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  #1  
Old 04-09-2021, 05:08 PM
FlyinTiger FlyinTiger is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gilbert, SC
Posts: 277
Smile SC to KY and back

Traveling by RV is a fantastic way to get around the country. For any destination this side of the Mississippi from SC I can easily beat total time to fly in a commercial airliner.

My daughter offered to accompany me on a family visit to Danville, KY. We loaded up her duffel bag and my back pack into the baggage compartment. With my "go bag" it was pretty much maxed out. Weighing the bags before we left the house prevented having to disappoint my daughter by having to leave something behind.

I planned a few days before and had a back up plan to drive if the weather didn't pan out. It would be an 8 hour drive if I include a lunch and fueling stops.

Flying the RV-7 would save a ton of hours and allow me to enjoy my magic carpet while performing a needed trip to see family. I needed the weather to cooperate for both sides of the mountains and at each airport (NOTAMS, TFRs, winds, rain, etc). It ended up being a little windy on my way up to Kentucky so I knew our ground speed would suffer a little. Cross winds were forecasted to be less than 20 knots in KY and Danville has a couple of runways to choose from, so it was still a go. I was current and proficient in cross wind landings. One consideration was that my RV-7 would be closer to the aft CG limit than I've flown it on a regular basis. Cross winds and aft CG is a combo worth considering as a challenge.

I use ForeFlight and have two devices that can display my planning info. An iPad Mini goes into the fan cooled mount on the panel and I have a smart phone that also runs ForeFlight with the same information available. I also have a couple of charts in a reachable side pocket in the baggage compartment. Even if the paper charts are a bit out of date they would still get me where I'm going if both electronic devices became unusable for some reason. I look over the route ahead of time, read the AFD info for my destination and nearby airports. I compare fuel prices at my destination and the cost of stopping somewhere cheaper along the way. Most of the time the cost of stopping to get fuel somewhere besides my destination to save 10 cents, or even 20 cents a gallon isn't worth it.

Taking off from SC45, Gilbert Airpark in Gilbert, SC with full tanks in my RV-7 I was limited by the weather. Winds favored cruising lower than the cloud ceiling at 4500 feet on my North West route while over the flat lands. As we neared the mountains we managed to get around a few clouds, staying below them but sufficiently above the Appalatian Mountain peaks. We went around the highest peaks by going a little South of our direct route to stay above the mountain wave turbulence. We were seeing about 150 knots ground speed consistently while heading North West into the wind toward KY. What a treat.

Keeping emergency airports within gliding distance is my practice as I fly over mountainous areas in a single engine airplane whether it be the Appalacians or the Rockies. It isn't always possible, but minimizing the time I spend outside the safety of being able to reach and airport is a goal.

My daughter took on the task of listening to a nearby airport's weather info and updating the altimeter setting and then the CTAF for that airport up. Looking ahead a little we planned to switch tanks at 30 minutes in, right before crossing the mountains, and then after crossing, but always near enough to an airport that we could perform a forced landing if the fuel valve were to fail in some way that caused the engine to quit. With my daughter on board I don't take many chances, it might seem silly, but where I can eliminate risk, I do, so the fact that flying a single engine aircraft over mountains is less than 100% risk free.

The bottom line is that the trip was successful. I got to enjoy a quick trip to KY so we could spend more time with family than driving there and my daughter was there with me, enjoying some Dad-time.
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2021, 06:04 PM
FlyinTiger FlyinTiger is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gilbert, SC
Posts: 277
Arrow A couple more details

At the risk of being obvious or boring, I know that there are some new to traveling in a GA aircraft and even a few lurking that are thinking of building or buying an RV just for the benefit of cross country adventures.

Always pack things that you hope you never need.

Reachable, in my glove box, is my canopy breaking tool, multi-tool, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and charge cord for the Stratus.

Behind my seat in the recessed area, I have my "go bag" that is a Harbor Freight bag I bought on sale, for this purpose. It is just big enough to hold my back up supply of stuff I hope I never need. I've gleaned from other threads here on VAF and from experience at fly-ins seeing others fixing things.

1. Fuel cap. I've seen others break theirs somehow. A spare might be handy to loan to someone or use myself someday.

2. Quart of Oil. There's never a place to buy a quart of oil when I'm out adventuring when I find myself needing a little.

3. Oil spout. It is a compact funnel and comes free in a case of Phillips.

4. Calibrated fuel dip stick. I don't trust fuel gauges on any aircraft. Checking fuel remaining after landing alows me to plan whether I need some, or if I can give a ride, fly to cheaper fuel on the way home, etc.

