Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

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Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby counsellj » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:41 pm

As members of TIC-170 Club, I feel we have an obligation and benefit of being able to serve as ambassadors and mentors toward other pilots in regards to our beautiful round tail airplanes and general aviation. Approximately one year ago I received a phone call from a gentlemen that was interested in buying a C-170. He was a new member of the club and utilized the directory to find fellow members in the local area. He called me, introduced himself and explained his desire to take a look at my 55’ B-model and pick my brain about owning a -170. We got together at my hanger and enjoyed talking planes and even realized that Bill’s father had been one of my aviation college professors. Over the next several months we kept in touch and talked about various airframes that went up for sale.

A couple months ago I received an email from Bill featuring details and photos of an aircraft he found in the Phoenix area. He was curious if I could give him my initial thoughts on the aircraft. I passed on much of the same great advice I received from club members when I was in his shoes several years ago. Bill made arrangements to travel to Chandler Municipal, KCHD to thoroughly evaluate this bird with the assistance of a recommended A/P. While I was on a layover in Phoenix recently I had the opportunity to lay my eyes upon this bird and I could see why Bill had been so excited about it. The pre-buy and annual inspection, as well as the negotiations was all successfully completed. Now Bill just had to learn to fly his new bird. Bill had started his tail wheel training on a Champ at our home airport. We all know that a champ and a 170 don't fly and handle the same, especially on the ground, but it laid a good foundation to build from. Bill had several days off before he and I were going to ferry the plane home and he made good use of that time to get introduced to the plane with a local CFI that had checked out the previous two owners.

I returned to PHX on the 20th of Sept to prepare for the trip home with Bill and his priced possession. The original plan was to prepare the plane that afternoon and depart first thing in the morning with the cool air. When I arrived, Bill stated that the airplane was all fueled, oiled and loaded. The weather was good for our planned route to the northwest through AZ, NV, ID, OR and WA. Mr. Buchanan also stated he was sick and tired of the Phoenix heat and wanted to leave that afternoon if I was okay with the change in plans. I was all for leaving early, so we jumped in the plane at 12:30, opened both windows and started to journey home.

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Headed North out of Phoenix


Bill had not been actively flying for the last several years so we had briefed that we would use the trip home to practice and refresh his skills on the entire spectrum of navigation techniques and skills, including, dead-reckoning, pilotage, VOR and the use of electronic charts and flight programs.

We left Chandler and stayed under the Class B shelves as we tracked towards the northeast over Falcon Field then flowing counterclockwise towards Scottsdale before pointing towards Prescott. The cruise climb helped keep us below the shelves, while also providing good cooling for engine and pilots alike. Before long I was resting comfortably cruising along over the saguaro landscape in the cooler air at altitude with a fairly smooth ride. I looked over at Bill and noticed his hands and face were a little sweaty. He was either working harder than me, or maybe his side of the airplane was just warmer. We utilized this first leg to get more familiar with the aircraft’s two NAV radios and displays while tracking radials into and out of Prescott and Peach Springs VORs. We dialed in the 290-degree radial after passing over PGS. This provided us solid guidance to keep us laterally clear of the Grand Canyon National Park Special Flight Rules, without having to rely on GPS or other moving map type of displays. At an altitude of 8,500 MSL, we were offered a great view of the big ditch under the right wing. We monitored the recommended frequency to help us deconflict from tour traffic transiting from the Vegas/Boulder area to the Canyon, but all the traffic was well above us. As Lake Mead came into view, Bill continued polishing his topography map reading skills to navigate visually north along the lake and peaks into Mesquite (67L), NV. This 5,100 x 75 foot strip soon greeted 76C to its smooth surface after a 2.8-hour escape from the AZ heat. We received great care from the local airport employee whom provided first class service of water; vehicle and assistance fueling even at the self-serve pumps. This is a great place to stop if passing through southern NV or UT.

