ICT to LGB–The Inside Story

Let the games begin! We left Wichita at 830 am local on Saturday, November 6, anxious to see how the newly-re-engined 182 would fare on a cross-country totalling some nine hours. It was quite a revelation, from the start. We climbed away from ICT at nearly 2,000 fpm–in spite of our weight. But that was just the beginning.

The first leg took us to Albuquerque NM, and would last 3+18. At our initial cruise altitude of 6,500 feet  I set power at 71-percent (the best the engine would put out at that altitude). OAT was +14 degrees C., Manifold pressure was 23.8 inches (the EDM-930 is very precise), prop rpm was 2,500, and we were running at 100 degrees rich of peak EGT for maximum power. Consquently, fuel flow was high, at 19.4 gph.

At no time on the entire trip did cylinder head temperatures blow past 400 degrees. That’s something you can’t say about IO-550 installations in some Bonanzas!

Anyway, here are the results: 145 KIAS, and a whopping 162 KTAS. As promised, we were cruising in the yellow arc! But the air was smooth all the way to ABQ, and it was a treat to watch the scenery go by. I climbed in stages to 10,500 feet just prior to reaching ABQ, so as to clear terrain, and soon we were at Cutter Aviation, gassing up for the next leg to the Phoenix-Goodyear (GYR) airport west of Phoenix. That leg took 3+10. At times our groundspeed went to 152 knots–which ended up being the record for the entire trip.

Oh, and that 300-hp came in handy taking off from ABQ, which has an elevation of 5,355 feet msl and, when we were there, a temperature of 82 degreees F. In spite of the density altitude, our initial climb rate was 1,500 fpm. Not bad at all.

Most of the trip to GYR was spent at 10,500 feet, at 64-percent power with full throttle and a mixture setting of 50 degrees rich of peak EGT. The result was a 15.5 gph fuel burn rate, and a true airspeed of 147 knots.

Transferring fuel from the Flint Aero tip tanks to the mains takes about 25-30 minutes. Each tip tank holds 11.5 gallons of usable fuel, so having the extra 23 gallons for an “in-flight fillup” made for comfortable fuel reserves on trips like this–where distances between airports can be great.

After a quick-turn at GYR, it was off to Palm Springs International–about two hours away. The weather in the LA basin was IFR, so a flight straight through was out of the question. Besides, night would fall halfway to PSP and it was just plain time to end the flying day.

The arrival at PSP was, um, interesting. Surface winds were 310 at 20, gusting to 35. A Falcon jet ahead of us reported a shocking 50-knot airspeed swing as it encountered wind shear on final. Soon enough, it would be my turn.

There was turbulence, but I’d call it light as I started down final. Halfway to the runway, though, and the bottom fell out. The ship sank mightily as my headwind went away and/or a downdraft sucked us earthward. That’s when that 300-hp once more proved its value. A blast of power, and the ship was back on the proper glide path for runway 31L. It took a lot of jockeying to get the plane to touch down properly, but all’s well that ends well, and soon we were tied down and heading for the hotel.

Crossover Classic Sweeps Cessna 182 arrival as AOPA Aviation Summit

Yesterday, I used the route that AOPA is publishing for VFR arrivals to LGB from the east. That meant a leg through the slightly turbulent Banning pass, then on to the Lake Mathews and Santa Ana Canyon VFR waypoints (they’re published on the Los Angeles VFR Terminal Area Chart.) Our initial cruise altitude was 6,500 feet, but after Santa Ana Canyon, SoCal approach sent us down, in steps, to 2,500 feet. Then it was over to Long Beach approach and tower for a landing on runway 25R. Well, not at first. LGB is a busy place, so expect rapid-fire radio chatter and clearance changes. Like my being told to go around for other landing traffic. The second landing was the last, and now the Crossover Classic is parked at the AirFlite FBO–the host FBO for AOPA Summit’s static display.

'AOPA Pilot' Editor at Large Tom Horne with the 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes Cessna 182

If you’re coming by–and I hope you do–then stop by the sweepstakes airplane section of the static. You’re looking for N52832. It may look like a beater, but its Continental engine and Hartzell three-blade prop signal that this is definitely an airplane to watch. See you there!

  • Pat Collins

    Being a student just about to get my PPL, enrolled in Jamestown Community College in Western NY, I am one that is going to change the drop out statistics by finishing the course. I plan to end up with my CFI, Commercial, multi, and ATP ratings. I am also looking in the future to own an aircraft…I think the 182 would look real good with me in it..the whole family, and the kitchen sink! I am 54, just starting out, having fun, and have a goal to reach. One is never to old to make a difference. Thanks for all you do for the aviation community…Pat

  • http://www.finalflight.info David Reinhart

    How much time is one the engine? Aren’t you still breaking it in? I’ve always been told you should keep it up at 75% during the break in, which means staying below about 7,500 ft. in a normally aspirated airplane.

  • Jerry Ozment

    WOW–The 182 is an awesome plane already, but words are not adequate to describe what this aircraft will be when the makeover is complete!!

