Transcontinental by Archer (Boston to LA)

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by eshazen, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. eshazen

    eshazen Pre-Flight

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    Planning a summer trip in my Archer from Boston round trip to LA, stopping both ways in Madison, WI to pick up a co-pilot. Thinking of a northerly outbound route (I90 to around Rapid City, over to Casper, WY and then down between the mountain ranges to Flagstaff, AZ) with a Grand Canyon tour. An alternative would be to pick up I80 around Rawlins and follow it to Salt Lake city, then down to Las Vegas (but missing the Canyon). What do folks who've flown out there have to say about those choices? Is there anything particular to watch out for flying down from Rawlins past Grand Junction to the Grand Canyon area? Is the I80 route to SLC reasonable for a flatlander?

    For the return we want to go through Tucson, AZ so we would cross south of the mountains.

    Earliest we can get underway would be mid-June, so we expect it to be hot! I'm CP/IA/Multi but no mountain experience other than the White mountains in NH. Well aware of DA issues. Expect to keep the Archer 200-250lb below max TOW.
     
  2. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    No real advice, but if you do carry out this plan, please keep us updated on your adventures. I’d love to read all about it!
     
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  3. Walboy

    Walboy Line Up and Wait

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    Mid to late June is the beginning of the monsoon (daily convective weather...at times severe) season in AZ, so you would have be build in flexibility for that. Generally, there is not much of a problem before noon. Tuscon > Deming > El Paso > West Texas is pretty easy. I would consider assembling some sort of emergency kit (communications, a bit of extra water, etc.)

    An Archer is a pretty capable airplane even in the higher density altitude areas of the mountain west but you still need to respect it. I think it makes a lot of sense to plan to stay under max gross weight at least for the higher elevation portions.

    Winds can sometimes be an issue as well. If the winds aloft are greater than 20-25 kts near mountain ridges, expect a rough ride. My personal rule is to cross any ridges with about 2000 feet to spare if possible. I also tend to follow roads more in the event of an emergency.
     
  4. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Consider flying through monument valley. Spectacular views.
     
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  5. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Cleared for Takeoff

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    If things work out I have a plan in works for the Grand Canyon & surrounding area the last week in March, heavily weather dependent of course. There is a new Grand Canyon chart download available, freshly updated.

    That area will be like an oven mid-later summer. You could alway improvise towards Yellowstone, Glacier Park then the Pacific NW.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you could leave a few weeks earlier, perhaps we could link up somewhere along the way. We plan to fly from Daytona Beach to Seattle in late May for a 3-4 week excursion. We will be hitting the Grand Canyon among other spots. Flying a Bonanza V35.
     
  7. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Both sounds fun, make sure you check out the special chart for the canyon, lots of tours, remember density altitude is a thing. Overall ether sounds fun, might as well check the canyon out.
     
  8. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    At that time of year you have to consider,the density altitudes.
     
  9. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-Flight

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    What is the practical ceiling of your plane?
     
  10. eshazen

    eshazen Pre-Flight

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    I've cruised at 12500 in the summer when it was pretty hot (with a decent load). Climbed to 13500 once, and it was still climbing. At some point I'll take her up and see how high she'll go. I did take another Archer up to 16,300' once, but that's a story for another time :)

    [​IMG]
    Mont Blanc (15,777')
     
  11. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    I had a Comanche up to 21,500 once. Just testing out new O2 tanks and wanted to see how high it could go.

    Never been to the flight levels since. Performance up there with no turbo is.... bad. :)
     
  12. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don’t think you’d need to go that high, did something similar in a loaded 207.
     
  13. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Highly recommend you go with the far-northern route on the way out and stop for a bit in McCall, ID to take a mountain flying course. http://mountaincanyonflying.com/

    You can also fly I-80 pretty easily all the way to the west coast. If you're looking to follow roads, US 151 out of Madison will lead you down to I-80 near Cedar Rapids, IA. Suggest you plan a stop at Norfolk, NE where they have decently priced fuel and an on-field restaurant.

    On the way back, maybe then you can take the southern route and hit the Grand Canyon. The real trick on the southern route is to point at Las Vegas, NM (KLVS) - The rocks get pretty big just north of there.

    Happy to chat more about this, I was based at KMSN for about a decade and now I'm at KUES, about 45nm east of there. I've flown GA to the west coast a few times now, it's a great adventure. :)
     
  14. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Did a similar trip a few years back in a Cherokee 180D. Route ended up being counter clockwise with the starting point in Michigan.
    [​IMG]

    Trip was in July, Stayed below 10,000ft the whole way except hopping over the last bit of hills in New Mexico. I could have flown a bit further south, and stayed under 10,000 the entire trip.

    I have the entire trip documented with daily write ups if you want more info.
     