5. Fuel sump container. I sump the tanks before every flight. Why not? If the plane has been out of my sight then something may have gotten into the fuel. After filling up I let the fuel settle while waiting for the receipt to print out and do a through-flight walk around before getting ready to fly again. Sumping the tanks could catch water from a pump supply. I've never found water in my RV-7 tanks, not even after it sat out in a heavy rain for two days on the ramp in Kentucky, but I have found water in other aircraft tanks. Sumping also allows me to see the color of the fuel in my tanks, smell it, and look for debris even. What does it cost? When it is clean, which it has always been so far, I just dump it back into the tank.

6. Gloves. In the winter they come in handy at the beginning of the flight when its chilly outside. I just leave them in the bag.

7. Angle aluminum chocks. Light weight and effective for RVs with wheel pants. No FBO has a set of chocks that will work on the main gear. It is amusing to watch them chock the tailwheel.

8. Cowl plugs. I have a set I made from foam, with yellow duct tape covering them, with a rope between them so if they fall out they won't blow away, but at least hang from behind the spinner. This keeps birds from finding a comfortable place to hang out on a rainy day while my RV is on the ramp during a cross country trip.

9. Plexus canopy cleaner and a micro fiber rag. I think one of the greatest joys of traveling by RV-7 is the view while crossing our great country. When the weather is good, the bugs are out too. I can deal with a buggy prop and wings, so unless I'm going on a long journey I don't clean the rest until returning home.

10. Segmented Belt. McMaster Carr has belt material that is made of small segments and can be assembled around the pulleys with the prop on. I hope I never need it, but I have it.

There's an infinite number of additional things I could have included in my go-bag, but this amount gives me enough back up, knowing that I'll often have a friend or mechanic with a hangar near enough to get to a tool or other part. If I need something more than what I'm carrying then it will likely involve more than I'd want to do out on the ramp anyway.

The multi-tool in my glovebox can be used to remove the cowl if required. Sure it would be slow, but if it had to happen with no other way, I could do it. The airports about the country where I go it seems like I could borrow tools rather easily. I might pack a few extra things if landing in the back country at strips with no one around where I might go hiking or sleep in a tent for the night.
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  #3  
Old 04-09-2021, 06:46 PM
werxcv01's Avatar
werxcv01 werxcv01 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Brandon, MS
Posts: 105
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I think you have an excellent plan for packing. However, I would have at least one canopy breaker that you could reach while hanging upside down in the seat belt and another clipped to your pocket that won’t be thrown around during a sudden stop at the end of a forced landing. Remember, if you have to exit the airplane quickly, your only survival tools may be what is in your pocket or strapped to you.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2021, 11:34 AM
FlyinTiger FlyinTiger is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gilbert, SC
Posts: 277
Cool Secondary

Quote:
Originally Posted by werxcv01 View Post
I think you have an excellent plan for packing. However, I would have at least one canopy breaker that you could reach while hanging upside down in the seat belt and another clipped to your pocket that won’t be thrown around during a sudden stop at the end of a forced landing. Remember, if you have to exit the airplane quickly, your only survival tools may be what is in your pocket or strapped to you.
Now that you mention it, I keep a 4" folding Benchmade knife clipped in my pocket. It has a nice handle that could likely crack the canopy if hammered against it in an emergency.

I suppose if I couldn't reach the glove box or it wouldn't open, then I'd need a back up way to break the canopy.

At some point we just have so many redundancies the aircraft isn't within gross weight limits, so the balance is just enough equipment to tip the odds in my favor of survival.

The other alternative is just not flying because it is too dangerous. I know people that have decided it just isn't worth it because they can't carry enough redundancies.

They don't want to spend the money on a multi-engine aircraft with dual 750 navigators, dual autopilots and a CFII/MEI sitting in the right seat with you on every flight, so they decide the activity of flight is too dangerous.
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2021, 08:55 AM
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cgeyman cgeyman is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Missoula MT
Posts: 46
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Thanks for your tips. But looking at your plane, where is your ELT antenna? On my plane it is on top. Curious where you put yours.
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2021, 11:24 PM
FlyinTiger FlyinTiger is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gilbert, SC
Posts: 277
Arrow ELT antenna

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeyman View Post
Thanks for your tips. But looking at your plane, where is your ELT antenna? On my plane it is on top. Curious where you put yours.
My antenna is inside the baggage area just behind the left seat.
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