Flying over Lake Michigan

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by lancie00, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-Flight

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    I was just on Barnstormers looking at a plane in Michigan so of course I got on skyvector and took a look at the route back home in Iowa. It got me to wondering how many of you fly your LSA or experimental over Lake Michigan. It's only about 50 miles but I've never flown over that much open water and would make me very nervous.
     
  2. orange

    orange Line Up and Wait

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    Water and I don't jive, so I'm flying along the coast, round and round we go. I don't care how much more fuel/time it costs me.
     
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  3. vontresc

    vontresc En-Route

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    Are you willing to fly at night over mountainous or wooded terrain? It's a matter of how much exposure you are willing to put up with. If water is not for you the lakeshore route through chicago isn't too bad.
     
  4. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I fly the lake ,can be a nerve racking event.
     
  5. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Not in a homebuilt or experimental, but I've flown over Lake Michigan in a single, (<---that one in fact) under 10,000MSL, every month of the year, day vmc day imc, night vmc, and night imc, well over a hundred times. The last time I crossed it, I was punching through a hole t-storm line but the hole was still IMC. That route was from a little north of MKE to BIV at 5,000MSL. Didn't think twice about it.

    If you have concerns flying over ANY place that isn't Kansas or a runway, maybe you need to look at what sort of piece of crapped out clap trap you are flying - and that goes for whether it's experimental, LSA, or CAR3/Part 23.
     
  6. mscard88

    mscard88 Final Approach

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    Flew over in a Warrior I think (in the 80s) crossing just south of Green Bay to around Traverse City. I felt fine but the guy riding with me didn't appreciate the 'does that engine sound right'....'what was that Ed?'...

    There's at least one other thread on this somewhere if you so desire.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  7. rwellner98

    rwellner98 Line Up and Wait

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    I'm also not experimental, but I have no concern about flying over the lake in my Maule. I get high and spend only a small portion of the trip beyond gliding distance. I carry a life preserver and if I ever wanted to do it when the lake is colder would add a raft.
     
  8. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Line Up and Wait

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    Ways to mitigate; fly high, maybe with FF, take a preserver, there are usually a few ships out away from shore. In the later Summer you should survive in the water for a while anyway, unlike Winter.

    Don't take a plane with ANY mechanical abnormality, which goes with most flying. Don't run out of fuel.

    If I have friends or family onboard, I'd be more inclined to go around. Maybe not though if I can find a 40 kt tailwind at 11,500 heading East.

    I could see reasonings with around or over, depends on a handful of factors.
     
  9. asgcpa

    asgcpa En-Route

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    Lakeshore is a nice scenic route....south or north of. Chitown. West to IA.
     
  10. Shepherd

    Shepherd Pattern Altitude

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    If you live on the coast in the Northeast and you like Cape Cod or Maine you fly over the Atlantic Ocean. No way to avoid it. Most of the time I fly an LSA.
    The plane doesn't fly any different over water.
    I don't even carry a life vest. I suffer from Cold Urticaria (I'm allergic to the cold) so if I ditch, I'm dead in five minutes anyway.
     
  11. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Flown across the Great Lakes and open ocean countless times in a single, often in IMC. The trick is to learn to recognize and ignore the Automatic Rough and enjoy the ride.
    I and my pax wear life vests when crossing a lot of water, however. Adds to the sense of adventure. :)
     
  12. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Survivorship bias is inevitable, for answers to that question.

    Because dead pilots can't tell their own story.
     
  13. DGlaeser

    DGlaeser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've flown my RV-7A across the lake for the past 8 years to Oshkosh. I have flotation gear of course. If the engine has been running for the last hour, it will probably run for another 15 minutes across the lake :)
     
  14. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Line Up and Wait

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    Catalina's only a 22-mile crossing, but going over water does give me the heebie-jeebies. I'll do it soon, but with 8500' MSL minimum at the midpoint. Engine-out scenario, I figure I'd glide either back to shore, or ditch near Avalon harbor where kindly boaters could come to my assistance.

    50 miles? Not for me, but risk assessment is a very personal thing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  15. tawood

    tawood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just did it last week in my Cherokee, and I have done it before in an experimental (Tri-Q2). I get uneasy, but I try to stay as high as possible. In the past I've used "Lake Reporting", but when I requested it last time from FSS, they told me it was no longer available...when did that end?
     
  16. vontresc

    vontresc En-Route

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    Barb who used to be on here used to fly her Tri-Pacer over the lake. She showed up at 6Y9 on year, and we asked how high she was on the crossing. Her answer was classic. She was at 500' because the view was great, and with the glide ratio of the Tri-Pacer it wouldn't make much difference if she was much higher.

    :D
     
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  17. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    2010 Fly-in I was asked by Adam and Adam if I got any spray in my prop on that crossing. 80kt headwind at altitude, homey don't play that.
     
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  18. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Line Up and Wait

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    Also not a homebuilt, and wasn't planning it this way, but we 'cut the corner' coming home from OSH. Totally get what you're saying, and it wasn't the happiest moment in my life either. Gary tower called us up and asked us how the conditions were where we were and we had to honestly tell him, 'pretty good!' Chicago1.JPG
     
  19. Datadriver

    Datadriver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    THIS:rollercoaster:
     
  20. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Line Up and Wait

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    Reminds me of an old joke. How do you make a scary roller coaster even more thrilling?

    Remove two bolts. :D:eek:o_O
     
  21. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pre-Flight

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    I've flown over Lake Michigan many times. Almost always in the summer. Never in the winter. And I was doing it in a 182RG which is like a big water ski with the wheels up. Not sure if I would have done it in a fixed gear.
     
  22. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-Flight

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    I've done it a bunch and have zero qualms about doing so in my RV. Doing a search of the NTSB database for crashes into Lake Michigan and narrowing them down to non-preventable mechanical issues convinced me there is little or no added risk to going overwater as the bulk of the accidents revolve around VFR-into-IMC, fuel mismanagement, suicide (there were a couple of those), and poor maintenance issues (like ignoring a mandatory service bulletin or AD).