nels

Cincinnati to Tacoma, Wa. Should I or shouldn’t I?

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Nels:

     In addition to the advice on routes, my advice would be to be comfortable with using oxygen and fly higher. I routinely flew my J at 15K or 16K. Your climb rate will be low as you get higher, but the plane can do it. A lot of people don't like using oxygen and fly low because of it. I am opposite, I don't mind the oxygen and I am much more comfortable flying as high as practical for a trip. A comfortable oxygen setup is key to this. At first I had an Aerox system with over-the-ear canula. It was painful after an hour. Now I use the Mountain High O2D2 system with headset mounted canula. I did a 10 hour day a couple weeks ago with no discomfort.

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I've done it VFR in a M20C and it was easy. It was the other direction... Seattle, Cour d Lane, Kalispel, West Yellowstone, and then to Omaha.  It was super easy and a great way to see the country.

 

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1 hour ago, larryb said:

Nels:

     In addition to the advice on routes, my advice would be to be comfortable with using oxygen and fly higher. I routinely flew my J at 15K or 16K. Your climb rate will be low as you get higher, but the plane can do it. A lot of people don't like using oxygen and fly low because of it. I am opposite, I don't mind the oxygen and I am much more comfortable flying as high as practical for a trip. A comfortable oxygen setup is key to this. At first I had an Aerox system with over-the-ear canula. It was painful after an hour. Now I use the Mountain High O2D2 system with headset mounted canula. I did a 10 hour day a couple weeks ago with no discomfort.

You have me thinking about O2 setups so I looked on eBay. They seem really reasonable. Most are $150 to $350 for two person but some  ( a few) are over $1000. What’s the difference? Two or three hundred would easily be justified for a one shot deal but a grand for possibly one trip..not really.

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@nels after you have the setup you will use the oxygen more than you think, not just this trip. Spend what you think is right, but going into the mountains I would want oxygen. Like @larryb I fly as high as practical and usually over 10,000 feet on numerous trips per year. We found we feel soooo much better at the destination, and I have used it to go to 15,000 on occasion as well. 

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The differences are comfort and efficiency. Like I said earlier the aerox was not comfortable to me. The mountain high system gives you a pulse every time you inhale. No flow otherwise. So you use the O2 much more efficiently. The headset cannula is very comfortable and can be worn for hours. It is expensive, but so is everything aviation related. For me it is totally worth the cost to get the performance. My wife and I just completed a 3 week trip crossing the USA. 42 hours of flight time and all of it at 16k or 17k. Could not have done this without a good O2 system. Cool temps and smooth air. Everything is so much more enjoyable at altitude.

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And says me our OP should starting thinking about the IR. Flying at Mooney speeds you're going to hit weather where we live.

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O2 is nice to have but certainly not a requirement for this trip. All the flying we did in our M20C along this route was without O2. Most of it was either 11,500 or 12,500. We did occasionally go higher than that. But just for short periods of time crossing certain passes. Everyone is different with regards to O2 saturation so YMMV.

Now with the 252 we go well into the flight levels and make use of the onboard O2 regularly.

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15 hours ago, nels said:

I didn’t expect this much response and a ton of really good advice. I kind of like the idea of following an interstate, sorta gives a warm feeling that there is some place to put the plane down if you have to other than a mountain side somewhere. The problem might be traffic as that could be what a lot of other pilots are doing? A lot to consider for sure. The southern route, especially as an alternate, sounds like a good idea. A trip up the west coast would be kind of cool. My real problem might be getting someone to fly along with me and share expenses. I don’t think my wife would do it and I haven’t mentioned it to any of my car buddies yet. They might not think it such a cool adventure and would probably think of it as too expensive relative to commercial flights. It’s all “Up in the AIR” right now (haha) but I agree, if I pull it off it will be a trip of a life time.

Someone asked where the show is; not sure where the head quarters of the meet is but the parts swap meet is at the Tacoma Dome so I assume the show is somewhere close to that? Also, my plane is a 1978 M20 J.

What does your wife enjoy doing?  There's a ton going on in Seattle, and you can get anywhere with Lyft or Uber.  Find something to entice her to go!

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13 hours ago, nels said:

You have me thinking about O2 setups so I looked on eBay. They seem really reasonable. Most are $150 to $350 for two person but some  ( a few) are over $1000. What’s the difference? Two or three hundred would easily be justified for a one shot deal but a grand for possibly one trip..not really.

