Archive for the ‘Flying’ Category

Planning – Getting it done

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Flying

Today was a good day…

Winslow people shipped the raft with survival gear today and included the desalinator kit as I had requested it.  This raft actually belongs to my mentor, Bill Compton, who shipped it to Winslow from Alaska.  Thank you Bill.

The folks from Star Navigation have been in New Jersey locating and figuring out where to install the ISMS lite system in the plane.  After some deliberations and discussions, we have agreed on the location of the various components.  The actual install will take place when the plane comes back to Birmingham, Alabama for some more maintenance like tire/tube/brake pad replacement and swapping out single yoke for dual control yokes.

The Air Mod people have submitted overgross flight permit application to the FAA today.  I gave them the overgross segments that we will be flying during this trip.  There is a chance that we may need overgross permission for 7 segments….really 4, but 7 to be on the safe side.

Another point that may have to be cussed/discussed with the handlers is the final route selection and our intention of going directly to Shannon/London from St Johns, Canada.  If we get the plane back by next Wednesday, we will go direct, if it is later, we may have to go thru Iceland…..we’ll see.

The folks at Daily Mail in UK published a story about this trip….



The Planning – Useful Load

Posted: January 17, 2014 in Adventure, Flying, Travel

To maximize the fuel we can carry, we must reduce the total load.  So, we have decided to both lose 10-15 lbs of body weight and remove the four rear seats and rear baggage compartment.  We are looking at 100 or 160 gallon collapsable tanks.  With the 160 gallon tank, we get a total of 280 gallons giving us an effective range of 3000 miles with a 1.5 hour reserve and way more options on where to stop and how much fuel to tanker for our next leg.  With this kind of range, we can go from the US to UK non-stop…not that I want to do it.  I have had all of these discussions with my mechanic (A&P and IA).  With this modification, we will have to get a ferry permit for the plane as it is no longer a regular plane.

Now we can start looking at the various flight plans we have been kicking around…..

The Planning – Part 1

Posted: January 16, 2014 in Adventure, Flying, Life, Travel

Before we decide on our route, we need to know how much fuel to carry.  But we can’t decide that until we know the distance of our longest leg.  Well, the longest leg was going to be Hawaii to California, a total of 2100 miles, plus 2 hour reserve in case there was inclement weather at destination.  For that kind of endurance, we would need to at least double fuel capacity from 120 gallons to 240 gallons in our plane.  To carry that much fuel, we have three options, replace the wing tip tanks that currently have 20 gallon capacity to a side and replace them with “dolly parton” tanks with 100 gallons on each side or add metal tanks and plumbing to the cabin or buy the TurtlePacs from Australia, which are collapsable tanks that  could fill up when needed.  Jury is still out on which one we will get and we have a couple of months to decide.

The preliminary flight plan : 24000 miles, 155 hours of flying in 30 days….avg 5.4 hours per day.

The preliminary flight plan : 24000 miles, 155 hours of flying in 30 days….avg 5.4 hours per day.

The route currently seems to be : Indianapolis – Bangor -  Iceland – UK – France – Turkey – Doha – Pakistan – Sri Lanka – Thailand – Phillipines – Australia – Pago Pago – Christmas Island – Hawaii – California – Texas – Indianapolis….. a total of about 24000 miles and 150-175 hours of flying.  This routing will require us to get overfly permits for Greenland, Italy, Greece, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and maybe even Indonesia…. we will also need to pre-arrange for fuel at all of our landing locations.

Route Option 2. It will shave 3500 miles from the trip.

Route Option 2. It will shave 3500 miles from the trip.

Another decision that has to be made early is the length of each leg.  If we opt for longer legs, then we have 17 flying days to complete this trip and lesser stops means not having to deal with some of the less desirable customs and immigration officials in some of the third world countries.  Haris and I need to decide how we want to structure this trip.  I want it to be educational and fun for Haris.

Lots of planning and not much time….

The Seed…

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Adventure, Flying, Life, Travel

Seven years ago I met a pilot in central Texas along with my, then 10 year old, son Haris.  He recounted a tale of flying around the world in his Cessna 210…. thus the seed was sown….waiting for the right plane, with the right engine, at the right time and the right place…. in 2013 I bought a Beechcraft Bonanza, had the engine overhauled by Powermasters, a Bill Cunningham special IO550 and upon his recommendation, replaced or overhauled everything to establish a baseline.  The only thing lacking was a decent engine analyzer….after discussing with a fellow BT’er ( member), Wade Naziri, I called his favorite shop, Cumberland Avionics and discussed my options.  We agreed to pursue installing a JPI 930 as it allows removing 8-9 steam gauges…..small steps towards preparing the Bonanza to allow Haris and I to become first time earthrounders !

The planning for flying around the world started in earnest.  Opened a spreadsheet to record and plan all the minute details.  First things first….Haris is a Junior in high school with about 12 hours of instructor led flight training.  Must get him his Private Pilot and Instrument ratings before we launch on our adventure.  Two young budding instructors took up the challenge and will tag team to get Haris done in sixteen weeks plus one whole week of spring break.  Being in school, Haris can only devote time on Friday afternoons and Sundays to complete his flight training…. and it has to be done in a low wing plane to make his transition to the Bonanza easier…. the paln is to allow Haris to be the Pilot in Command (PIC), while I will be his First Officer and the person whosmackshimonhisheadifhemakesmistakes.  The adventure is ON !  There is a lot to be done and we have only 16 weeks to do it in.


Life Goes On….

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Adventure, Flying, Life, Nostalgia

Three years of fun, frolick and merry making came to an abrupt end, when 35 pre-cadets from 21st entry were suddenly found “medically unfit” due to systolic heart murmur…what a coincidence…. but life goes on…. fast forward many years, school, marriage, move to the United States, more studies, kids, jobs…… I suddenly realized I had almost forgotten my dream….almost 34 years after the birth of the idea…. I decided to learn to fly….. first solo was bittersweet, long cross country and it was time for the check ride.  The day of the exam, I found out that my examiner, Bob Duncan was popularly known as “flunkun” Duncan…..because he liked to flunk people…GREAT !  Had an uneventful checkride with Bob….on to Instrument Training….six months later, I had my instrument rating….. started flying my first plane – N71774, a Cessna Skylane….flew it for over 330 hours….sweet ride.  Switched to a Piper Lance and after 114 hours, the inevitable happened.  Lost an engine and managed to land on a highway….after a mechanic fixed it, was allowed by the FAA to take off again….from the highway…. so engine failure monkey is off my back.  ( Decided that single engines are over rated, so travelled to Arkansas to get my multi engine rating in 2008 and bought my first twin – a beechcraft Baron…what a ride…..

Birth of an Idea….

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Adventure, Flying, Life, Nostalgia, Training

PROLOG: September 5, 1971…..Sargodha Train station…. early morning, Chenab Express train unloading a bunch of very young, aspiring fighter pilots, in the incubation phase…pre-cadets…piled off the train, dumped their luggage into a 3-ton military truck and clamored into waiting blue Air Force buses for the ride to Pakistan Air Force College Sargodha….. a ride of their life time……. to be assigned to their houses or squadrons…. a new beginning … to boldly go where they had not gone before…. a little apprehension, a little fear and a whole lot of excitement at what lay ahead…. yes I wanted to be a pilot ! A fighter pilot ! …but what did that mean….