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Grand Canyon


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Colorado River Dumping Into Lake Mead


TO BE CONTINUED……….
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Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby counsellj » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:47 pm

The second leg was a 252-mile northern run through the various mountain ridges and valleys of Nevada. The plan was to knock more rust off of Bill’s map reading skills utilizing pilotage to find our next destination of Elko, NV. Departing Mesquite with density altitude of approx. 5,000’ was good experience for this new owner. 76C was airborne in less than 2,000 feet, but took a long time to accelerate to a speed where she was happy climbing. The first portion of the flight took us NW to intercept the northern running highway towards Elgin, Caliente and Panaca on the eastern flanks of the Nellis Range’s various MOAs. As a former fighter pilot I have spent many sorties dogfighting over these landmarks or marshaling for the push of large-force Red Flag exercises. The remainder of the flight was a great lesson of how the appearance of terrain changes as your distance to it diminishes. The landmarks that show on the sectional also appear very different in the desert. Streams and lakes are almost always dry this time of year. Powerlines are much more difficult to locate against the barren brown landscape and what appears as major roads very well may be gravel roads. And not all the roads are on the map.

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Middle of Nevada


This was a more challenging problem, than I normally would have given a pilot with Bill’s lack of recency or experience, but it was too good of a lesson to pass up, even if it was frustrating at times for him. After what probably seemed like forever for this new aircraft owner we had Elko insight, but this pilot still faced one more first-time-ever challenge. The main runway was closed for construction, meaning Bill was about to experience landing on his smallest runway yet, 2,870 x 60, at an elevation of 5,000MSL. This was going to be a 3-D problem though because this runway slopes upward at 2 degrees. Two degrees doesn’t seem like much, but is very visible to one’s eyes and to one’s mind. When landing at normal speeds, an upsloping runway is not a real problem, you just have to fly a normal glidepath and at a slightly higher height above the ground you flare and simply flare slightly more to align the flight path with the rising terrain. It is important to realize that speed will bleed off at a more rapid rate once in the final flare before touchdown requiring a faster aft yoke input than normal. Bill did a fine job tackling this challenge and executed a good touchdown. The FBO was closed due to shortened hours during the runway construction so while Bill refueled the plane I found parking, tie-downs, chalks and access gates. As the shuttle van dropped us off at the hotel we were looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Before sleeping though, we relaxed with a good dinner and a few cold beers to toast Bill’s first day as an aircraft owner/pilot on his longest cross country trip of his flying career.

After dinner I had given Bill his assignments for the first leg of the second day. He was to take me to Owhyee Airport (10U), 70nm north of Elko via pilotage, then use dead reckoning to flow northwestward another 50 miles to find a private airstrip in the Owhyee high desert region of southern Idaho. Bill used the time after dinner to unwind from the day’s excitement and plan the next leg. The first challenge for Bill leaving Elko wasn’t navigating, it was going to be climbing. The density altitude even in the early morning was going to be over 6,000 feet. Not much different than the departure from Mesquite, but our route of flight immediately took us over a 7,500 foot ridge five miles from the airport. This provided a great opportunity to teach some techniques on visual climbs over the runway environment before turning down route. We took off downhill and immediately turned 90 degrees to the right to follow the interstate on our initial climb, providing us a safe emergency landing area. We then initiated a 180 back towards the airport, slowly climbing. As we climbed, Bill worked to pick up the visual references he planned to use to guide him out of town. Easier said than done! Witch altitude below us and referneces found we turned north. Powerlines, roads and a broad valley should lead us to our first turnpoint, a small lake called, Wild Horse Reservoir. The Independence Mountain Range standing along the left of the valley provided a scenic view as we progressed. The reservoir soon came into view and passed under us as we turn left 45 degrees to follow the Owhyee River another 26 miles to our target, Owhyee Airport. Bill’s skills were progressing nicely making this first leg fairly easy. The second leg was by purpose designed to be much more difficult. Whether teaching kids in 500KT supersonic military jets or evading on the ground during a military Survival, Evasion, Rescue and Escape (SERE) scenario the basics of Dead Reckoning are always the same. Clock to Map to Ground, and verify your position with three different references. I have found, that sometimes the easiest way to teach one to trust their clock, heading and speed is to fly a leg with almost no usable references until arriving near the destination. Afterall, Lindberg didn’t have checkpoints to update his position on his way to France. Bill had already identified that whenever he was multi-tasking, there was a tendency for him to enter a very slow left turn. This wasn’t a aircraft trim or rigging issue, this was an unconscious pilot input. During this leg, Bill knew it would be difficult to pinpoint his position as he progressed down range, but he couldn’t avoid the temptation to try. Throughout I was closely monitoring our heading and watched the peaks ahead of us slowly drift to the right side of our windscreen. A great teaching point was unfolding with each revolution of the propeller. Because we were operating near the bottom of the MOA’s associated with Mountain Home AFB I check in with the controllers. I was stationed at the Mighty MO flying the F-15 and worked with “Gunfighter Control” on a daily basis. They were truly one of the best GCI Control units I have ever worked with. That means a lot coming from a F-15 pilot. It was fun quickly catching up with the controller as he advised us the MOA’s were cold and we updated him with our position as we progressed.

