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Guy Prevost 02-09-2021 02:25 PM

Race to Rescue Suri
We have a wonderful two-year old Rhodesian Ridgeback that we adopted from Ridgeback Rescue US. My wife recently came across another puppy with the same foster family in Minnesota. Suri spent the first 12 weeks of her life with her littermates in a 5í square box with essentially no human contact. In her two weeks with a foster family Suri began to socialize and my wife and the foster family thought Suri would be a good fit for us. Plans were set in motion.

We reached out here on VAF and on Pilots and Paws looking for some help flying Suri part way to New Mexico. Winter weather in Minnesota is challenging, especially from a New Mexicanís perspective. Forecast after forecast failed, and then on a Sunday Morning, it appeared that the Minneapolis area would be VFR for most of the following day, with great weather enroute. The timing was too tight to coordinate with others, especially for a weekday, so we decided to do the whole trip ourselves. We immediately packed some bags and by 12:30 were headed NE to the end of the VFR weather.

About 20 minutes from our planned overnight at KLBF (North Platte, NE) while running LOP up high, I began to notice some intermittent engine roughness. Enrichening solved the issue, but I noticed cylinders 3&4 were indicating high EGTs with attendant low CHTs, pointing to a probable ignition problem on those cylinders.

With lightspeed ignition, each pair of opposing cylinders share a coil, so I suspected a coil issue. I waited until over the airport and then did an ignition check. Sure enough, one ignition was very week on cylinders 3 & 4. Iíve been using Lightspeed ignitions without failure since 2008 and dual Lightspeed ignitions (with redundant electrical systems) since my second mag failure in 2010. Nonetheless Iíve learned from others and carry a spare coil. In this case it was un-needed. One of the spade connectors to the coil was loose with a bit of arcing visible on the tab. I cleaned and tightened that up and a runup showed the problem resolved. The yellow connector on the coil labeled 3T, 4B was the culprit and I was re-cowled within 20 minutes of landing.

Trego Dugan Aviation at North Platte Regional Airport, North Platte, NE was amazing. They helped us tie down, listened to my fueling instructions carefully, and loaned us a mini-van for the night. We checked into our hotel and headed off to the local pizza place where we ordered enough pizza to last for the remainder of the trip.

We moved slowly the next morning. KFCM (Flying Cloud, Minneapolis area) was low IFR with ice to begin with, forecast MVFR under an overcast later. This also gave time for the beautiful sunshine in North Platte to melt the frost of the wings. At about 11:00 am FCM was MVFR, the icing airmet over FCM had moved East and the pireps were indicating ice-free transitions through the layer. We were off on what would be my longest flying day ever.
Twenty minutes after takeoff we were over a solid undercast and making good time:

The approach into FCM was easy, penetrating about a 500-1000í thick overcast into MVFR conditions.

Guy Prevost 02-09-2021 02:27 PM

Controllers at FCM were nice and conversational, asking a lot of RV-10 questions during the taxi to Thunderbird Aviation. We spent about 45 minutes on the ground. I quickly filed an IFR flightplan back to North Platte on Foreflight with confirmation showing up within minutes. We then spent a few minutes getting introduced to Suri, eating leftover pizza and dealing with our personal and aircraft fluid transfers. Thunderbird offered up a $.030 / gallon fuel discount, which was un unexpected kindness. In my experience people go out of the way to help if you are nice and youíre travelling with well-behaved kids.

We launched immediately back for North Platte, the RV climbing through the overcast layer in about a minute. Suri and Mom rode in back and each kid got one leg in front. The soft sided folding crate we carry for missions like this remained unused.

We stopped for fluid exchange in North Platte and were airborne for Albuquerque again in 30 minutes, consuming snacks and more leftover pizza enroute. The sun set about 30 minutes into the last leg, leaving the last couple of hours in darkness, over familiar but inhospitable terrain.

The night mode of the iPhone 12 Pro makes these photos taken in nearly complete darkness look like there was much more light than there really was:

We arrived at KAEG (Double Eagle II, Albuquerque) at about 8:00 pm. I flew the GPS approach into AEG even though it was VFR. A little guidance on a dark night is welcome. After a little airplane TLC we were quickly in the truck for the final miles, now a family of 4 people and 2 canines.
The RV-10 continues to amaze. If necessary, it can carry 1100 lbs. We flew 1750 nautical miles in 11.7 hours total. 8.4 of those hours were on Monday. Weather was overall good but challenging for me. The winter Midwest weather patterns are so different than my norm. We donít get good weather with an overcast here except for once every couple of years. I stay instrument current, but seldom get to fly actual. I learned a lot, and for now, am over the Covid induced lack of travel and flying.

leok 02-09-2021 04:08 PM

Sounds like a great trip. Every pup should have a second pup to play with. :)

The 10 is an amazing traveling machine!
Nice write up. I need to do a few of these as we travel.

LettersFromFlyoverCountry 02-09-2021 05:40 PM

If you're ever up this way again and need a hangar and a guest room, let me know. We'll take care of you.

rjtjrt 02-09-2021 06:19 PM

Great trip to get a fantastic pup.
Love Ridgebacks.
For Suri it must have been a big, strange day - look where her tail is in the family photo on the ground.
I know she will settle in when she gets to her new forever home with her great new family.

danny 02-09-2021 07:09 PM

more pictures?
OK, I'm a softy for pups. How about a picture of Suri and her new sibling once they get to know each other a bit?
Had to ask...

crabandy 02-09-2021 11:11 PM

Glad to see a conclusion for this story and another successful RV trip!

Vlad 02-10-2021 06:05 AM

Enjoyed the read very much. Thank you!

Lynnb 02-10-2021 06:38 AM

Sounds like a great trip, looks like Suri took right to flying life! Thanks for sharing.


Dorfie 02-10-2021 08:39 AM

Very nice read and enjoyed the photos. I like the interior finish of your plane!! Too late for mine but would be interesting to know how you did it. Your build link would not work for me.

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