Where have you been? What have you seen?
User avatar
By Rob L
Taylorcraft Tour West

To cut a very long story short, I bought a Taylorcraft in the States to join Jim and Mike on a tour of the western USA to help Jim complete flying in every State in the lower 48. This is in memory of our friend the late Lee Bowden, who was Jim's flying companion for many trips, and they missed flying in only six of the contiguous States. This trip was to finish that tally.

My new steed:


and Mike's new steed, again bought especially for the trip:


The trip started from Dacy, Illinois (0C0) with just Mike & I.


We met up with Jim at the annual AAA fly-in at Blakesburg, Iowa. From there, we went to Jim's airport where we carried out some pre-trip maintenance and had a respite from the 90-plus temps of Blakesburg:


From there to Spearfish South Dakota.


En route we stopped at Wall (of drug store fame), where we enjoyed some hilarity:


More to follow when internet access allows.

Friday 11th September

Wednesday we hired a car and spent the day largely driving around the Black Hills. Some touristy silliness was mandatory:



but an impromptu evening flight saw us overfly the placed we had visited by road:


Leaving Spearfish on Thursday morning, we flew past Devil's Tower:


before heading south-west to Rawlins, Wyoming. There were some vast open-cast coal mines on the way:


Rawlins would be one of the highest elevation fields for us at 6800' or so. DA on our day was 9500' (good thing it has a 10,000 ft runway!


A further brief fuel stop at Rock Springs saw us west-bound for the high stuff for our destination of Brigham City, Utah. We needed to climb to 10,000 feet or so to maintain a safe clearance, and with a stiff headwind and being at about gross weight and with only 65hp and no mixture control, this took us some time! (Oil temp a bit high too!)



Brigham City:

Today, Friday, we had another glorious day, with clear skies and a slight tailwind for the two-stop trip from Brigham City to Mountain Home for fuel and then an overnight at Dry Creek air park, staying with friends of Lee & Linda Bowden.


More to follow as further internet access allows.
Last edited by Rob L on Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Great story and lovely pictures - love it!
Saturday 12th

When we departed for this trip, we always knew it would be an adventure. Well, things have a habit of changing rapidly. We departed our kind hosts at the airpark to go to a fly-in breakfast at the local airport a few miles away.

6 miles out, I noticed my oil pressure, which had previously been very steady at 32psi, had dropped to less than 10.

When I knew I could glide in, I turned the engine off and landed.

A quick check at the side of the runway revealed oil still in the tank and no leaks at all, so I taxied to the local EAA Chapter hangar.


I thought that there may have been a bit of crud or carbon stuck under the oild pressure relief valve, so I checked that and found some small metallic pieces.

Pulling the screen revealed this:



The filter was so blocked the pressure had crushed the screen.

So here we are still, considering our options.

Anyone got a good mid-time A65 or A75 available?


More to follow.
User avatar
By Adrian
Rob - what a shame. That started so well and I was looking forward to reading more. On the bright side, at least you were in reach of an airport - there are lots of places in the West where you wouldn't want to land in a field..... even if there was a field to land in. Hope you can get underway again soon.
User avatar
By Charles Hunt
Really enjoying the report, well, except for the last bit. Hope you get going again soon.
Tuesday 15th Sept 2015

I left something out on purpose in my last entry, because nothing was finalised at that time of writing. You may note in the last photo the tail of a blue aeroplane, which is an Aeronca Chief.

Very shortly after my little problem was identified, the local EAA Chapter told us that the Chief had been purchased by a new owner in Texas, and that he had not found a ferry pilot to deliver it (remember, we are in central Oregon).

The new owner had commissioned the local Engineer to dismantle it for road freight to El Paso, which was due to be done in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, it hadn't flown for several years, was out of annual and was uninsured.

Within an hour, I had spoken to both the new and previous owners and a plan was formulated. We also phoned the local IA, who approved us to do the work for the annual. Bearing in mind this is Saturday, the IA agreed to come in on Sunday to do the inspection.

Without delay, the three of us and the EAA Chapter dove in to get the annual done.

By Sunday evening, the annual was done, signed off and aeroplane put back together again. All we needed now was insurance.

Come Monday morning (yesterday), the insurance was sorted, and after a short check-out with the local CFI...

...the triumverates resume journey west & north. Our delay cost us 48 hours. We missed the Hood River fly-in, and amended the trip to catch up one more day.

So since Monday morning, we have NOT been a three-Taylorcraft tour, but given the circumstances (and the co-incidence of finding an aircraft available), I'm a happy bunny.

Monday saw us fly to McMineville (KMMV) for the Evergreen museum, home of the Spruce Goose. Jim's Sabreliner (N50CR) is parked underneath it. This machine was used by Collins for the development of the first TCAS in the late eighties, and Jim flew many hundreds of hours in it during those tests.

...and soon after departure from there, we reached the Pacific:


Tonight sees us at Paine field (KPAE), Everett, Seattle, for the Boeing Restoration facility, having already been into Boeing field (KBFI) for their big museum.

(below is my newer steed taken through one of the windows of G-BOAG)

I don't know what will happen to the Taylorcraft we left at Prineville. That decision can wait until we finish this tour.

As can the decision on how to get my newer steed to El Paso.
Great news Rob!

Admire the spirit and look forward to reading the next installment!
User avatar
By Keef
You don't mess about, do you! Well done, and enjoy the further exploits!
Weds 16th Sept 2015

Today we enjoyed the hospitality of the Paine Field FBO, Castle & Cook, who not only drove us to & from our hotel, but also ferried us around the many Museums on Paine field.

We started with the obligatory Boeing Factory tour (no cameras allowed) which was quite mundane, in my opinion. The high-balcony viewpoint and lack of obvious activity made it appear to be looking upon a model train set.

But the Historic Flight Collection and the Flying Heritage Museum were both worth several hours of our time.

All the modest number of aircraft in the Historic Flight Collection are airworthy:

The aircraft in the Flying Heritage Museum are not all airworthy, but they did have some interesting exhibits:

Added to the general hubbub was the constant coming-and-going of Boeing aircraft on various test and delivery flights:

Later this afternoon, and to escape incoming weather, we crossed the Cascades to the lowlands between them & the Rockies (that's tomorrow's excitement).

This evening sees us at a former US training airfield in Ephrata. Not a soul around, but the crew room is open and the courtesy car has the keys in!

...to be continued.