Flying across the continent

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Katamarino, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    As part of the preparation for my around-the-world flight, I am intending to take a couple of flights with my new ferry tank after it's installed in February, in order to get used to it at various weights. This will build up to a flight of, hopefully, a few hundred NM longer than the Hawaii to California leg. This will give me solid info on performance for such a long flight, and a warm fuzzy feeling when I set of from HI that I know I can make it.

    My intention is to fly from, roughly, San Diego to the eastern edge of Maine, non-stop. KSDM looks like a decent departure airport, with 8,000ft of runway and not-too-expensive gas. Destination would be KPNN.

    The extra challenge of this, that I would not face on an ex-Hawaii leg, is terrain. I'll be super heavy, and trying to clear the mountains inland from the California coast.

    My plan is something like the following:
    [​IMG]

    This seems to offer the lowest ground. Would be interested in other's views on the best route for this.

    My intention is to take off early afternoon, and fly the first ~400nm across the higher ground (threading my way along the lowest route) before it gets dark. Then fly over the center of the country overnight, to land in Maine the next day.
     
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  2. Joegoersch

    Joegoersch Pre-Flight

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    If you are not used to being awake at night, do not ignore the degradation in your abilities that fatigue will impart

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm pretty used to overnighters, and will be well rested before departure. That's a reason I have planned for the nighttime section to be over the easiest terrain, and for take-off and landing to both be in daylight!
     
  4. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    Seems like a good plan. I assume you would do some shorter flights first to verify everything is functioning properly.
     
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  5. Joegoersch

    Joegoersch Pre-Flight

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    Sounds good!

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
     
  6. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    What are you flying that will allow for a non-stop trip?
     
  7. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    172 I believe
     
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  8. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    He previously stated a 182 with 111 useful. My calculations say he can make it with VFR reserves with a 100 KT tail wind.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  9. Fred Thomas

    Fred Thomas Pre-Flight

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  10. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    So his total fuel on board will be 273 gallons. Should be plenty of fuel to make the crossing even at a high power setting. She gonna be a heavy girl though.
     
  11. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Wouldn’t it be safer to do the non-stop flight in the other direction, east to west, so you would be lighter crossing the high western terrain?
     
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  12. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Indeed, it's a 182 with a big ferry tank in the back. I can't carry the full 271 gallons and be within W&B, but should still have plenty to do the trip.

    East to west is a thought; but I was hoping to do my flights at heavy (but not full) weights leading up to it on my way out west from Pittsburgh.
     
  13. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    Given his chosen route he could make the whole trip at like 8k feet which even a 182 at gross on a hot day should be able to easily do.
     
  14. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    You link says:
    • C182R model
    • Low time (400 hours) PPonk engine
    • 111 gallons total on board (mains and added tip tanks)
    After start, taxi, runup, takeoff, climb and VFR reserves you have 8.5 hours of fuel. You can’t do 2300 NM non stop in 8.5 hours in a 182R.
     
  15. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    What GA piston airplane you flying that has a 1800# useful load?
     
  16. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    I fly a Questair Venture with a 700 lb useful load. Not sure what that has to do with this thread but there ya go..
     
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  17. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    For those who aren't aware, and haven't properly read the other linked thread:
    • Airplane will have a 160 gallon ferry tank in it, in addition to the 111 in the wings.
    • Airplanes can be flown over MTOW; I'll be about 25% over, and will have all the required paperwork for the ferry system and operations. Cessna has a blanket approval to go up to ~30% over MTOW for ferry purposes.
    Luckily, I am able to do basic arithmetic and this will not be my first ever time in a C182, so I do realise that I can't fly 2500nm on 111 gallons.
     
  18. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Taken from some website I just found:

    The southernmost route is also the lowest one: along Interstate 10 that stretches from the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, California, to the Atlantic Ocean at Jacksonville, Florida. After climbing through the 2,200-ft. Banning Pass east of Los Angeles, it descends through the low desert toward the Arizona border at the Colorado River, and then climbs steadily through Arizona, reaching about 2,500 ft. at Tucson. It continues climbing into the mountains with elevations up to 5,000 ft. and crosses the Continental Divide in southern New Mexico at around 4,500 ft. After crossing the Divide, it descends southeastward toward El Paso, Texas. There, you need to follow the interstate to fly around the south ends of restricted areas R-5103 and R-5107 (the White Sands Missile Range).

    It's hard to opine on the route, because not many of us have flown a 182 at (I'm guessing) 3,800 pounds and know how hard it will be to climb. If you want to go the absolute lowest route, I'd be aiming for the pass at the route above. To get there, you might have to go up to Banning, because I think everything east of San Diego is higher than 2,200' (although looking at the chart, not by much). I'd say at some point you'll have burned off enough fuel that it won't be hard to get up to 12k+ and kinda go wherever you want (with the exception of right over the 14'ers in CO), but by the time you're at a normal enough weight to do so, you'll be well past them as far as I can tell.

