LEG 1 - Cessna 152 - Gastonia, NC (KAKH) - Mountain Air, NC (2NCO)
LEG 2 - Cessna 172 - Mountain Air, NC (2NC0) - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP)
LEG 3 - Cessna 182 - Andrews-Murphy, NC (KRHP) - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM)
LEG 4 - T-34 Mentor - Tyndall AFB, FL (KPAM) - New Orleans, LA (KNEW)
LEG 5 - PA-28 Warrior - New Orleans, LA (KNEW) - Beaumont, TX (KBPT)
LEG 6 - PA-32 Lance - Beaumont, TX (KBPT) - Temple, TX (KTPL)
LEG 7 - Cessna 172RG - Temple, TX (KTPL) - Midland, TX (KMAF)
Intermission - Sub Orbital Flight
LEG 8 - A-36 Bonanza - Midland, TX (KMAF) - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ)
LEG 9 - Cessna 404 - Albuquerque, NM (KABQ) - Montrose, CO (KMTJ)
LEG 10 - Grumman AA-5B Tiger - Montrose, CO (KMTJ) - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC)
LEG 11 - BE-58 Baron - Salt Lake City, UT (KSLC) - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2)
LEG 12 - Navion 205 - Johnson Creek, Idaho (3U2) - Mile Hi, Idaho (I97D)
LEG 13 - J-3 Cub - Mile Hi, Idaho (I97D) - Krassel, ID (24K)
So we jumped ahead a month or so to put this plane a little bit out of order, but we’ll jump back for the next flight. The reason is, the Mooney M20 isn’t exactly an airplane you’d expect to see rolling in and out of forestry service strips. In fact, it has been my observation that most Mooney pilots would rather stay in the hangar and wipe down their baby with a fine cheesecloth and admire themselves in the reflection. Oh stop it…I’m being mean!
In reality, I’ve found that there definitely does seem to be a Mooney “type” of pilot. They are sticklers for everything. They are the type that will order 6.5 gallons of fuel per side. They will fully brief you on the towing limits of their aircraft. I know I’m over generalizing here, but after spending a few years on the flight line pumping gas, we pretty much had Mooney pilots pegged.
I had the opportunity to fly several Mooney variants over the years to include the M20C and M20J (Mooney 201). There was a really, really old guy at the FBO in North Myrtle Beach that owned a Mooney M20C in a blue and white paint scheme. He was famous for his erratic flying and his stubborn persistence to keep flying even though he was deteriorating both mentally and physically. It was nice to see someone trying to stave off old age…but we also worried he’d hurt himself or others. Eventually, he landed gear up in the Mooney and I think that finally put an end to his unaccompanied flying.
I went flying with the old guy once and was happy to survive the experience. His aircraft was maintained with NAPA parts - completely illegal but probably a quarter of the cost of FAA certified parts. The plane (this is not a lie) had sandals affixed to the rudder pedals and a golf ball as the end of the throttle plunger.
For our very short, 80 nm flight from Krassel, ID to Enterprise, Oregon we will be using the very old Carenado Mooney M20C. My version is an old, non-updatable version for which I wrote a review many, many years ago. Thus, it only works with X-Plane 9 and somewhat with X-Plane 10. With the ongoing Carenado sale at the store, I’d be curious if the latest version works with XP11. So I’ll be flying this trip in a hastily cobbled together XP10 install…
My old Mooney version has some prop artifacts, and the keys don’t work in the cockpit, so you have to do everything with the mouse. For XP10, I just used some HD mesh and Idaho/Oregon ortho scenery…and it actually turned out really nice! XP10 still looks fantastic.
Climbing out of Krassel…(cue the joke…has anyone made the “Krassel Run” in less than 12 parsecs??)…
Climbing up through the valley before turning on course…
I couldn’t get the default GPS to work in my old Mooney, so I just turned it off and used VOR/DME navigation to find Enterprise, Oregon.
The old man’s Mooney actually ran pretty nicely with regards to the engine. He had some jerry-rigged trim switch that was actually duct taped to the top of the left yoke horn. The guy couldn’t hear anything and ATC, seeing his call sign come up, would know they had a special case on their hands. He had, on occasion, landed without clearance more than once.
Picking up the outbound VOR radial which we will track for 60nm to the airfield…
A smidge of weather ahead…hoping for clear skies over the field since it is another VFR only airfield…
Just after this picture…X-Plane 10 crashed to desktop because it had some problem with the next ortho tile loading (I’m guessing something in my copy/pasted tile from XP11 was not compatible with XP10).
So I loaded the Mooney in XP11, which will not display the virtual cockpit, and just finished up the last few minutes flying with the HUD view.
I’ve landed on airports with just about this much grass growing through cracks in the pavement (Laurinburg-Maxton before they resurfaced their runway and closed the other runways). Make sure you check your Mooney for ticks after this.
The Mooney is a great airplane. The later variants are extremely quick (and extremely expensive). They aren’t the roomiest aircraft in the world, but they are luxurious. I always found their ground handling to be a bit wobbly for some reason…which is odd because they have a fairly wide stance. They were also slippery, requiring careful vertical planning so as to reach the airport or approach area without closing the throttle excessively fast. Later models added tiny speedbrakes that popped out of the wings to assist in adding drag.
No doubt, sadly, the old man is long in his grave unless he lived into his hundreds. I like to think wherever you end up, you are transformed there into your prime and that he is winging around doing what it was he loved for eternity.
I’ll have to take a short break from the X-Mas flight while I concentrate on my King Air recurrent checkride the next few days. But I’ll be back!