Sunday, March 20, 2022

Back to Ohio day 3

Some combination of uber surge pricing and a kind offer from Eric led to him and his cute little boys giving us a ride to the airport in the morning and saw us off for the final leg to Columbus KCMH where I would walk next door and get on Southwest heading home. As we approached the Ohio border we saw the first clouds of the trip.  Almost exactly upon leaving Indiana behind we were flying on top of a 2 ft thick OVC/BKN layer. We discussed just going underneath it as bases were 2900 ft and we could easily get in VFR, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to get a popup IFR and shoot the approach to show Josh the instrument profile and also how to fly a coupled approach since he was unfamiliar with the STEC.

It was bumpy as heck from cloud entry to landing, but he got it all set up and flew down the glideslope and landed like a champ in 13 kts gusting 22 and 40 degree cross wind. We spent some time wiping the left engine down and trying to find the source of the oil leak on the left engine which is small but it only takes a little bit of oil to make a heck of a mess. From what we can tell it seems it’s coming from the upper case through bolts. Anyone have some advice on that?  The broken layer had turned to scattered puffy clouds like you see on The Simpsons.  I felt good about Josh flying home solo and we wrapped up the paperwork and he flew off on his own. 

I’m told he arrived safely.

Overall a fantastic weekend and so great to make new friends sharing this crazy passion for these vintage Beechcraft airplanes. Amazing that we can transport ourselves across the entire country in comfort and style with so many interesting places to stop along the way.  We sure lucked out with the weather too.

Back to Ohio day 2

If we thought the whole town of Santa Fe was micro-dosing LSD, by morning we were convinced that it was in fact full doses. At breakfast the kind Honduran waitress saved me from a nuclear stomach meltdown by insisting I taste what I was about to order before making the commitment. Thankfully I took her advice and that gave me a chance to change my order as this dish was clearly concocted with some kind of pepper grown in a Guatemalan insane asylum.

Our Uber back to the FBO was as harrowing as the night prior.  Our driver, a wild eyed and clearly mentally damaged Afghanistan vet, highly recommended taking magic mushrooms and going to MeowWolf ( We also learned how his non-profit to build houses out of old car tires had repeatedly been foiled by the vengeful mountain of Taos. The mountain, we were told, was kind to newcomers but eventually would put you in your place by conspiring to kill your dog and ruin your real estate deals. By way of basic inquiry we came to understand he had no clue how to construct such houses or how much they cost. He's the idea guy, you see. By the way, would we like to invest? I took his card. Lemme know if you want the contact info. 

While making small talk with the friendly FBO lady I cracked a corny joke and she laughed. I went to the bathroom, got a coffee and returned and she was still laughing. She laughed for another 5 minutes... out loud. My joke wasn't very funny. We wanted to get a move on in order to meet up with Brad Gardner in Kansas City around lunch time. Our giggling FBO lady took about 35 minutes to generate the invoice and process the payment. We were the only ones there. Adios Santa Fe, will be back... I think, maybe with a rental car reservation and MeowWolf tix. 

 We briefed high altitude normally aspirated twin ops. Field elevation at SAF is 6400, and the Tbone single engine ceiling is in the book as 7000. But of course she launched like a champ and we headed out over the Great Plains in continuous light turbulence, occasional moderate. Somehow I still managed to use the pee tube, no spills. Air smoothed after Oklahoma and we had yet to see a single cloud in the sky. 

Flying into Kansas City downtown airport was way cool. 

We were surprised on shut down to see a sizable greeting party. Brad was there, and Chris Roan had flown down from Ohio in his 56TC and his buddy in another 56TC as well and Matt Cole in his beautiful Tbone and girlfriend as well as Eric Meyer and another dude or two I'm sorry I'm terrible with names. They had already eaten but saved some KC BBQ for us which was awesomely good. By this time we'd noticed a bit of an oil leak on the left engine and got some advice. The engine gods also gave Matt a leak so the fellas snapped fingers and tools appeared from thin air. Those guys are hilarious with their good natured ribbing each other and midwest hospitality, and I'm pretty sure none were on LSD. I should have got a group pic. 

We contemplated going the rest of the way at that point, but it was IMC at destination and pushing on would mean a night IMC arrival after a very long day. Discretion is the better part of valor and the forecast was good for the next morning, and Eric recommended overnighting at KALN in St Luis, so one last leg for the day and Eric saw us arrive and kindly gave us a ride to the hotel and joined us at the bar for grub and a few well deserved beers. 

 Day 3 continued... 

I went back to OH

This weekend had a good adventure training a new Tbone owner and delivering the plane to Ohio as part of his 10 hours of training that insurance required.

Day0 - Josh arrived in California and met and went to my hangar and grabbed some supplies, including some single use O2 I thought would come in handy.  I have a big o2 bottle and cannulas but I didn't want to deal with dragging that back on southwest.  We did some preflight stuff including stocking the plane with water and then headed to a brewpub for some ground training on the Bone and preflight planning over tacos and beer. 

Day1 - I had some work in the morning so we didn't get going until the afternoon.  That was okay because we had the whole weekend and wanted to do some training along the way.  Ben met us at the airport and he and Josh exchanged the obligatory handshake.

It's always a little nerve wracking training someone with zero experience in model on their very first flight when the plane does not have dual controls.  I took the radio so he could focus on the flying.  Josh was a champ though, and after some zig zagging down the runway he got used to steering the beast when you pour on the full 590 HP.  He settled in and I could tell he was a good stick as I talked him through the power settings.

First order of business was teach Josh how to tame the beast and since we were in no particular rush, we started with an air tour of California, with some stops to knock out some of the insurance mandated 15 landings.  First order of business was to split the uprights on the Golden Gate Bridge and fly the VFR corridor to KHAF.  We gotta do our part to convert the California haters, after all.

I talked Josh through the landing and he managed it very well.  Some pattern work and dodging a complete dolt who decided to fly a wrong direction pattern at TPA with 3 already in the pattern!  Then we proceeded to Hollister for a few more, then down the coast for a very late lunch at the Waypoint Cafe in Camarillo, which in my opinion is the best airport cafe on the planet so why not. 

After that we set off east bound towards Columbus, first stop would be Santa Fe NM about 4 hours east.  The time flew by and Josh and I became quick friends.

We eventually landed at Santa Fe after an hour or two of night and Josh made a solid night landing.  However we arrived 1 minute after the FBO closed.  We tucked the plane in for the night and luckily one lone straggling line guy was kind enough to see us park and got out of his car to let us inside because it was freaking freezing and it ended up taking 30 mins for the Uber to arrive.  

The Uber driver was a combination of Jonathan from Queer Eye and Andre the Giant.  His car was painted with flowers and the rear pax door didn't work.  He told us he was an Opera singer and sang loud Christian music to us as he sped and swerved and turned around to look us in the eye as he explained that he is a recent arrival and didn't know his way around.  I'm very far from a pious man but I found Jesus on that ride and the good lord made sure we arrived in tact and located one of the last hotel rooms we could find in the whole city.  Turns out it is spring break and the Texas crowd had descended on the town and took over.  

Santa Fe is a trippy place.  We felt like everyone we talked to was micro-dosing LSD.  I was having good fun with it but I'm not sure Josh will be back really soon.  haha.

Day 2