We all know that not everything that appears on the sectionals really still exists on the ground. As the clock said we were supposed to be reaching our target area, the airport was nowhere to be seen despite Bill’s best efforts to find it. I explained to him the common dead reckoning errors he had made on this leg and how to prevent them in the future and showed him where our actual flight path had progressed on his chart. We were about 5 miles south of where we wanted to be. When we got back to the basic area of the private strip it took us a long time before we finally got our eyes on it. We had actually decided to continue onward when we finally found a thin, lightly used landing surface through the grass about 2 miles to our east. I knew Bill was ready for a break so I took the airplane and showed him a hidden gem in the mountains of the gem state. Silver City, ID is an old 1880’s mining ghost town sitting near the top of War Eagle Mountain 40 miles south of Boise. A few years ago my family explored this town trying to find my wife’s Great Grandfather’s grave. I made a circle around the town which now features over 50 restored buildings which now host a bar, hotel, stores, rentals and residences.

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Silver City, ID


Following our scenic detour we started an enroute descent into the treasure valley to enjoy the scenery of the farms and snake river valley as we skirted south of Boise, Nampa, Caldwell ID, and Ontario, OR on our way to Farewell Bend. Farewell Bend is where we picked up I-84, which we would follow over the hills to LaGrande, OR, then all the way to WA. Approximately 117 years ago my great grandfather, and grandmother and her family left Farewell Bend with their wagons while traveling the Oregon Trail. It was here they said “farewell” to the Snake River they had been following across southern Idaho with its plentiful grass and fresh water supplies before starting the climbing journey up the Burnt River and over the hills into Baker City. The Snake takes a turn to the North here and flows through Hells Canyon. Hells Canyon is actually deeper than the Grand Canyon, though not as wide or as majestic. Bill continued to utilize the many landmarks along this stretch to keep honing his skills of identifying features on the ground that the map showed. As we neared our fuel stop in LaGrande (LGD) I took the opportunity to show Bill our family ranch that has been officially designated a "Century Ranch". This means it has been a continuous operating ranch in the same family for over 100 years. The fifth generation of Counsells are being raised on that piece of land. Land that still has many signs of the summer Indian camps the Wallowa Indians made there each year. There are two Indian graves. A rock bowl, where squaws ground corn, sits on the side of a small hill. And the soil contains a nearly endless supply of arrowheads and other stone tools. There are also signs of the Oregon Trail on the upper place, where the thousands of wagons over a ten-year period permanently reshaped the lay of the land. Before long we circled the homestead that lies three miles east and directly on centerline of our intended landing runway. I never land at LGD without recalling the stories my dad tells of working for a neighbor as a kid, haying the fields along side the three runways that existed then.

