1946 Piper J-3, Colorado to Ohio, for now..

I’d been talking to this customer for a couple months helping him sort through airplanes that weren’t going to meet his mission, and finding the best deal.  We found one that seemed promising, and after having the logs and records emailed to us, we decided it was worth going to look at.  Spent all day doing an annual and going through the aircraft, only turned up a couple of small squaks, and fortunately Univair was only an hour down the road and we were able to get the issues taken care of and get a short test flight in before dark!

Piper Cub, Ferry flight, prebuy, antique airplane, J3 cub

Post annual test flight

Piper Cub, Ferry flight, prebuy, antique airplane, J3 cub

Post annual test flight








With the annual complete and the aircraft fueled and ready for the flight home the next morning, we decided to go get dinner.  We went to the Blackbelly Market, and it was really good.  I’ll go back if I’m ever in the area again.  After dinner we found a hotel and went to bed, it had been a long day.

The next morning we got the airplane pulled out, preflighted and headed east.  Angelo decided to come along to get some good experience with cross country flying.  He had foreflight on his iphone, but I threatened that if he used it I was throwing his phone out the window, and I meant it!  It was a short 1 hour hop to our first stop at Fort Morgan, so we started off by using some dead-reckoning.  Found the airport no problem, and Angelo quickly became accustomed to using a paper sectional again.

We packed very light for this trip, a couple t-shirts, socks, and unmentionables both for us, so that we had enough weight left to make some use of the wing tank, that stretched our legs to 3 hours with a little fuel left.  Keeping the first leg to close to an hour, so I can verify fuel burn and make sure the oil burn isnt crazy either, we stopped at Fort Morgan.  Passed through here last summer in a Champ.  Topped off with fuel, fuel was as expected and off we went.  The goal in flying slow airplanes a long distance is to keep time on the ground to a minimum.

Shortly into our second leg, the pin for the trim crank loose, so we made a quick diversion to Wray Municiple.  Turns out that is Bill Tracy’s home town.  Topped off with fuel again after quickly fixing the trim, and off we go.  It was a pretty good day of flying, taped up all the gaps around the doors  and windows, and was able to stay on the good side of numb!  I wouldn’t call it warm by any means, but it was tolerable!

Piper Cub, Ferry flight, prebuy, antique airplane, J3 cub

Fort Morgan, CO

Piper Cub, Ferry flight, prebuy, antique airplane, J3 cub

Wray, CO








About halfway through Nebraska the weather started to turn on us, can’t get away with blue skies the entire way could we, thatd be way too easy.  We landed in Kelly, NE to take a look at the weather and find a way through that made sense and had options.  Norfolk, NE was above VFR minimums as well as points in between, so off we went to check it out.  Practiced a bit of ‘Class G airmanship’ and made it into Norfolk with no issues at all.  The FBO was great, had very reasonable prices for a heated hangar, crew car, and even gave us a way into the hangar before they opened so we could make an early start.

Ate at place in town called, Black Cow, Fat Pig and had the prime rib, I highly recommend it!  6.9 hours of flying for the day, not too bad.

The next morning we pushed on east, weather was tolerable, and we didn’t have any real complications other than some head winds, which is all the time in a cub.  Landed at Portland, IN sunday night and had my misses come pick us up and take me home so that I could make it to my day job the next morning.  A friend gave me a ride up to get the cub the next day in his Navion, a very sweet airplane!  The cub is now tucked away in a friends hangar, while i tidy up a few maint details on it.  The logistics worked out better and it will be on to its final destination in just a week or two!

Piper Cub, Ferry flight, prebuy, antique airplane, J3 cub

Norfolk, NE

Piper Cub, Ferry flight, prebuy, antique airplane, J3 cub


1946 7AC, Ferry Flight

I’ll preface this with the fact that has been one of the most miserable and yet adventurous ferry trips I have made yet!  I think this one really sums up just what can happen while ferrying an airplane like this across our beautiful country!

My customer this time is also a good friend, Patrick.  We’ve been talking over the last few months with him sending me pictures or barnstormers links asking for my opinion.  He finally found one that both he and I agreed on that sounded like a good deal and would be a great aircraft for him.Ready to leave Colorado

Once the deal was made, I hopped onto a passenger tube and headed west, yet again.  I had some miscommunication with a Marine buddy that lives close, and he picked me up at the airport, however, i didn’t realize how far he now lived from the airport the Champ was at, oops.  No big deal I think, after all, I am just outside of Denver in Fort Collins, there has to be a hotel close.  Wrong again.  A quick call to the FBO by the seller, and they let me use their pilots lounge to get a few hours of sleep in for the night, not the most comfortable, but it was inside and climate controlled, that is a pretty big plus in my book!  The next morning I give the airplane a good look over and make sure everything looks up to par before i hand over a stack of money to the seller.  I start packing the airplane as the seller is filling out the last couple portions of the paperwork, once we are both done we shake hands, and I walk towards the airplane to start taking the Champ back east to Patrick!

