Part 2/5 Missouri to Washington, Trip Report - N3934V

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Part 2/5 Missouri to Washington, Trip Report - N3934V

Postby counsellj » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:07 am

As we were pre-flighting, I could hear several pheasants calling out to me, telling me to bring my gun and dog back this fall.

Atwood AM.jpg
Morning on the Plains

The magnetos were made hot at 0640, and the 0-300 sprang to life with no priming and just one pump of the throttle just as Tom had promised. The air was cool and thick with moisture from the last two days worth of heavy rains. It was one of those mornings where the prop produced vapor trails at idle power.

prop vapors.JPG
Prop Vapors

We taxied up the hill leaving a three-line trail in the dew along the grass runway. Turning around with the rising sun to our back Jared pushed in the throttle to start his second day as an aircraft owner and third taildragger takeoff. The 4” grass, heavy with dew, cruise prop, and near gross weight resulted in a slow steady acceleration. 34V was getting close to flung as we crested the hill just passed mid runway. With a little guidance from me, she lifted off in the last few hundred feet and easily started her 600 FPM climb towards the NW. Ten minutes later we crossed into Nebraska where patches of fog lay in the creek bottoms, surrounded by fields brightly lit by the morning sun. At 4500 feet we settled into a 105kt cruise towards Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and our fuel stop in Cody.

NE fog 1.jpg
Nebraska fog

With our sightseeing of the Black Hills complete it was time for fuel and a good lesson on high-density altitude operations. The Custer County ASOS reported calm winds and 22 degrees with a DA of 7700 feet. We sat up on the right downwind for runway 8. I briefed the fact that we would fly the normal indicated air speeds, yet would see a higher ground speed upon touchdown and how this related to aircraft performance and ground handling. I crossed the numbers at 60 MPH indicated and settled into a flare as the aircraft floated a little, and it floated and floated till just over 1,000 had passed underneath. I commented on taxi-in that I was surprised how far she floated for being on speed and calm. When we shutdown we were met by an older gentlemen that was caretaker of the airport. He wanted to make sure anything we needed was provided. Bathroom and fuel was all we really needed and within 20 minutes we were ready to go again. Before we fired up we reviewed the published performance numbers for the takeoff. 8,000, DA at 23 degrees was calling for a no-flaps takeoff with a roll of approx 2500 feet. We had already scouted emergency landing sights for an engine failure after takeoff when we arrived in the pattern. The terrain around the airport is broad and flat, so this was more of a takeoff lesson, than a climb lesson. Originally we planned to depart runway 26, but as we taxied back out we noticed how much of a slope the runway had. Both of us were surprised to see it, especially the significant slope at the approach end of runway 8. The online airport guide we had used, didn’t discuss the slope. The FAA airfield directory does show the 1.3 percent grade and the western thousand feet is noticeably steeper at 2%. Now we know why we floated so far. I have flown a good amount of both very steep off airport gradients as well as paved runway gradients and I was very surprised that I didn’t notice it visually. A good lesson for me! So we turned left and taxied to the top of the hill. As we started the takeoff roll we leaned the engine for maximum rpm and started accelerating at a respectable rate down the hill. 2,000 feet later she was ready to fly and I eased her into low ground effect while we accelerated to best climb of 79 and turned 90 degrees to the right to follow the wide highway as we climbed. That takeoff was 200 lbs below max gross and slightly exceeded or met all the book numbers, including the 350FPM climb rate. The compass showed 275 would take us to Cody.

Rushmore side close.jpg
The Presidents with a Beautiful Frame

CH 2 closer good.jpg
Crazy Horse Monument
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