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Old 01-01-2012, 11:05 AM
Pmerems's Avatar
Pmerems Pmerems is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 828
Default My wife's a fearful flyer but she flew to Vegas with me


Last week I took my wife on our first real cross country to Las Vegas. It was the longest flight in my RV-7A to date for myself and my wife. From Tucson to Las Vegas is a little over a two hour flight. This may not seem like long flight for those experienced flyers but it was a milestone for me in a few ways. I only have about 75 hours in my RV-7A and only been flying it for a year.

First you need to understand that my wife is fearful of flying. When we went to Las Vegas 16 years ago on a commercial flight she had tears in her eyes the whole way. Not tears of joy, tears of fear. So once the RV was finished there was some doubt that she would fly with me at all. We have flown three flight before and all were under 45 minutes. The first two flights went well and she enjoyed them the best she could. Any turbulence bothered her a lot. The third flight (breakfast flight with other RVers) didn?t go as well due to very minor turbulence and landing at small airport in a tiny valley. If fact she said that if our first flight was like the third flight she wouldn?t have gone up again.

My wife wants us to fly to Orlando so she can go to Harry Potter World. She is 48 years old but loves the Harry Potter stories (so do my 20+ year old daughters). In order to make it in the RV we need to see if she can handle longer flights. Additionally I also need to see what my flight time limits are. As I have been getting older my bladder isn?t what it used to be.

We initially planned to fly to Vegas the week before we did. However a serious cold front came in and with it rain. Rain in the desert, go figure. We waited day by day and it appeared the weather was getting better but the winds on the return flight might cause some turbulence. It was getting closer to Christmas and the stress of wrapping presents and the flight to Vegas was too much for my wife so we postponed the trip until the day after Christmas. The weather was going to be warming up substantially which would make the flight and our time in Vegas more enjoyable.

So on Monday 12/26 we left for Vegas. I expected about 38 degrees at altitude but it was in the mid 50?s. There must have been a temperature inversion all along our flight so it was very comfortable with no turbulence at all. We flew up the Colorado river over Lake Havasu, Bulhead city and then into Henderson. My wife enjoyed the view and in general enjoyed the flight. On the way back we had a 26 knot tailwind so we dashed home.

My wife was proud of herself and bragged to everyone we met in Vegas that we flew up in our plane. She still isn?t that comfortable in the plane yet but she is excited about traveling to new and exciting places. The kids are out of the house and we need our own adventures.

Things I learned on the trip.

1. Make sure you know your bladder range and bring whatever is needed to extend it.
2. Autopilot-Don?t leave home without it. It really made the flight enjoyable.
3. It costs about $50 to take a cab from the strip to Henderson. There is only a free shuttle from Henderson to the strip.
4. Don?t be afraid of Class B airspace- Vegas approach was very helpful and allowed me into their space if I needed.
5. Henderson Executive is a very nice airport and great people.
Dream it, Build it, Fly it

Paul Merems (EAA Tech Counselor, EAA Sheetmetal Workshop Instructor/Volunteer 18 yrs)
ExperimentalAero-HANGAR BANNERS
RV-7A (Flying since 2010)/RV-4 (sold 1990)
Tucson, Arizona 85749
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:37 AM
Mile High Relic Mile High Relic is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Denver area
Posts: 278

Originally Posted by Pmerems View Post
My wife was proud of herself and bragged to everyone we met in Vegas that we flew up in our plane.
That's awesome.

Congrats on the first long x-country.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:44 AM
Ron Lee's Avatar
Ron Lee Ron Lee is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,275

Excellent. Do go out of your way to make the wife comfortable. Pillows. Blanket. Shoe/sock warmers.

Avoid summer afternoon flying.

Learn about wind turbulence in mountainous areas.

On board music is good too.

Check out the Trip Reports section. Lots of places to go and things to see/do.

"In order to make it in the RV we need to see if she can handle longer flights." It is just a series of short flights.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:15 PM
AltonD's Avatar
AltonD AltonD is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dothan, Alabama
Posts: 1,492

I put in heated seats just for the Wifey. She loves them. Before I could talk Teresa into a trip back home, I made a long cross country to pick up the mother-in-law to bring her back for a visit. She bragged about the great trip. It worked out great, now the Ms. has flown home with me to see her mother. We started out with little trips. Nothing in the afternoon, all early morning or late evening. Avoid windy days.
Alton DeWeese
N526RV RV7A Tip Up, IO360 180 W/Hartzel BA prop.
Flying ~950 hours since Aug 2010

Construction Log
?The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.?

?Mark Twain
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:53 PM
MauiLvrs's Avatar
MauiLvrs MauiLvrs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: KTCY
Posts: 643

Fantastic .... Sounds like she graduated to cautious flyer
Dave & Trina
RV-9A Flying - 330 Hrs. Painted Finishing the interior.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:20 PM
hgerhardt's Avatar
hgerhardt hgerhardt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: torrance, ca
Posts: 745

We actually did fly to Henderson from LA on the weekend before Christmas and had rain Sunday morning in Vegas. Poor little -6 got wet parked at HND. But, no turbulence either way but did have a 25-kt headwind on the way over on Saturday.

Talked the Hertz lady into giving me our company's Budget rate of $35/day for a full-size, which is cheaper than 2 taxi rides. And, you're right; HND is a great airport.

My wife doesn't "love" traveling by RV much, either. But, we did do a "17-day road-trip-by-air" a year after 1st flight, back in '08, and that was quite enjoyable. Having a stereo intercom with aux input so you can plug in your iPod does help a lot. Only other thing I wish for would be A/C, like this unit. Just a bit more than I want to spend!
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:56 PM
DonFromTX's Avatar
DonFromTX DonFromTX is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: La Feria Texas
Posts: 3,823

You don't need to spend that kind of bucks, you can make one in an aftenoon for a very few bucks. My brother has made them for all of his electric cars.
Originally Posted by hgerhardt View Post
Only other thing I wish for would be A/C, like this unit. Just a bit more than I want to spend!
A&P, PP-SEL, Pathological Flier, EAA Technical Counselor
EAA Chapter 595 President,
Retired US Army Officer
RV12 built and flying
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:11 PM
frankh's Avatar
frankh frankh is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Corvallis Oregon
Posts: 3,547
Default Cool

I remember my first 1000 mile XC..Scared me to death, funny thing was I never thought about it all during the build..then suddenly the day came that my Wife reminded me wht we built the airplane..Gulp..

Its a right of passage..just don;t forget that PLB over remote areas..lits of those between Corvallis and Denver.


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Old 01-01-2012, 03:14 PM
Captain Avgas Captain Avgas is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 2,011

Originally Posted by Pmerems View Post

My wife 48 years old .
I'm not sure if your wife is being brave by flying.....but you're definitely being brave by revealing her age on a public forum.
You’re only as good as your last landing
Bob Barrow
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Old 01-01-2012, 03:42 PM
vfr800 vfr800 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: near Dayton, OH
Posts: 198

Originally Posted by Captain Avgas View Post
I'm not sure if your wife is being brave by flying.....but you're definitely being brave by revealing her age on a public forum.
But no woman ever looks her age when she flies in an RV! Those who fly RVs get this as a nice perk. I thought this was a well-known fact among RVer's... I think Van just forgot to put it on his website.

RVs bring out the younger spirit in us all! . Shoot, this may even apply for males, too.

Congrats on the stepping stone flight -- I can relate and appreciate those steps of progress.
Ryan M
VAF donation next due June 2022
(Exempt but worth it!)
Prior partner in RV-9a & RV-10
Now flying RV-10 #40515

Last edited by vfr800 : 01-01-2012 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Wording
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