    Interesting question. Sounds like a really fun adventure. I'd love to do that!
     
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  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've flown over that route you propose, and I think that would be a good plan. I've flown it a number of times, including in the Aztec. I also agree with the point of trying to make sure you're hitting the midwest (easy/flatland before dark). Basically, plan for western Kansas. Just going SoCal to western Kansas in a 182 isn't a short trip, so allow yourself plenty of time. I wouldn't particularly want to fly over those mountains at night in a piston single - I didn't even like flying over them in a piston twin. The nice part once you hit the flatlands is that if you have an engine failure, you can pretty much point any cardinal direction and probably land in a field. Oversimplification, but more or less accurate.

    I assume you'll be VFR on flight following, at least for the western third or so of the country. Make sure that you're aware of the restricted area status in that southwestern portion of the country - those areas are normally active and I get routing around them when coming that direction. Also make sure we have a link and awareness of when you're doing the trip so we can track you. :)

    This goes without saying, but it's hard to have the weather across the entire country be good, so you'll probably have something along the way. No doubt this will be an issue as you do your trip around the world as well. Mostly just keeping in mind when the timing might be optimal.

    Lastly, whatever you do, don't land in Liberal, KS (KLBL) at night! I assure you that the town name is misleading!
     
  20. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    You may want to look into glider stuff. I can't think of them right off hand but there are resources that predict where you can find thermals and updrafts. I did some soaring at this place http://www.skysailing.com/ Good folk and bet they'd be fascinated by what your planning and maybe give you some input and ideas about the heavy Western part of your flight.
     
  21. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    it'd be worth considering supplemental oxygen at night, even if you're bombing along at 5,500 feet most of the night
     
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  22. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Timing: Wouldn't a cool ambient temp be important for take off and climb out when way overweight? ie, early am?
    Direction: if fuel is going to be tight, winds aloft might be a consideration? (west to east typically better around here.
     
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  23. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    It would be interesting to run the math on how temp and winds affect angle of climb. Colder gives ya better rate which will give you better angle, everything else being equal. But tail winds will reduce the angle. Some wind on the nose for a few minutes to get him up that turns into wind on the tail once he's up there might be ideal.
     
  24. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    I don’t how you are going to handle sleeping, but on my singlehanded sailing trips I use this:
    Screaming Meanie 110 Alarm Timer TZ-120 - Assorted Colors https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001654K4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_--PgCbD9CR9DK
    Not sure how well it would work in a plane, you’d have to have it close to your head(ears). It puts out 120dB, my plane noise levels is 95dB FWIW.
     
  25. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    True but winds favor west to east.
     
  26. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    True, but he’s testing a flight configuration, not just trying to traverse the US. In fact, using up more fuel due to a headwind would give him a broader range of flight characteristics.
     
  27. Warlock

    Warlock Line Up and Wait

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    I would continue south past El Paso and the Davis Mountains then turn North...more outs and less terrain...but either way is fine...
     
  28. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 Pattern Altitude

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    BZA GBN SSO EWM route highest elevation is 7582. In my J would take 17 hours and 142 gallons.
     
  29. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    My plan was to not sleep - I don't trust my STEC-30 quite that much!!
     
  30. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Katamarino,

    Do as you wish, but I would suggest you look at page 6-13 of the POH and extend the graph for your loading situation. Your loading has you on the ragged edge if balanced properly and the plane will be difficult to control with a very narrow margin for error.
     
  31. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    With that much fuel onboard, you may consider swapping out for a small nuclear reactor instead... that should save you some weight.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
     
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  32. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    The fuel setup is fully engineered and signed off by a DER with proper paperwork, and well within weights that countless other 182s have flown at on long flights such as this; so while it needs to be approached with care, there's no doubt that it can be safely done. The extra horsepower coming out of the PPonk engine doesn't hurt either.
     
  33. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm thinking of a slightly further south route, bringing me to flat land through NM and Texas. Your points stay valid of course!

    Correct, flight following is the plan! I've planned a route that avoids all the restricted areas; I've flown down in the southwest quite extensively and have had fun threading my way around them in the past...!
     
  34. AuntPeggy

    AuntPeggy Final Approach

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    I have flown basically your route both directions several times in a 172 with the 180 hp engine. Go through the Tehachapi Pass. It is the easiest crossing of the California mountains. Unless the Santa Ana winds are blowing, it should not be a problem if you know you can make the altitude with your weight. Keep in mind that if weather drives you south toward the end of your trip that the Appalachian Mountains might be surprisingly difficult to cross if the wind is against you.

    Oh, I just noticed you mentioned going over NM. Don't forget those sticky-up things around Albuquerque.

