Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Homeward bound...

Wednesday June 22nd, 2011

All went according to plan yesterday. After checking in and catching up on some sleep in the afternoon, Hans arrived at 21:30 in Missoula. With the plane being flight ready it was a matter of a simple walk around this morning and off we went at 10 to Six. What? No Tower!? Change Frequency, still no answer! All-right than... call the intentions and lets get going before someone changes their minds, picks up the mic, talks back and makes you taxi for ever for no good reason. "Zero Mike Echo is through 4000 and clear to the North West"! Still no answer. Who cares, we are gone!

At about 7 am we are nearing Thompson Falls, MT and Hans' Bladder is once again calling for a stop ...nearest preferred! With being in a Canyon and the airport straight ahead I simply pull power and the 701 slides down like on the rails of a roller coaster, momentarily flashing us a yellow range speed signal from the MGL Extreme. Solid, capable, little aircraft. The more we fly and understand this plane the more we realize the attraction by so many. And we come to question why so many have had to fiddle with this design,  and really none have succeeded. Certainly not by sales numbers, otherwise the flight lines would have to be littered by Pegazairs, and Savannah's, just to name a few.
Our respect goes out to Chris Heintz for his design abilities and to the greater Zenith Aircraft Family for providing a great product from plans to kits, to quick-builds. I'd say we've put it to the test on this trip!

 Coming up on "Thompson Falls"

Looks like home! 

A lazy turn over the midfield and a nice landing into a gentle breeze and this time we are both off for the morning break. 10 Minutes later we are airborne again and heading along the valley for Sandpoint, ID.
Scenery, scenery and more scenery! I have been on the roads below on a Motorcycle Trip a few years back and remember looking up into the mountains. Not sure which one is better, I love riding, but you can't beat the view from a CH 701. It is the perfect low and slow scenery cruiser.
At 07:44 we arrive in a yet still and sleepy Sandpoint. Turn the watches back an hour and we are off again sooner than we landed. Home Stretch...

 Scenery from above! 

Low and slow...

One more little challenge is provided by the Monashee Mountains reaching into northern Washington. But after the Rockies, this is certainly a lesser obstacle and with 5600' we clear through some of the lower passes and are on a zooming descent into Dorothy Scott, speak Oroville, WA. We are clocking nearly 100mph groundspeed on a NW bound track once we reach the Okanagan. YaHoo!!!

On the downwind for Runway 15 we can see the bridge across the lake at Osoyoos, BC but it remains us denied for some unfinished FAA paper work. Mainly a properly filled in C of R. So we have to stop here, park it for a week and hopefully we can carry on soon once more NW bound.
47.8 hrs from Tampa to here in 26 legs in an aircraft that is not known for its cross country capabilities, but rather its off airport use. Well we had some of that too! Hans and I, have come to re-think some of the Ch-701 hearsay. We beg to differ on some of the "not really cross country suitable" and "yeah, but its too small" (...really, I am 6'2" and pack 220lbs with me at the leanest of times) and so many other rumours.  Don't believe everything you hear [...or read ;-) ]!
And yes, there is limitations; weather, timing, season, power, weight, distance and fuel use. Bigger is not always better. It ultimately comes down to a sign hanging in our office, the one and only I may add...       

...Learning to fly takes about 45hrs, learning when to fly can take a lifetime!

As we are strolling across the field my phone message light goes off. It's Russell from Flightcrafters "Congratulations, you made it to Canada!" Well, not quite, but as good as, we are only 2 miles short!!!

I guess the Spot Tracking is still working! Is it?

 Dorothy Scott - Oroville Airport, WA

Awaiting a new C of R and ...

                             ...after all, for Hans and N500ME the Adventure is only beginning!

 To finish off here, we would like to extend our sincerest "Thank You" to all those that we have met on this trip, have assisted us in a time of need and have touched our life's with their generosity! It will be remembered! See you in the Great White North!

With best regards, Willy T.

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