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Snake River Valley


A quick refuel and we were airborne again following I-84 and I-82 to Bill’s hometown of Yakima, WA. Flying this route never gets old because the topography and climate changes so quickly. Forty miles of Blue Mountains leads to the rolling wheat fields of Pendleton, OR. The fields flow all the way to the Columbia River as it makes a 180-degree turn thru the Wallula Gap towards its final run west to the Pacific. Just off to the right the Snake River comes into view again as it flows into the Columbia. The desert regions of the Horsehaven Hills, Tri-Cities, WA flows into the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on the banks of the Columbia. Hanford was where the U.S. 's first two atomic bombs were developed in WWII. From “bombs to blossoms” are experienced as the Yakima River valley passes underneath with its many fruit orchards, vineyards and more hops than anywhere else in the US. Can anyone say great microbrews and wine? No St Pauli doesn't count! Before long we passed over Union Gap, which sets one up perfectly for a left base to YKM's runway 27. Following a nice landing Bill pulled us up to the pumps outside the historic McCallisters Flying Service hangar and within 150' of Bill’s father’s Cherokee 6-300. If you keep even a little bit of awareness about great airplanes and backcountry flying you know that Yakima is home to Cub Crafters. I remember visiting their one hangar back many many years ago when they had just started their business. Today we took advantage of my knowing one of their employees and enjoyed a personnel guided tour through their entire production facility. What an impressive operation! I encourage anyone I the area with a little free time to call them up and arrange for your own tour.

MC.jpg
McCalisters, Yakima WA


We departed Yakima to enjoy a short 30-mile flight to my old college town of Ellensburg. Instead of climbing over the Manatash Ridge, we enjoyed a fun curving flight through the Yakima River Canyon. The reason for our stop in ELN was to admire the Great Lakes Biplane that Bill’s father keeps hangared there. Ellensburg sits in a natural venturi on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains. This means that a calm day here is when the wind is only blowing 15-20. It was good experience for Bill as he continued to master his new bird. Before long it was time to point 76C towards the peaks rising into the clear western skies and introduce this plane to her new home. After 40 minutes of majestic mountain views Bill was lined up on final to the grass strip of Harvey Field (S43). Bill was rewarded with his best landing of the trip as this proud new owner completed the 13 hour trip home with his beautiful new airplane. Over the next few flights he quickly completed his tailwheel endorsement and is enjoying the joy that only a round tail classic can provide.

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Mission Complete


Congratulations Mr. Buchanan, Thanks for letting me be a part of this journey, Jughead
Last edited by counsellj on Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby johneeb » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:32 am

Thanks Jughead, nice story!
John E. Barrett
aka. Johneb

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Re: Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby Aryana » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:40 am

Enjoyed that a lot. Sounds like it was a great time.
Arash
1955 Cessna 170B
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Re: Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby n3833v » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:15 am

Terrific scenery and a great history lesson. Thanks.

John
John Hess
President 2016, TIC170A
Vice President 2014-2016, TIC170A
Director 2005-2014, TIC170A
N3833V ['48 Rag] S/N:18691 - Flying for Fun
'67 XLH 900 Harley Sportster
EAA Chapter 390 Pres since 2006
KB3UJO
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Re: Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby gahorn » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:12 am

Jughead, you might be nominated to be our Ass'n Storyteller!
Thanks for the journey journal!
'53 B-model N146YS SN:25713
50th Anniversary of Flight Model. Winner-Best Original 170B, 100th Anniversary of Flight.
An originality nut (mostly) for the right reasons. ;)
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Re: Arizona to Washington, New Owner/Airplane-Trip Report

Postby n3833v » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:42 pm

I like your bio in the 170 News.

John
John Hess
President 2016, TIC170A
Vice President 2014-2016, TIC170A
Director 2005-2014, TIC170A
N3833V ['48 Rag] S/N:18691 - Flying for Fun
'67 XLH 900 Harley Sportster
EAA Chapter 390 Pres since 2006
KB3UJO
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