Luscombe Road Trip—Wish me luck!

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by birdus, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Dickeys is a chain. As all chains, some are good and some not as good. The one in Dallas that Ross Perot ate at almost every day back in the eighties was magnificent. Haven’t eaten at any of the others that measured up to that.

    BBQ varies according to your personal taste. The one that you think is marvelous might not be the one that fits my taste buds. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
     
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  2. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I don't have anything pithy or intelligent to say here other than I have really enjoyed this post a lot... thank you for taking the time to do it. Love the Geezer over coffee story... there is one of those in every rural town worth a damn.
    When I travel long distances in my plane (VFR), I am nervous as hell about weather so I don't take the time to smell the roses so to speak... I just want to climb in and go while the weather is good. I think I need to rethink that approach.
    Good work...
     
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  3. samiamPA

    samiamPA Pre-Flight

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    I love following this trip! Keep the updates coming.
     
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  4. ETres

    ETres Line Up and Wait

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    I took time to catch up on this saga this morning and enjoyed every post and pic. It's very inspiring! As a west Texas dweller, I'm quite familiar with Jal and Pecos (and all the God-forsaken country in between). I've also made a couple of flights over to Guadalupe Peak to see the sights (I've also hiked to the summit). It's about time to make another trip over that direction.
     
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  5. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    Enjoying your write-up. I’ve flown part of your Rio Grande route, from north of LRD to DRT.

    When you were flying through the canyons at Big Bend, did you worry about staying in US airspace, or just focus on not hitting the canyon walls?
     
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  6. c177tx

    c177tx Pre-Flight

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    Great reading, I just found your post's I have take kayak trips down the Rio Grande, thru the Santa Elena canyon, in some places it felt like I could almost reach both walls with my outstretched arms. The walls are 1500 feet straight up. To fly thru that canyon would be something to see.
     
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  7. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this post. It means a lot!
     
  8. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts. After flying through some of these canyons, I thought it would be really nice to do a rafting trip through them with my wife. It's interesting how seeing things from one perspective can awaken the desire to see them from other perspectives. Flying through the canyons was awesome. I have no doubt rafting through them would be, too, but certainly different.

    You will see the flying through the canyons, over the Rockies, over the desert, and various places in between. I'll be posting videos on my YouTube channel of the entire trip. It'll take a bit before the first video goes up, but they'll be coming over the coming Fall months.
     
  9. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts. Thanks for saying so.

    I shot for staying on the right side of the river, but giant rock walls (and there was some incredibly unforgiving terrain!) took precedence. Without elaborating too much, suffice it to say that for much of my border trip, there was no one for miles and miles around and no magical barrier between countries.
     
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  10. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Great write ups Jay. Your Mount Cristo Rey image is great, and we used to be allowed to take it from your angle, but the Barney Fife's in my area get their panties in a wad if your 15 feet in Mexican airspace. Ironic that my buddy that also flies a Luscombe got to "visit" with the feds after flying that side of Cristo Rey. Am guessing you didn't stop at KDNA or they would've followed you, harassed you a bit, and then let you go. Between my area (El Paso) and Douglas AZ, has pretty active drone activity also.

    Be interested in seeing your videos on Youtube when you get them assembled ... have a safe flight ...
     
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  11. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks, Dan. Glad you like the Mount Cristo Rey pic. It makes it kind of nice when you have 24 frames every second to choose from (most of the pics I'm posting are frame grabs from videos), although it's more work, too. In all honesty, I do believe I was in U.S. airspace when I flew past that mountain, although there's no shortage of modern Americans who are perfectly okay with destroying someone's life for a victimless crime. Haven't got a talking to by the feds yet, but we'll see.

    I didn't land at KDNA. I've talked to FSS before flights on a couple occasions on this trip. One of them said there was a section of border with drones up to 400 AGL. It was just a heads up. I was in that space, but didn't see any drones. I think that was between Laredo and Del Rio. I've seen only one airborne vehicle along the border and that was the Border Patrol JetRanger I followed for maybe 20 minutes (a couple miles behind him, I think). Other than that, just some ground-based Border Patrol and a fair number of construction workers.

    Thanks for the kind wishes.
     
