We normally take our fast RVs on longish cross-country tips, but this weekend's mission was to take some stuff down to Big Bear Lake in Southern California, and that meant we need a bit more room - so the big Tundra got the nod, trading speed for shear load-carrying capability. I'm used to fairly tight cockpits, so it was a pleasure to spread out a little - heck - we even have room and the stability to set an iPad on the glare-shield, as if a three-screen Dynon SkyView EFIS wasn't enough. Continue reading "Cruisin'"

Before and After: Tundra Tires

Tundra on Goodyear Blimp tires

Ever wondered what Tundra Tires can do for a bush plane? Here's a quick summary, based on the first couple of hours of flying our Dream Tundra after stepping up to 25.5" Goodyear "Blimp" tires. The stock tires for the Tundra are the old standard 8.50x6, and they have done a good job for the first 120 hours on the plane. They work great on pavement and improved gravel or turf strips--but they get a little nervous when the landing surface gets rougher and less improved. Or maybe its just the pilot that gets nervous--it can be hard to tell.

Continue reading "Before and After: Tundra Tires"

The Trip Home

Over Vetterman's Shoulder

One of the great things about flying your own airplane to AirVenture and back is that you get to fly a bunch of cross-country, especially if you live 1500 miles away across the great western United States. I have made the return journey in a single day--its long, but it works because you gain two hours--but this year I had a stop to make in Hot Springs, South Dakota to visit old friend and homebuilder Larry Vetterman. I wanted to take a look at his new O-320 powered Panther, and it is gorgeous - but not quite ready to be demonstrated. So instead, we hopped in his homebuilt Javron Cub (Larry has built fourteen aircraft so far...) and toured the Black hills. Continue reading "The Trip Home"

Three Miles in Smoke and Haze

The top of that mountain is just about three miles from the front of my hangar--and this iPhone picture is making the visibility look better than it appears to the naked eye. Such is how we'll start out our Oshkosh trip if the smoke persists until morning. There's a big wildfire over the Sierra near Yosemite, and the smoke is settling over on the Nevada side. No winds, so it just chokes the valleys. Continue reading "Three Miles in Smoke and Haze"

Ninety Knots to Oshkosh

The 32-page NOTAM is an absolute must if you're flying an aircraft to Oshkosh.

Practice, practice, practice - it's what we all tell folks to do before they head to the Fiske Arrival and the great AirVenture experience! Flying in to the "the show" is a bucket list item for most pilots, and it requires you to be sharp--but is flying at 90 knots enough?

I went out this morning and did my usual annual tune-up, and here is my routine. Yes--you need to be able to fly your airplane at 90 knots if it is capable of doing so safely.  So getting used to the speed again (how often do you do this?) is useful. But I just holding speed isn't enough--you need to be able to do it while holding altitude, staying directly over a line on the ground (on the actual arrival, it's the railroad tracks), and look outside for traffic--all at the same time.

Continue reading "Ninety Knots to Oshkosh"

Van's New Secret Project

I recently got a call from Van's Aircraft saying they had something I really needed to see--so I saddled up my favorite cross-country machine and had a wonderful flight from my Nevada base up to northwestern Oregon this morning. Gorgeous day to fly over the pine forests and among the still-snowy volcanoes along the Pacific rim! Continue reading "Van's New Secret Project"