  • Keith Lanning

    I always dislike it when people involved with sweepstakes planes call the project plane a “beater” or “wreck” or other disparaging names. We all know the costs and difficulties of maintaining our aircraft. Most people in general aviation are here because of sacrifices they make in the rest of their lives particularly finically to be able to participate. My 1969 Cessna 172 is in great flying shape and I put a lot of effort in keeping it in the best condition I can but that said it would probably be a “beater” by the definitions used in the article. I wish I had the budget the sweepstake group has to maintain my plane. Lets all celebrate the reconditioning of a great aircraft with out disparaging the past efforts and challenges of the previous owner. Rather than state “It may look like a beater…” how about stating “Sun and environment have taken a heavy toll on paint and appearance….”. We are all the champions of general aviation and should make sure we present written and spoken comments in a thoughtful way.

  • Grant

    Your trip sounded like a lot of fun. I’m sure it felt great to have a reliable engine out front. Would love to see any additional pictures. Thanks for the update. I really enjoyed it!


  • Larry Jennings

    This would be the one to win.

  • http://www.wingsoverkansas.com Carl Chance

    Very impressive performance statistics. Thanks for sharing.

  • David LeBlanc

    It looks like a terrrific 182. The numbers were much better than the old 182 (N269ER) I flew years ago. Is it still nose heavy?

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Oh yes, David….. the IO-550 weighs about 40 pounds more than the O-470…. so it’s nose-up trim more than usual for landings


  • Will Alibrandi

    Was the full-power cruise necessary for engine break-in? Is the plane set up for LOP ops? The 19+gph FF sounds like it would be a bit limiting.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Will, yes, it can be run LOP–and will be. It’s just that now we’re breaking the engine in, and that means high power settings and a thirst for fuel


  • Teabag

    Sorry, still not impressed!

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Sorry. Maybe you’ll change your mind in a couple months!


  • Tom Korzeniowski

    Tom, that Cheshire Cat grin speaks volumes.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      DE KORZ !!! It’s not a Comanche, but about as fast as one…..

  • John Ritchie

    Wow, outstanding performance numbers!
    Please take good care of my airplane until I win it! :-)

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      I’ll be in deep trouble if I don’t take care of it !!!!


  • David L Mast

    Sounds like the 182 is still the solid IFR airplane to have!

  • Mark Nevins

    I want this plane! Is it a 182Q?

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      182P, Mark ….. a 1974 model

  • Cary Alburn

    There’s nothing wrong with a beater appearance–I’ve flown a bunch of them (although I’m always happy that others look at my 48 year old much modified P172D and say, “That’s a really nice looking 172″, because it doesn’t look like a beater).

    Once you have the Crossover broken in, I suspect you’ll run it a bit slower rpm and less rich (or maybe even LOP, although I still have my suspicions about what that does to an engine), and it’ll be running both slower and less thirsty. But the big thing that monster engine will do for the old ‘Lane is give it better high elevation and short field poop–and that’s good, although a stock Skylane is no slouch in either department. I hope whoever wins it can take advantage of that extra capability.


    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      You’re right, Cary. The high power settings are to seat the piston rings and break the engine in properly.


  • http://www.jschnacky1961@gmail.com jim schnacky

    I think this plane the way I read is wonderful because it can fly faster using less on the power settings also as u mentioned can have the extra needed power when you get into a tight spot…

  • David Brown

    I’m glad you enjoyed flying my new plane!!!!

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      It’s in good hands…. you may have to pry them loose come next summer!


  • R. A. Fourt, Jr.

    Interested in how many inches of manifold pressure and RPMs you were turning at climb out and the fast cruise.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Throttle wide open, 2,500 rpm. Then lean to 100 rich of peak for best power–or 50 rich for normal cruise

  • asaf greenboum

    beautiful story…fly safe

  • http://www.seemyplane.net john cavanagh

    The same exact speed as my 182R/G @10,500ft@12.5gph with 235hp

  • http://www.finalflight.info David Reinhart

    I’ll try again. How much time was on the engine? Was it broken in yet? I’ve always been told to keep a new engine at 75% or greater during the break in. That means no higher than 7,500 ft. in a normally aspirated airplane.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne


      Oh, I’d say that the engine has about 20 hours on it right now. But I do not think it’s broken in. I had to add two quarts of mineral oil at the Palm Springs stop, and that tells me that oil consumption has NOT stabilized. (25 hours or when oil consumption has stabilized is the rule of thumb for break-ins). I’m thinking another 10 hours ought to do it……

  • Mark Keneston

    Just sitting here early this morning admiring my new airplane. (With luck & focus that is) I am hopeful the exterior colors will be a combination of Red,Black, Metallic Gray on White. My wife and son & I are looking forward to flying this plane all around the Northeast to visit friends and family. I am following its progress closely and can’t wait.

    Have fun, that is an awesome airplane you guys are doing this year.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Well Mark, your chances of winning are better than mine–which is NADA because I work at AOPA…… we always like to say that your odds are better than the lottery. You only have 410,000 competitors instead of millions!
      Thanks for checking in.


  • http://www.zuffoletto.com Joe Zuffoletto

    Sweet! I just put performed a nearly identical panel upgrade to my 1998 Mooney Encore… http://www.zuffoletto.com/category/flying.

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