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  12. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Seconds away from pulling out of my tie down spot at Nogales International Airport (KOLS). I was surprised at the amount of activity here. Pilots, students, some nice folks at the FBO, and a café. It was perfectly calm this morning at the airport, and a very pleasant temperature.
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    Before I set out on my trip, someone in these forums questioned why I wanted to fly along the border. They said there was nothing special about it. After almost having finished this border phase of my trip, I beg to differ. There's always something different, interesting, or beautiful to see.
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    It's interesting (to me) how low spots and (dry) river beds seem to have particularly lush, green vegetation. Obviously, the water collects there after it rains. These strings of vegetation go on for miles.
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    I flew along for miles staring at this peak to the north. It looked very impressive, towering above all the surrounding terrain. It's called Baboquivari Peak. The picture quality is pretty poor, as it's a really tight crop from a video frame from an action cam. Good enough to jog a memory, though.
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    I continue to be baffled at people who live in extremely remote areas with apparently nothing around for miles and miles. It would be interesting to chat with some of them to see how they live and what their day-to-day lives look like.
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    I got a kick weaving through these rocky mountains protruding out of the desert floor. I made sure there was either enough space to turn around or that I could see through the maze. Rocks, shrubs, and sand can be beautiful.
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    On final for 1-7 at Yuma (KNYL). By the time I landed here, it was getting pretty toasty. Even just flying straight and level today, oil temp was skewing towards the high end—never above the green, though. Apparently, the C-85 runs cooler with the remote oil filter, a disadvantage in cooler weather, but a big advantage down here.
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  13. Tusayan

    Tusayan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Enjoying the daily updates very much. The coast is clear this morning :)
     
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  14. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Which location? Black’s is kind if like Cooper’s in that the further you get away from the original location and family, the more variable it can become.
     
  15. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    They intercept immediately or never ... We used to skoot on that side until they started cracking down on us locals. Used to be KELP *wanted* us to fly directly above the river in international space, they called it "the southern corridor" as a joke (there is a real one up to Alamagordo to avoid restricted airspace). Now I fly with the stupid "intercept" kneeboard attachment as they occasionally will follow and ramp check even on all USA excursions. Blackhawk and jets are easy to know what they want, but they have a clapped out C-182 that they use also ...

    The drones used to be required to have a chase plane, but don't any longer. They *generally* are real high and fly about 24 hours at a time. The TFR over San Angelo TX is their "spiral down" corridor to land there ... that's the group that handles the Texas border. The NM and AZ drones I *think* are based at Douglas. At night, NOTAMS will read "Full Lights ON" requirement basically anywhere south of I-10 for both states.

    This has been a great thread, and you've really hit a lot of the sites to see ...
     
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  16. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    I'm aware that Dickeys is a chain. I've eaten at 3 or 4 different locations in TX. Im just underwhelmed with what it was. It wasn't inedible, but tasted like something that you could buy in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. I was just clarifying that Dickeys isn't on most anyone's list of great BBQ in TX.
     
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  17. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Then I guess I'm off the hook! I mean, um, nevermind.

    I actually flew up that corridor to Alamogordo earlier in this trip. I think I mentioned it, although it's all a blur at this point.

    I didn't know exactly what to expect on this trip (finding out limits and what's what is half the fun, I think—the discovery and learning), but I saw only the one helicopter that I followed for a while along the border earlier on. No drones or planes, etc. (that I saw). This morning, I flew over a TFR along the border. It was surface to 500 AGL and was in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea what it was for, but I was well over the top of it, and so not worried.

    I'm glad you've enjoyed the thread!
     
  18. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks!

    I flew along the coast just a bit this morning near San Diego. There were a few clouds, but not many. Next time I hit the coast will be in Oregon, I think.
     
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  19. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    The Black's was in New Braunfels.
     
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  20. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    I know it well, just down the road from us. That’s a newer location, only been open a couple of years. The building was a different bbq joint before that. Pretty sure it’s a grandkid of the original Black that runs it.
     
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  21. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

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    One of the best threads ever on the board! Really enjoying reading and seeing your adventure. One of the best things about GA is the ability to make such a trip.

    Cheers.
     
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  22. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    What a very nice post! Thanks!
     
  23. TheFB

    TheFB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    POA - where a simple comment about a chain BBQ restaurant becomes a thing....LOL!
     
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  24. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Let no good deed go unpunished.
     
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  25. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I woke up to a very comfortable morning in Yuma, Arizona, nestled where California, Arizona, and Mexico meet in a sharp corner, although I did begin to sweat by the time I had my plane ready to go, about 8AM. I was probably too focused on not botching the landing yesterday, but I did notice on takeoff this morning the rows of Osprey V-22s and Jolly Green Giants. Besides being a regular international airport, the airport is Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.
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    This canal runs west just north of the Mexico/California border. I believe it's fed from the Colorado River.
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    These sand dunes extend for around 50 miles to the northwest from Yuma. I couldn't help peeling off from the border to buzz around for a bit. Low-angle light is really beautiful on sand dunes.
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    Fields of solar panels interspersed between actual fields.
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    Downwind for landing at Jacumba (L78).
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    Slipping on final for landing at Jacumba.
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    We have liftoff at Jacumba.
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    Climbing away from Jacumba Airport, California.
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  26. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I looked for the Luscombe guy at Brown Field, but didn't see him. A guy was working on an old car and had a Cessna 195 (maybe) in his hangar, but he wasn't interested in talking. Had a chat with a student who was refueling, too, who was actually from Tacoma. Hid dad lives in Puyallup. After we finished fueling, a guy pulled up in a Champ. We had a good chat for a while. He flies it all over the place, too. I think he was glad to talk to another guy who likes the low and slow flying. He said people don't get it. He was retired from a flying career and has two sons who are pilots in the Navy.