    The west and midwest after dark is amazingly black if there is no moon. I am assuming you are instrument rated. And that you have good weather information in the cockpit. You should be prepared to keep up your instrument scan all night. Also, oxygen. Really important. I am thinking that choosing to fly during a full moon has advantages over flying during a new moon.

    I have a problem with keeping focused for hour after hour. On these very long trips, I give myself work such as making a pilot report every hour with complete weather and location information. Also logging all engine/fuel states a couple of times each hour.

    Nevertheless, west to east is by far easier than east to west.

    Good luck on your project. Best wishes go with you along with my envy.
     
  35. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    @Katamarino - I have nowhere near the flight experience you do so what follows are those "dumb questions" :)

    IIRC, one of your riskiest legs is from Honolulu to California (SFO?). So your take off conditions will be near sea level, nice long runway and probably rather warm/humid. So the first thing that comes to mind is to suggest leaving from Florida at similar temp/humidity conditions. I know DA is DA whether you are in California or Florida. But having been to Ohau just once, Florida (too much) and SoCal a few times I would think the Florida departure might shake out any weird aircraft/humidity/performance stuff that you might otherwise not experience leaving San Diego.

    Also, I'm not sure how much water you've flown over (as in hours) but maybe with a Florida departure you could do runs east and west along the northern edge of the Gulf. Maybe just far enough out where the southern US coast line is not visible but a turn if needed towards land would get you there quickly. Or put more simply, do a lot of your final test run over open ocean (with safety less than 30min away).

    You are so comfortable with mountain flying. Why add that to this test run when none of this will be in the flight you will be simulating. And another poster indicated headwinds are good, you're still flying. Will also make you re-compute a few things, etc.

    Just thoughts. Hell, my personal best in one leg is 487miles all over flat safe Midwest with a kickin tailwind. So forgive if these are dumb suggestions.
     
  36. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    If I remember correctly from the book Lindbergh began his famous flight at Ryan Aircraft in San Diego where the NYP was built and tested the systems enroute to Roosevelt Field - although I think he stopped in St Louis.
     
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  37. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Approached with care is a bit of an understatement, but you are soon to figure that out.
     
  38. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is by no means a horrible idea.

    Pros:
    - Better simulation of a takeoff from Hawaii
    - No high ground to deal with until well over halfway.
    - Distance, with a couple of dog legs (let's say X51 - Cross City - El Paso - KCMA) is almost identical to HI-CA. It's into wind instead of with the wind, so should give me a decent margin compared to the real thing.
    - The entire route is in the south, so there's probably less chance of bad weather in March

    Cons:
    - Not such convenient legs on the outbound to build gradually to the highest weights. (Could mitigate by flying up to Maine, and then from there down to Florida maybe, as a "starter").
    - I then have to fly all the way home again!
    - Would put more hours on the airplane overall.

    It's definitely an option I'm going to give serious thought to, and might well end up switching too. Nice one!

    My longest over-water has only been the Mediterranean, so far. I've flown a lot through West Africa though, where going down in the jungle would be just as much of an issue as going down at sea, and just as remote. Similar goes for the northern Canada legs.

    I don't really see any advantages to doing my test flight over water. The idea is to get more used to, in greater safety, how the aircraft will perform. Admittedly if I have an engine failure and have to ditch that would give very valuable real life experience - but it would also be quite inconvenient in terms of having to find a new airplane!!
     
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  39. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Before I flew the Maule from Rotterdam down to southern Egypt I had a few naysayers too, UK weekend-warrior flyers who'd never been more than an hour from home base, telling me with great conviction how it would be impossible and I was stupid to attempt it. I was somewhat vindicated in being able to send them a couple of nice photos of us flying over the pyramids, and landing at Luxor. I had similar people telling me I'd surely wreck if I tried to fly a 172 across the country and back with 150 hours in my logbook; it went without a hitch. If I'd listened to these people, I'd never have had any of these adventures.

    Your concern is for sure appreciated, and I welcome everyone's input as I can by no means think of everything. @Sinistar 's post is a good example! I'm not jumping into this uninformed though. I have been taking advice from plenty of pilots who have done the exact same thing, ferry tank specialists, flight clearance experts and so on, and taking appropriate training such as ditching and sea survival. With 2,500 hours doing this kind of flying, as well as 250 hours in this airplane since I bought it a year ago, I'm confident that it can be done safely. I certainly hope to be able to come back here in 2020 and post some nice pictures from along the way to put your mind at rest.

    I don't know if you have done these kind of flights, but if you have I'd be very keen to talk in more detail about it and learn from your experiences. No such thing as too much preparation!
     
  40. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Your flight plan will never work.

    You haven't incorporated a swing by a southeast fly-in into your plan.

    Rookie mistake.
     
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