  15. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I've done something similar to this. One way to go is to go to Roswell, go up to the CNX VOR, then head to Palm Springs with a refuel stop inbetween to keep you out of the real high terrain. Then you can go from Palm Springs through a very easy to manage mountain pass and right into the LA area. Best advice is to plan to stop more than you expect and ground yourself in interesting places. Also try to fly through the high elevations in the morning. You WILL notice density altitude in an Archer at a 5,000' elevation field but it can certainly handle it.


    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/ky-to-ca-in-an-archer-ii-how-insane-am-i.109652/

    The actual route I ended up with:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Seems pretty expensive.

    Id say CC might be a better bang for the buck for some adventure experience / flight training.

    https://www.bush-air.com/school.htm

    Big bear is much more fun, cheaper fuel and just a better experience vs PSP or TRM,
    https://www.bigbearcityairport.com/

    only good fun around there is up in the high desert
    http://www.pappyandharriets.com/
     
  17. eshazen

    eshazen Pre-Flight

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    cowman... wow, thanks for the route and a link to the thread! I'll go over it carefully. I really wish I could do it in April. Earliest I think I can possibly manage is departing late May, when it will doubtless be much hotter. That said, probably we won't go quite as far south as you did.

    Did you get out to Catalina?
     
  18. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Catalina should be resurfaced by then, which will be good.
     
  19. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I dunno, I did a 1-day abbreviated thing there that sounds like it had all the elements of their two-day course, minus about 4 hours of ground. I just paid an hourly rate that was reasonable enough that I don't even remember it... And to this day, that was the best flying and learning experience I've ever had. Being able to fly into the Idaho backcountry is fantastic, and makes it much more than just a mountain course.
     
  20. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    I’ve flown round robin, Las Vegas to Augusta Maine and return. East out of VGT through Page AZ and then Pueblo CO. Need to watch the La Veta pass SW of Pueblo, it was clear with no issues. After that the rest east bound was easy.

    Coming home we went south to Scranton PA, then towards Tullahoma TN, THA. Then west to Sulfer Springs TX, Childress and picked up I-40 to Moriarty NM. Flying west along I-40 is no issue.

    Flying along I-80 should be no issue, if you are concerned about high DA, fly early mornings.
    I had a T-41B, (C-172 with 210HP), and have hit max altitude in summer around 13K feet.
     
  21. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-Flight

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    I don't see any problem with any of your plans. Please include Sedona valley in your plans. It is gorgeous. Some other nearby places that are incredible from the air:
    - San Francisco mountains north of Flagstaff and the volcanic peaks NE of it
    - Little Colorado river
    - Marble Canyon to Page
    - Lake Powell (incredible)
    - Monument Valley
    - Escalante (north of lake powell)
     
  22. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Yep, yep, and yes. All excellent stuff.
     
  23. eshazen

    eshazen Pre-Flight

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    Has anyone landed at Grand Canyon Caverns airport (L37) recently? It's gravel, and there's a report from several years ago which reported that it was a bit soft. Looks like an entertaining stop- fly in, visit the caverns.
     
  24. Morgan Green

    Morgan Green Filing Flight Plan

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    What an awesome plan and sounds like a great time!
     
  25. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Rule of thumb for out west --- lose 10% of your gross weight, e.g. for 2400# archer, leave out at least 240# of stuff.
     
  26. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Tucson can be deceptive for DA, because it isn't THAT high, but gets so damn hot there. Also watch out for runway closures that cause you to take off into less than ideal winds. Get into a headwind as soon as you can to climb and protect your cylinders.
     
  27. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How will a headwind protect your cylinders? :dunno:
     
  28. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Can climb at a higher airspeed, with the nose further down
     
  29. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Maybe it matters if you’re trying to out climb terrain, but that’s about it.
     
  30. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You can do that regardless of wind, as long as you're not pointing at rocks. A headwind or a lateral route allowing for a low climb gradient will both allow extra speed to cool the jugs. Even an IFR Archer in Tuscon can still make it out via the ODP.

    VFR... Well, I'd climb VFR at the desired airspeed, and if that didn't work, I'd go with ridge lift if possible and trained! Did that out of Spanish Fork, UT last summer. Had my VSI pegged at +2000 fpm climbing through 9500... Whee! Not bad for 70% or so power at best.

    IMG_2414.JPG
     
  31. eshazen

    eshazen Pre-Flight

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    Yes, thanks for the D/A and heat reminders. I'd already heard the "10% below gross" rule and we will do our best to follow it. Even out here on the east coast it gets hot enough occasionally that I have to practice my "constant oil temperature climb" :)
     
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  32. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Unless you're heading due north, Tucson area is fairly flat, not much reason to out climb terrain.
     
  33. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    High DA day in the flatlands: "Oh, gee I'm climbing kinda slower than normal. Look at that DA hehe."

    High DA day in high altitude areas: "OH #$&*@! am I even climbing? "

    Also worth noting is when starting up/taxiing/taking off from a high elevation you don't want to have the mixture full rich like you're used to. I'm honestly not the expert on this as I only had to do it once but I just kind of estimated it by setting the mixture to a little richer than it would normally be around that altitude. Seemed to work OK. There might be better methods.