    The end of PHASE II: Tijuana on the left, the US on the right, and the border running into the Pacific Ocean. Flying the entire US/Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California COMPLETE!
    27.jpg

    Today's flight had a few challenges. I flew into Brown Field, a new airport to me, talked to tower, then ground (and remembered to swap frequencies for ground!), got fuel, then upon departure made my special request to fly down to the border, then I called up Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach with a request to continue along the border, then up the coast, then up the Otay River. After turning north, the controller asked me to fly a half mile off shore and at least up to 1,000 feet, as there were a couple choppers on crosswind, not too far from me. After heading up river, I switched back over to Brown tower, then finally left the world of class D airspace when I flew over Otay Lake. I know this isn't a big deal to seasoned pilots, but it was a slight challenge to me. I worked out just fine, though.
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    Descending down to El Capitan Reservoir.
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    El Capitan Reservoir
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    During today's flight, oil temperature got as high as it has ever gotten for me. It was at the absolute high end of the green, butting right up against 220 degrees. On top of that, there were some pretty good bumps, up drafts, and down drafts while flying over the mountains. Climb performance was not good at all. Moderate stress was induced. If I'd been up against these parameters on day one of this trip, I believe I would've been extremely unhappy. Today, however, I was merely moderately unhappy.
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    I flew past Palm Springs, climbing as I went, as I had to get up to 7,700 for entry into the pattern at Big Bear Airport (L35).
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    AWOS at Big Bear Airport had density altitude at 8,600 feet, and, although it said winds were from 40 (about a 40-degree left crosswind) gusting 14, they were variable and didn't end up being that bad. In the airport office, I spoke with a guy there (airport manager?) who was very interested in my trip and spent several minutes discussing tomorrow's route up to Carson City on a giant VFR chart of the entire United States on the wall. He had lots of knowledge of the terrain around here and gave me some tips about my departure, a good route, and things to watch out for.
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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  27. Jill

    Jill Filing Flight Plan

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    The end of PHASE II: Tijuana on the left, the US on the right, and the border running into the Pacific Ocean. Flying the entire US/Mexico border from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California COMPLETE!
    View attachment 90492

    Congratulations!!


    During today's flight, oil temperature got as high as it has ever gotten for me. It was at the absolute high end of the green, butting right up against 220 degrees. On top of that, there were some pretty good bumps, up drafts, and down drafts while flying over the mountains. Climb performance was not good at all. Moderate stress was induced. If I'd been up against these parameters on day one of this trip, I believe I would've been extremely unhappy. Today, however, I was merely moderately unhappy.
    View attachment 90498

    Haha. In all seriousness, sounds like this trip has really stretched your abilities and your comfort factor - and made you a better pilot for it. Nice byproduct of a fabulous trip over amazing scenery and terrain.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  28. Bender Aviation

    Bender Aviation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nicely done. The airspace can get a bit crowded down here, especially if you can't climb 700ft/m with IB just off the departure of Brown. At least you got to talk to one friendly pilot at Brown! Flying over El Cap is always fun - I've never done it below 3500 MSL, it definitely can be a bit bumpy. I'm surprised you took it up to Big Bear.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  29. Tusayan

    Tusayan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don’t go below 4000 ft above El Capitan reservoir :) Too bumpy. You’re a brave man :D Some pretty adventurous flying in a Luscombe, it’s good that you have 90 HP given terrain and high altitude in places.

    If it’s who I’m guessing the guy with the old car and old plane at Brown is the same guy mentioned by another poster above. If I’m correct about that the plane is a Stinson Reliant with a long and interesting history. The Aeronca was probably First Flight’s... also with a long local history!

    It’s an impressive flight, lots of challenges and distance in a short period.
     
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  30. pmanton

    pmanton Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    How did you get the pictures of you in the air at Jacumba ?

    I thoroughly enjoyed riding along via your great photos.
     
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  31. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    It was I that took the laissez-faire approach of "why on Earth would you want to do this?"

    I routinely fly between Phx Goodyear and Brown Field, as my wife and I live in Phoenix and Ensenada, Mexico. I'm routinely in/out of Yuma, cross the border at TJ, and recently crossed at Nogales. I have yet to fly to the Nogales airport, though.

    But routinely I do this with our plane up at 8/10/12,000 feet, and while it's "different" than what the people of, say North Carolina, see on a regular basis, it really doesn't get my attention any more.

    After going through your photo segment, I 110% retract my sentiment. I'm so glad my lackluster response in no way served as a deterrent to your efforts.

