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Old 08-21-2016, 06:38 AM
Vlad's Avatar
Vlad Vlad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 8,443
Default Journey Of A Lifetime (long)

It took me two years to get ready. Enormous amount of planning and training went into it. I wanted to do something different on this trip. I wanted to use my airplane not as a means of my body delivery from point A to point B but rather as a sightseeing platform. I wanted to stretch the route legs as far as I could. To places off beaten paths, where very few homebuilt aircrafts ever been if any.
I wanted to prove to those who are still making decisions to build your own aircraft or not and for those hesitant to leave the home state. Build and go! If I can do it anybody can.

That's how my 20 days odyssey looked like when I planned it.

The plan was to fly every day unless adverse weather prevents it. I budgeted hotels along the route. To get a good night sleep was Task #1. I could skip a meal but I must have a decent rest.

The sightseeing platform is Day VFR RV-9A. Since manufactured in 2011 she accumulated more then 2,000 enjoyable hours. She has a carbureted Lycoming engine and a wood propeller. Platform driver is a Private Pilot who mostly works during the day, flies in the evenings and sleeps at night. He is also a weekend warrior and not instrument rated.

Let's see what came out of this grand plan.
Where is N666BK?

Не имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:08 AM
RKellogg RKellogg is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Newark, IL
Posts: 287
Default Ahhhhh....!

This is going to be good. Lemee go get a large mug of coffee...
Thanks, Vlad!
- Roger
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:32 AM
Steve Melton's Avatar
Steve Melton Steve Melton is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 3,530

agree, this is much better than the movie theater. where's my popcorn?
Steve Melton
Cincinnati, OH
RV-9A, Tip-up, Superior O-320, roller lifters, 160HP, WW 200RV, dual impulse slick mags, oil pressure = 65 psi, EGT = 1300F, flight hours = 900+ for all

Simplicity is the art in design.
I was born an airplane nut. I have no explanation for it.
My Artwork is freely given and published and cannot be patented.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:55 AM
Vlad's Avatar
Vlad Vlad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 8,443
Talking Day 1 And Three Quarters

My airplane was ready gear packed a day prior. I managed to get all work done an hour early without lunch break. Whew!!! Let's run out of this sweat shop as far as I can!

My first stop was Lansing, MI. My good old friend and an RV9A builder Rocky is still deployed there. Working on a huge construction project instead of building his own aircraft. Come here Rusky, said Rocky, you will be gassed, fed and well rested.

It was a great evening. We toured his job site, had a nice dinner at the best restaurant in town then went to a movie theater to watch the latest Star Trek.
I had a good night sleep. Early morning Rocky fueled me and I blasted off westbound. The Big Show of Oshkosh was still in full swing when I crossed Michigan Lake from Ludington to Manitowoc.

I landed at two grass strips in Wisconsin then headed to Superior KSUW for a lunch break.

Nice taxiway markings.

Couple hours more and two more grass fields under my belt.

One being Fort Peck, Montana.

The day of great flying ended at Chinook, Montana. Outside air temperature was on the warmer side as it usually is in July. A short walk to town and I was in a cozy and cool room at the lodge right under that water tower. It has a decent Asian restaurant and they served some fine spirits.

Day 1 3/4 was great. Later in the evening I walked to the airport through this small town. Just to check on my airplane tiewdowns. Local mosquitos were vicious. It looks like they liked those couple promille of alcohol in the blood.

Where is N666BK?

Не имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.

Last edited by Vlad : 08-24-2016 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:11 PM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 8,443
Talking Day 2. Big Sky of Montana and The House of Troy

If you have an airworthy airplane, completed your BFR and never been to Montana, take a couple days off and go! One of the prettiest and friendliest places to fly. Flying in Montana never gets old you can even legally land on an adjacent road if you find a strip like Russian Flat is too rough.

I did visit one of the newest airstrips in US. M42 Russian Flat brought my first crack in nose wheel fairing. I looked through registration log and didn't see any RV listed. I am the first one I guess. Took a little hike very pretty place.

I landed at a big airport for fuel then flew to a picturesque location by Lewis Lake 7S7. Walked to town for a cup of coffee stretched my legs and in an hour or so was airborne again. I was heading to Cut Bank, Montana to meet the second ship who will join me on this mega trip.

Cut Bank was hot and friendly. Chip Diggins my wingman finally caught on me. He departed Boston area one day later zigzagging around lines of T-stoms. We will stay united for at least 18 hours.

Next run was to Del Bonita for Canadian Customs. We both hold CANPASS but Chip was going to Canada first time and had to meet the officers. There is a grass runway in Whetstone, Montana which has two identifiers and located between two outposts. That was our next stop to meet Canadian CBP.

Customs invited us to their building for some paperwork and we were heading north shortly. Weather was looking sketchy by Calgary and we decided to divert to High River instead of Vernon. Troy Branch, a serial builder and an avid traveller, shot me an email. Don't be shy guys he said come here and wait it over.

Winds were howling I don't even remember how I landed there. Chip went around and planted his RV on an intersecting taxiway. Troy with the coolest "Follow Me" apparatus scooted us down to his hangar.

We were serviced by BranchAir then Troy took us to a dinner. Later we toured his mansion, had a chat and slept like babies. Tomorrow will be a long day...
Where is N666BK?

Не имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.
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Old 08-21-2016, 02:27 PM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO, Okemos MI
Posts: 2,866

What a great trip. Thanks for the chance to be a part of it on your first day! I can't wait to read the rest of "The Chronicles of a flying Russian!"
Williamston MI
O-320 D2A
Flying N376E
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:10 PM
NYTOM NYTOM is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Posts: 1,189
Thumbs up Been waiting for this.

Thanks Vlad. You don't know it but your one of my biggest motivators. Can't wait for the next edition of " journey of a lifetime".
Tom Norwood
Classic "Short Tail 6A N822PM
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:42 PM
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roadrunner20 roadrunner20 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Andrews, NC (KRHP)
Posts: 1,972

Thank you Vlad.
Inspirational & motivational.
Can't wait for the remaining chapters.
Danny "RoadRunner" Landry
Morphed RV7(formally 7A), N20DL
1240+ hours
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:29 AM
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N804RV N804RV is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mount Vernon, Wa
Posts: 831

Thanks Vlad! You're trip threads are always interesting....
Ken W.
Mount Vernon, WA
2021 VAF Supporter
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Old 08-22-2016, 12:29 PM
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Nedimbek Nedimbek is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 99


If I knew you were coming to High River, I would come down from Calgary for the pleasure of meeting a great guy like you! You are the hero of VAF.

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