The demand-triggered regulators are the most expensive, but they can make one cylinder last 10-15 times longer.  Rebreather masks/cannulae with a normal regulator are much cheaper and will make one cylinder last 4-8 times longer.

If you have to fill your tanks at an FBO because it's a built-in system, a demand regulator system is a no brainer.  If you have a portable system, I question if it is worth the cost, since medical tanks are only $12-20 to fill, and you can take 2-3 tanks along for long trips.  FWIW, I have a portable system with a medical D size cylinder, and for 2 people at 12,000', it seemed to last about 12-15 hours.

My feeling is if you have a setup that makes refilling oxygen expensive, it might detract from safety because you'll discourage yourself from using it.  How long each one lasts might be important for a long trip like that, but if you talk to a welding supply or medical supply shop ahead of time, you could probably get the refilled at your destination.

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1 hour ago, jaylw314 said:

What does your wife enjoy doing?  There's a ton going on in Seattle, and you can get anywhere with Lyft or Uber.  Find something to entice her to go!

To piggyback on that, if you come the southern route and go home the northern route (or in reverse) you can fly by Ship Rock, Monument Valley, Meteor Crater, and the Grand Canyon on the way to the west coast.  You could even spend a day in Las Vegas and take in a show and the Dam tour if you like.  Go to San Lois Obispo or Paso Robles and rent a car.  Take her to see Hearst Castle.  That will be an all day event.  If you feel up to it, go to the Fresno or Stockton area, rent a car and visit Yosemite and maybe Sequoia National Parks.  You could land in the San Francisco area and spend a day riding the cable cars, driving down Lombard street, see the wharf, golden gate park, and take a tour of Alcatraz.  On the way north fly by the Golden Gate Bridge and then Crater Lake in Oregon.  On the way north you'll see several impressive mountains including Mt. Shasta, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, Mt Adams, Mt St. Helens, and Mt Rainier.  On the way home, if you feel up to it, you could stop and see Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  You could fly by the Devil's Tower and Mt. Rushmore.  That's a lot of sight seeing in just a week or two.

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On 6/13/2018 at 8:26 AM, Minnesota Mooney Guy said:

Thanks gacoon. I am only going to Bozeman ( or if I get real confident to ENNIS - Big Sky as my meeting is at Big Sky Resort so I could go there).  I am pretty sure I can handle  everything but the last 50 n. miles or so as I see major mountains around Bozeman.

I am IFR rated and proficient and am flying a 1968 M20C with a turbo (waste gate style) and plumed in oxygen that I have yet to use at altitude although the regulator has been tested and certified as an altitude sensitive regulator. The route you suggest is fine except the last 50 miles. Any advice around getting in and out of Bozeman which I intend to do only VFR. Or further advice about the wisdom of a flat lander going on to ENNIS (EKS)

 

With your turbo you're way ahead of most of us.  I have a J model  and this flight is easy in the 10.5-12.5k range.  EKS is a 1000 feet higher than Bozeman so that is a density altitude issue to take into account - of course with your turbo this is mitigated.  As far as getting into BZN I would fly BIL-KLVM then follow I90 into BZN.  You will go over Bozeman Pass (5718) - on this route you will probably see the BZN airport as you approach the pass - I would be at 10,500 and when I saw the airport start my descent - if its calm and winds are light at altitude you might also try 8500 to minimize the quick descent required.

Don't know much about EKS or whether they have the services (car) but it looks like following the Power Lines out of Bozeman and coming in from the North looks the best.  For me in the J I would probably put down in BZN, unless the temperatures were going to be reasonable for a density altitude departure out of EKS.

I am flying out your way from the Seattle area in late August to have my tanks resealed at Willmar. Weather permitting my planned route is S50-MLP-MSO-TUCOK-MLS-KBDH, fuel stop in MLS.  I'll run 11,500 to 13,500.

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19 hours ago, nels said:

I didn’t expect this much response and a ton of really good advice. I kind of like the idea of following an interstate, sorta gives a warm feeling that there is some place to put the plane down if you have to other than a mountain side somewhere. The problem might be traffic as that could be what a lot of other pilots are doing? A lot to consider for sure. The southern route, especially as an alternate, sounds like a good idea. A trip up the west coast would be kind of cool. My real problem might be getting someone to fly along with me and share expenses. I don’t think my wife would do it and I haven’t mentioned it to any of my car buddies yet. They might not think it such a cool adventure and would probably think of it as too expensive relative to commercial flights. It’s all “Up in the AIR” right now (haha) but I agree, if I pull it off it will be a trip of a life time.