    Thank you so much for capturing a greatly different perspective on things that had otherwise become pedestrian to me!

    But I do have to ask - were you able to fly the border West of Nogales much? With R-2301, R-2303, I would think you didn't get to fly that so much.
     
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  32. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Questions and comments:

    1. You don't get to say "not a big deal to you seasoned pilots" anymore ... you've done more on this trip than a lot of 500 hour pilots I know;)

    2. How may hours are you at now?

    3. Did you change oil on this trip? Might explain your oil temps
     
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  33. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks, favorite sister!!! :D
     
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  34. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks! Yeah, getting up to Big Bear was laborious. Overflew the lake on the way out this morning and that was nice. Performance was reasonably good in the cool morning air.
     
  35. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I set up a video camera on a tripod and rolled it! Grabbed a few frames after the fact. This is a shot I had intended on getting all along. Just finally got around to it!

    Great! I'm glad.
     
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  36. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I know. I just didn't see the need to highlight it. :)

    Thank you! That really means a lot.

    I did fly it some. I won't get into it too much here. Infer what you will.
     
  37. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks for the kind words. I still feel pretty unseasoned, but I've made enormous progress on this trip.

    I may or may not be just over 62 hours on this trip. :p Oil filter is supposed to be changed at 50. However, I've added maybe 10 quarts on this trip. I know that's high, but compression was good on my recent annual. There's a bit of leaking (push rod tubes, maybe) and certainly some burning. So, I suspect the oil is relatively clean due to the regular feeding.

    I believe the high oil temps are purely because of OAT and because of climbs. Today, for example, flying at 7,000 to 8,000 (levelish), oil temp was right in the middle, which I believe is cool to most people. Maybe around 170 degrees.
     
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  38. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    I've said it before, and i'll say it again....what an adventure! I missed a couple days so it was fun catching up. I'm a little amazed that a little plane flying along the border for days doesn't draw more attention from the feds. OTOH, I'm a little amazed we still have the freedom to do many of the things we can do in our little planes.
     
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  39. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I'm glad you're so interested, Jim. It really has been a great adventure. Just the right dose of adventure. I don't want too much! I had a little more adventure today. I'll be writing about it shortly. I didn't declare an emergency, but emergency vehicles did show up when I made an unplanned landing at Victorville/Southern California Logistics (KVCV).

    One of the things I was curious to find out was exactly what you said. Would I draw attention from the Feds? Months ago, I e-mailed the FAA and Border Patrol telling them about my plans and asking them for advice and just giving them a heads up. They didn't seem to care that much. When I called FSS a couple times at the beginning of my border segment, they didn't think anything of it. I've also told multiple Border Patrol agents face to face (Presidio/Ojinaga and Nogales) what I was doing and they thought it sounded cool (although I suspect some agents would think I was up to no good or shouldn't be allowed to do it). I think part of the deal is that we're talking about a big distance and huge amounts of real estate, and the government isn't magically omnipotent. There are canyons and mountains and vast areas and it would simply be very difficult to seal it up completely tight. The main people who saw me flying along were Border Patrol agents in their pickup trucks. What are they going to do? I suppose they could call the military, but that seems like overkill. And planes cross the border normally/legally, too, as part of common travel (like @Rgbeard). Probably the most suspicious thing (even though I've just been buzzing around in my little plane having fun and doing nothing bad) is my flying on the deck.

    As far as the freedom, I do sort of feel like what I'm doing is more akin to the kind of freedom that was practiced all the time in olden days. It's definitely still possible, at least for now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  40. Tusayan

    Tusayan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Tusayan
    I think you’ve done very well on this flight and am happy you haven’t had any nonsensical hassles!

    Great landing photos from Jacumba. It’s a place not too many people go and appealing in that way. The County paved the runway not too long ago, to spend the Federal money that was available to them. I haven’t been out there since, must do so soon, and I don’t recall ever landing to the west with the hill behind me. That’s what slipping a Luscombe is for!

    A few years ago a Luscombe flying friend of mine in San Diego decided Jacumba was ‘his’ airport and used to fly out there to play regularly. One day when he returned and called home base to land, the tower asked him some unusual questions. Shortly after landing, a Blackhawk helicopter landed next to his hangar and a bunch of aggressive guys in black got out. They searched his plane, found nothing and eventually left. Then a year of so later he got the same questions from the tower... so he made a short landing to get to his hangar very quickly, ran inside to the refrigerator and then got outside just in time to greet the Blackhawk with cold Cokes in hand :cool: The lead guy was the same as the first time and apparently he looked a bit crestfallen seeing my friend greet his troops with ‘Cokes for All.’ They did a cursory search and left.

    After that he started calling SoCal for a dedicated squawk code for his low altitude Luscombe flights along the border to Jacumba. Sad but true.
     
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