving!

To Apalachicola and Jack Edwards

Not the easiest airport to make RT calls to, but the flight to Apalachicola was straight forward. A shadow was seen to pass slightly to the right from behind. Looking up a UH-1  or similar US military helicopter flew overhead 1000ft above.

Since leaving Lakeland and later Cedar Key I had became obsessed about trying to get ahead of a storms development. If I didn’t then this would mean I could be grounded until April 23rd, still in the eastern portion of the country. There was no way I could make this, if I didn’t get ahead of the undeveloped storm that was being forecast. This led me to decide to cut the corner, not following the coast as I had planned.

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Alligator Point

The BZIM was approaching an area with a large number of MOA (Military Operating Areas) associated with Tyndall AFB. Following along the coastline allowed transit below the 1000ft lower limit of Tyndall G MOA. Aircraft flying VFR can fly into a MOA, but if the area is active with military traffic, its probably not best.

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Dog Island strip. An planned airfield, but missed to save time

A PC12 was in the pattern as the BZIM joined tight downwind for runway 14. The surface wind was gusty, but straight down the runway. A very quick turn around thanks to staff, the BZIM was airborne and heading for Jack Edwards, Alabama.

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FBO staff at Apalachicola

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Edits to this page will be done at a later date

Cedar Key and Ms Judy

From this post on-wards, where possible images, in the post will be duplicated in a gallery at the bottom. This will allow clicking on the gallery image, and a full size image will display in a new window. Older posts will be updated later.

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Approaching Cedar Key (CDK) from the south west, the airfield is at the far left of the connected chain of land.

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Overflying at 1500ft, joining downwind for runway 5 was pleasing to the eye. Winds from the east though caused a fair bit of rotor low to the ground and the BZIM floated a bit further down the runway than anticipated. Still a massive amount of space for the BZIM, used to a small grass airfield.

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Upon landing a voice came over the Radio, “You’ll be wanting a taxi” in a deep south American accent. “Yes please” i repield.

Thanks to Ms Judy, two trips to fill up my external tank were made, a third trip to fill my rumbling belly.

During these trips, three other aircraft arrived Ms Judy ferrying us back and forwards into town.

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On the final journey Ms Judy gave a quick tour of the area. Describing how things had changed over her time, due to storms and “them up there in New York” buying up the property. Property prices went up, taxes went up and cost of living went up, forcing many who work in the area to move in land, and commute.

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Returning to the airport, sitting eating my burger and fries, it felt sad to be leaving such a beautiful area so quickly. I could have sat there all day relaxing!

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Leave I must though. A nasty storm was being predicted for when I was expected to be in the Mississippi area, so perhaps it could be avoided by heading south towards Houston, and getting ahead if it. Otherwise, there was a strong chance of being grounded until the 23rd April!? I needed to be further on by this point. (or so I was thinking).

Departing Cedar Key, Ms Judy asked me to do flypast, which I gladly obliged with.

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Ms Judy