Posts Tagged ‘LSAs; Light Sport Aircraft; Fun To Fly; sport pilot’

Barstow: the last fuel stop

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

About the only thing I knew about Barstow, California, was that it was the subject of a quote from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. When Patrick and I landed at Barstow-Daggett airport last Thursday, it represented an important milestone for the Fun to Fly Remos’s trek out West: our last fuel stop before Santa Paula. This leg from Sedona, Arizona, also provided some of the starkest terrain of the trip–mottled, grey-brown stretches that more closely resembled the surface of the moon than Earth.

Thirty miles out from the airport, splotches of green had begun to show up on the Garmin 496, and we decided we’d check the weather thoroughly before taking off again. Having come so far, we didn’t want to fall prey to get-there-itis. An Army helicopter maneuvering in the vicinity offered to let us get in first, saying, “I’m sure you’re faster than I am.” We laughed and said, “Probably not.” On final to Runway 26, Patrick hit the PTT switch to bring up the VASI–nothing. And we heard a laconic voice on the unicom say, “It doesn’t do any good.”

The voice belonged to our lineman, who came out to help us fuel up and directed us to the FBO behind the FBO–a brand-new pilot lounge with weather computer situated behind a trailer. As I was fueling–which can be a lengthy process with the Remos–he explained that the pilot-controlled lighting doesn’t activate until dusk. Of the 87-degree temperature, he observed: “Don’t let this fool you. In July and August it gets to be 115 degrees. ”

But it wasn’t 115 degrees that day, and the Remos did fine with a climb to 8,500 to take us over the ridges and mountains. The last bit of excitement was a call from Los Angeles Center advising us that a Southwest 737 was at our six o’clock, 1,000 feet below and 10 miles behind. The rational part of my brain knew that was plenty of separation. The other part–the part that hates turbulence–worried about the possibility that a wake vortex might, on this occasion, decide to travel upwards. It didn’t happen.

Snug as a bug

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Tanis Aircraft President Bob Krueger (left) inspects the installation of the new preheater with Senior Editor Dave Hirschman.

Tanis Aircraft President Bob Krueger (left) inspects the installation of the new preheater with Senior Editor Dave Hirschman.


Just before we launched for Sebring, Florida, and 80-degree temperatures last month, the 2010 Fun to Fly Remos was outfitted with a new engine preheating system, courtesy Tanis Aircraft Products. (See “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” February 2010 AOPA Pilot.) When the temps drop, you simply plug in the preheater (the plug can be reached through the oil access door) and put the blankets on the cowling.

No sooner did we get our heater than we took the airplane to Florida for the U.S Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring. But that was a good thing, because Tanis Aircraft President Bob Krueger had come down from Minnesota for the show, and during one of his few breaks he walked over and inspected the installation. Talk about service!

Now the Fun to Fly Remos is back in its hangar; there’s fresh snow on the ground and more to come; but we’re ready for the cold.

Checkout done!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Winter in the mid-Atlantic doesn’t usually set in until January. Case in point: Friday’s 1.4 in the Remos was conducted in 50-degree temperatures under 5,000-foot ceilings that looked like they might have snow in them, and at the time I thought it wouldn’t amount to much.*

The POH recommends using carb heat on approach. Having spent most of my time behind Lycoming engines, I find myself having to check and double check that I’ve completed that step. Perhaps it’s time to implement a GUMPS+checklist strategy.

*Oh yes…we did get snow on Saturday, and a little more on Tuesday night. Which just goes to show you, some of us should leave the weather prognoticating to the experts, like my colleague Tom Horne.

Meet our new baby

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Now that my colleague Al Marsh has hit the ground running to tell you all about our new Sweepstakes aircraft, let me get a word in edgewise. Welcome to our blog, and thanks for reading. We’re going to do our best to keep you apprised of everything that’s going to happen this year with the 2010 Fun To Fly Remos. Yes, it’s a brand-new aircraft, but we’re still going to be tricking it out with some new cool options, and we’re going to take it around and show it off before we have to hand over the keys to the winner at next year’s AOPA Summit in Long Beach. So you’ll have the right seat on those reports. Plus, we’ll be blogging on all things LSA and sport pilot (SkyCatcher, anybody?). So stay tuned, send us your comments, and enjoy the ride.