Florida to Washington

Screen shot of Foreflight route to Arlington, and close up of route across the mountains.

N75LN made the trip from Florida to the Arlington Fly-in this year. Even though we averaged 20-knot headwinds on the flight there, and had to divert around lots of weather, we had a great time. We took a day off from flying to visit Mount Rushmore, which was much more interesting than I anticipated, and Custer State Park. WestJet Air Center at Rapid City Regional was a good place to keep the airplane in a hangar for two nights.

Kalispell (S27) WAS a nice stop. Tied down outside in the grass, and walked a few hundred feet to the hotel and restaurant. The trip home had some headwind and some tailwind. We easily could have made it in two days, but we took a day to visit an elderly relative in Bartlesville, OK. Phillips Aviation there is always good to deal with, they have hangar space, and their loaner cars are in good condition.

Son-in-law Eric and Granddaughter Natalie Kaltenbacher, left and center.

Some data points:


N75LN has 180 HP and a muffler.

Loaded to within 50 pounds of gross weight, we had several departures with DA > 7,000 feet, and they were all very comfortable, with reasonable takeoff distances, rate of climb, and no cooling issues. CHTs ran about 10°F higher than at lower elevations, but were still no higher than 370°F.

An unattended Montana airport that we visited had a courtesy car provided by the state. Just went into the small building, found the keys, and signed out the car. We were told that Montana provides courtesy cars to all public airports in the state.

Mt. Rushmore.

While crossing the mountains, we went as high as 13,500 feet with ease. Flying close to the aft CG has a significant effect on the feel of the airplane at approach speeds.

Having the time to go where the weather permitted without the need to “get there” is tons of fun. This was my first flight over South Dakota, and I was surprised to see areas with lots of small lakes.

ForeFlight is great. The weather radar was very useful, as was the ability to check weather and fuel prices in the motel at night as well as in flight. I know that some of you still remember “the good old days” that weren’t really—navigating with a compass, ASI, clock and sectional chart.

Washington state mountains, east of Seattle day 1.

Today’s toys are great. I love to hand fly, but the TruTrak was handy to have at times.

Rosen sun visors are great.

My reasons for opting for the tricycle gear was that I wanted to see very well while taxiing (another call-out for ForeFlight for their taxi diagrams) on unfamiliar airports, for ease of entry and egress, and for loading in a level stance. This flight affirmed that I like the tricycle gear. (Don’t give me any grief about real pilots and tailwheels; I have several thousand landings in a Pitts S-1S, and still have more TW time than tricycle gear time. Besides, real pilots go outside.)

To those of you still contributing to Social Security, thank you! To those of you who are retired, I say : Take a leisurely trip in your airplane. You will love it.

Any destination will do, it is the trip that is fun.

At home in Florida, 97FL.