MAY 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: https://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/513537

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Page 21 of 31

22 Vol.4 No.5 / May 2015 AN ARIZONA ESCAPADE features a drop-down tray for easy access to the wiring and avionics. • Ahead of the panel is a custom-designed and built glare shield covered with brown leather. It produces no glare whatsoever. • Custom-fabricated storage bins prevent items from falling on the floor. Custom storage pockets were built for the required onboard documents and for checklists. • Interior accents in red oak include items such as garnish rails along the lower edge of window frames for use as armrests when flying with the windows open. Are we having fun yet? A FLYING ADVENTURE TO AIRVENTURE 2014 The trip to Oshkosh, planned on an iPad, was supposed to be 1,600 miles each way and take four or fi ve days, fl ying mostly in the morning before the heat and turbulence kicked up in the afternoon thermals. The fi rst day out yielded a very rough ride, and by the second day, Dennis was still in New Mexico. Kansas should have been better, but it was bumpy and more than 100 degrees. He made a mistake and forgot to update Barb who was waiting for news back home when he made a dash to the southeast to get around a storm on his way to Iowa. She was following his route on radar on her home computer, saw storm cells, and when he hadn't checked in after 7 hours, feared he was down in a cornfi eld in Kansas. Later she found out he had tried to call her, but there was no cell coverage. Always update your fl ight plan or notify someone of your destination for every takeof when on any cross-country fl ight. Your life could depend on it. When Dennis fi nally made it to Wisconsin, Barb took a commercial fl ight and joined him at the convention. Oshkosh summer weather can be challenging, with rain showers popping up quickly and unexpectedly. The Crowleys had a watertight cover for the cockpit, which they installed during one of the light showers when they left Wittman Airport for the day. Visibility became so poor that they pulled off the road as hail began to pelt their car. But what about the airplane? Incredibly, a video called "Oshkosh 2014 Hail" was posted on YouTube by Fun Fly Zone exhibitor Les Homan that shows the hail falling on the aircraft. Thankfully, it was light hail and there was no damage. A much heavier storm came through the day before Dennis was to leave that caught Barb alone with the plane, and she was unable to get the cockpit cover in place. Rain got inside the cockpit and caused radio problems prior to his depar- ture. That detained him a full day, allowing just enough time for a strong weather front to wreak havoc with the fl ight home. The return fl ight to Tucson took seven stressful, bumpy days, including stopping two days outside of Chicago because of bad weather. Dennis eventually headed toward Canada, stopping short of Minnesota and South Dakota in northwest Iowa. Later, near Omaha, after waiting all day for wave after wave of storms to pass, he made a run to the southeast (to go west), and he swears he watched the last wave on his iPad stop, change direction, and chase him into Kansas! Dennis wrote it was a trip of a lifetime, a dream come true, and an accomplishment he will never forget—and never dupli- cate. He fl ew that little plane 3,618 miles and 47 hours in the air to join a rarifi ed club of very lucky people. To build your fi rst airplane, fl y it across a continent in the face of dif cult weather, win the top prize, and fl y back home safely is a rare experience you can't buy. You have to earn it! Back home in Tucson, Dennis presented a program about his trip to the members of EAA Chapter 82. Bob Miller, the chapter secretary, described the trip in the chapter newslet- ter and observed that planning a 1,600-mile trip when most of your previous cross-country flights were around 50 miles is like preparing for a marathon by walking the dog. By now Dennis knows the secret shared by all cross- country pilots—that a long trek is simply a succession of small flights strung together, and that true adventure comes from not knowing exactly how it will all turn out. Aviation is always an adventure. Please send your feedback to dangrunloh2@gmail.com . Dan Grunloh, EAA 173888, is a retired scientist who began fl ying ultra- lights and light planes in 1982. He won the 2002 and 2004 U.S. National Microlight Championships in a trike and fl ew with the U.S. World Team in two FAI World Microlight Championships. T e heritage of the Escapade goes all the way back to Dean Wilson's Avid Flyer, the Ridge Runner, and many other related of spring. Its immediate predecessor is the Just Aircraf Summit, a tandem design. Pleated retractable sunshades in the skylight.

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