Crossing the Continental Divide in a 1940 J5

Recently completed a trip in a 1940 Piper J-5A from Upper Michigan to Dayton, OH and then on to California!

 

Pre-buy inspection/annual

Pre-buy inspection/annual

I go to Michigan and do a prebuy, bring it home through Wisconsin, it was in west upper Michigan.  Stop at a friends over night and get a ride in a 1929 new standard at Madison WI.

1929 New Standard www.biplaneridesofamerica.com

1929 New Standard
www.biplaneridesofamerica.com

 

Overnight stop

Overnight stop

His place

Then on home so the new owner can get some time in it with his CFI, he just finished his sport and is working on his private.
Two days later I load up and punch west!
I have Nav lights that are batt powered, so I call ahead to Peoria, Ill and ask them to leave the lights on a bit longer.  No radio of any kind with me.  They do and I land just after dark!

Following the river to better weather

Following the river to better weather

Run into a front the next day and rain forced me down in Sioux city Nebraska at an ag strip, great guys!  Even had a dolly with a J3 on its nose for storage!
I hang there for a couple hours listening to everything they say, because I’m hoping to do some ag flying soon..

Rain stopped but ceiling were still low, so I followed a river out past the storms.  They don’t put towers in the middle of rivers 🙂

Made it to Torrington that night where the guys at Ag Flyers gave me a ride into town and coffee the next morning!  As well as let me use there truck and tools since my fuel shut off decide to be a fuel leak valve..

Fuel leak repair in progress

Fuel leak repair in progress

Got it fixed, and off I went that AM,  really wanted to stop in Medicine Bow, but I caught a huge lift and had the cub at 12,5, climbed 1,200 fpm to get there even!  (I have video evidence) so i didn’t want to give that up.  Landed at Rawlins where I had my introductory lesson to density altitude, 10,500.  Made it out safely, but not by much.  Ground effect up the mountain and then gain speed down to break away and keep climbing slowly.  I think if I wasn’t as familiar with small airplanes as I am, it could have turned out much differently.  At Evanston, I waited for it cool off some before I went to Salt lake City.

Ag Flyers

Ag Flyers

 

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The way into Salt Lake City

The pass to SLC, was Gorgeous and the most terrifying terrain I’d flown over, yet…

Stayed the night in SLC #2, then off at sun up the next morning. Saw the salt flats, and stopped at Wendover Nevada, then on west.  I skipped over kMWC, and got out on the ground in lovelock about noon, only 2.5 hours till the destination… Photo won’t upload, it’s at the end… I sleep on the couch a couple of hours and wake up to check weather, still crap…  So I post here hoping to find a clear way west!  Gumpair gives me solid advice, and I realize I’m trying way to hard to ‘find’ good weather.  So I decided to go to town and get a hotel.  For a population of 2,500 they have 10 hotels!   The owner of the Cadillac inn, picked me up and dropped me back off at 0500, can’t beat that!!  Even though the ENTIRE town was closed for 4th of July and I had TV dinners from the gas station, oh well, I’ve had worse!

Next am I head to Reno, wow their airspace sucks with no transponder!  I try to follow 80, but I can see the fog that truckee is reporting in the first turn away from Reno, so I go to Reno stead and refuel.
Grandstands were fenced off, with an 8′ fence, so I couldn’t get in..

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So I took off and followed gumpair’s route.  I’m glad I did!  It was lower and at 8,500 was super smooth.  As I was
Descending I head some really loud noises that scared the crap out of me!  Fire walled throttle (all ready there) added carb heat, good drop, so no ice.  Checked mixture, good.  Mags good,  then calmed down and realized I had a metal monster can that was collapsing from the added air pressure! Lol.

There was a TFR around Beale AFB, so I stopped at KOVE to make my one and only call to WX brief the entire trip.  It was basically the class C, so stay out of it and I was fine!  While flying over KOVE to check the wind sock I saw a 172 on downwind, no biggie, fall in behind him and land.  He should have been turning off as I was flaring, but instead decided to back taxi! Lol until he saw me and turned even faster around.  I made the first turn off, so we were never really close.  Until I left that is, when he didn’t see me again… And did a mid field departure cutting me off.  Oh well, worse had happened to me.  It’s amazing I saw him since I didn’t have a radio!!  A short 20 minute flight later and I was at my destination!62B9B539-731F-43A5-8482-ACD6B265D0FE_zpsabuzb6qd

Talking with the FBO owner Honeycutt Aviation, found out we graduated from the same highschool in Ohio!  We both had a class size of about 50, he graduated with my uncle.  I posted on FB that I was here and looking for a ride, with in 30  minutes I had a ride from a fellow pietenpol pilot!  Then a United flight and I was done!  29.2 hours from Dayton Ohio to Cali!

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