Someone asked where the show is; not sure where the head quarters of the meet is but the parts swap meet is at the Tacoma Dome so I assume the show is somewhere close to that? Also, my plane is a 1978 M20 J.

 

 

Some thoughts:

1) southern route - hotter than blazes in August and September - smooth air starts at 15K and above.  I've flown it in the summer, fill up somewhere in  far west TX and fly non-stop to the LA basin.  That will avoid most of the desert heat.  Of course earlier the better in the day.

2) Following freeways - usually little if any traffic issues outside major populated areas - when I follow a road I usually stay to the left right like when you drive, hope others do the same.

3) Airports near Tacoma Dome: a) handiest, Auburn (S50) has a motel right next to  parking at south end, b) Puyallup (KPLU) - a little out of the way, c) Tacoma airport (KTIW) way out of way across bridge near Gig Harbor, not much at airport except brew pub.  From a local your best best is S50.

Last bit of advice: I/ve made numerous long trips over the years from SEA, to ATL, Oshkosh, etc, almost never have I flown my meticulously planned route.  Weather is the usual spoiler and in August thunderstorms will likely be around - be flexible and ready to deviate.  Plan to cross the mountains in the morning.

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1 hour ago, gacoon said:

2) Following freeways - usually little if any traffic issues outside major populated areas - when I follow a road I usually stay to the left like when you drive, hope others do the same.

Are you from England or something?? :D

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Here is last years route back from Oshkosh. In the summer the weather is usually great. May have to dodge or wait out a thunderstorm for a day.

7BC488AC-3FE9-4C6F-BA93-BDC12B873FC2.png

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29 minutes ago, jaylw314 said:

Are you from England or something?? :D

Good catch, I meant to say I stay on right with road on left.

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Some really good advice given already and I would do that trip, you will never forget it, flying out in the PNW is amazing and August is common for being a great time of year to be a VFR pilot. The only suggestion I would make is consider your destination, if it is KTIW, there is a lot of class bravo airspace to get through, under or over if you decide to track direct over the mountains. Often when I am heading west, I will come through the Columbia River Gorge (great potential option if the weather/visibility gets difficult over the cascade passes (Snoqualmie or Stevens) , like I’m heading into Portland and then break to the northwest, go right next to Mt. St Helens and then Northwest toward Olympia, I will vector then to the north west side of the bravo and descend into KTIW, you should be well under the bravo shelve by then and the KTIW airport and controllers often provide a pleasant arrival to GA aircraft, wonderful scenery to be had.

Edited by M20C_AV8R
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Thank you to all my advisers, what a wonderful community this Mooney Space provides. Not only did I get valuable advice to make my plans to fly my Mooney from Anoka Airport to Bozeman in late August, but I made new friends and got to email a Winona MN Mooney pilot. If there is a Mooney gathering at Oshkosh this year, I would enjoy meeting any of you attending. I have a better clarity about the challenges and the rewards of this trip and a deep appreciation for the wealth of knowledge in this community.

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If?

There is quite a Mooney gathering at KOSH...

Many arrive by Caravan, Flying in formation.

Coming via caravan allows many Mooneys to be parked together.

Best regards,

-a-

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I lived in Portland , OR for 8 years and learned to fly there.  The weather in the summer of course is much better than the other ten months.  There still can be low ceiling days.  VFR following valleys and highways, I would be concerned that you would be following a highway in a valley/pass and find lower ceilings. with little outs.  You want to pick your days that have predictably great weather.   You do not want to follow the Columbia river eastward as the Columbia Gorge near Portland is a potential hazard with high winds.  You could follow airways on the low IFR chart in VFR conditions, and at VFR altitudes (even 1000's plus 500 feet).  This will keep you above the minimum enroute altitude so you will know you have sufficient altitude for what is to come.  You will be anywhere from 10,500ft - 13,500ft. at the lowest in the highest mountains.  It may be somewhat lower in the very northern route.  Sit with Foreflight and run some flight plans.

The southern route is easy.  That will also give you an opportunity to fly up the west coast which is worth the diversion.  Many good places to stop along the way.  Once you are west of the Sierras you are clear.  The coastal range is easy to navigate.

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