Aeronca ChampI try to keep the first leg of ferry flights pretty close to an hour for a couple of reasons; first, it gives me a real world idea of what to calculate for fuel burn and second, I can feel out the airplane and see what kind, if any quirks it may have.  Upon landing at Fort Morgan Municipal, (run by an Ag company) I notice that it can use just a little more up elevator, the local mechanics were more than willing to let me borrow a couple of tools to make the trip that much nicer.  The rest of fly went great that day.  Clear skies and light winds, only stopped at one airport that didnt have self serve fuel or anybody around, but I plan for that and had enough fuel to make it a bit further.

oops!My next to last stop was at another small un-named ag strip that was open to the public and had fuel.  The wind was starting to pick up a bit so I landed on their grass cross runway, that turned out to not be a legit runway after all.  However uneventful  of a landing, the airplane may have gotten a bit muddy, sorry Patrick!  Anyway, topped off and pushed as far east as i could, which was Burlington, Iowa.  Met another nice ag pilot whom gave me a ride into town and dropped me off at the Holiday Inn.  As it turns out, the fertilizer plants are running full swing this time of year and ALL of the hotels with in 45 miles have been sold out for the last month, and for upcoming month.  Good thing I brought a tent and sleeping bag with me.

Walked across the street to McDonald’s to grab some food and wait on a taxi to take me back to the airport.  When I taxied in at Burlington I noticed an open hangar with a cub in it, and a truck parked out front.  Lucky for me it was still there when i got back!  Not too sure what was going on, I left a note on the zipper of my tent, that i set up inside of his hangar, briefly explaining the situation and that I would be glad to move somewhere else if needed.  The worked out really well actually, I had a roof over my head, and electricity to charge my phone.  No shower, again, but I quit noticing the smell a few hours ago anyway.

StormsSunday morning is when the trip started to get really fun.  I was woken up by thunderstorms that were very close.  I disassembled the tent in record time and was packed up and ready to go in 10 minutes.  A quick look at the radar showed that I was on the very northern edge of the storms and they were moving mostly east.  Nobody came over night to check on the cub, so I put his hangar door down, would hate to see the airplane blown into his truck or worse.

It came down to decision time, the weather, both radar and visually, looked ok to the north so I decided to go for it.  Just as my wheels were braking ground, I noticed a few drops of rain on the windscreen, not  a lot, but they were there.  They quickly went away as I headed north and the weather turned to overcast with good visibility underneath.  I made it Illinois Valley Regional Airport and borrowed the crew car to go grab another quick bite in town.  Then fueled up and tried to push farther east.  I ended up returning to Illinois Valley and waiting a bit, everything south of the Illinois River was fogged in, and as it started to lift it actually got thicker, which made things a bit, interesting at times.

My second attempt I made it Fulton County Indiana where the thunderstorms were starting to be imbedded in the overcast, and I don’t play with those.  Patrick was starting to get pretty anxious at this point, it had been thunder storming in Ohio for a couple of hours, and he said something about not sleeping the past couple of nights, I took it personal that he didn’t really trust me to deliver it safely!  Which was all in fun of course.

imageContinuing to practice my Class G airman ship, I pushed on south to Richmond Indiana, where I made a call to my wife, whom was standing next to Patrick, and told her to have Patrick go outside in 30 minutes.  Then i text Patrick telling him I was at an airport about an hour and a half away waiting on weather to clear up.

I made sure to approach from my final destination from the north and just a bit high, so that I could keep the power low and do an extended glide in.  I had it timed just right and threw in full power for the image19-1024x768go-around just as I was coming around the tree’s and surprised Patrick pretty good!  Wish someone would have caught that on video, but that’s probably for the better!





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Stinson 108 pre-buy inspection and flight home

_9079365 _9079371 _9079374 _9079386 _9079391 10649696_561193813985239_797610714121721908_n 10425136_328191610696005_4584944741820926600_nSunday 7 Sept, 2014 turned out to be a wonderful day.  Started off by heading down to I73 early in the morning to take my Taylorcraft around the patch a couple of time to warm the oil up for an oil change.  Then I met Allen and Scott V (Father/son) to head up to northern Ohio to do a pre-buy inspection and hopefully purchase.  The aircraft in in immaculate shape.  It is always great to see a classic aircraft go to a new owner that will not only take care of it, but fly it!  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves on the rest of the trip.