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The Trip Home


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This winter in AZ was the best yet. Had the opportunity to fly the mountains, the desert, and best of all formation flying with other CT pilots. Alas, all good things must come to an end. Due to medical scheduling for my granddaughter I had to leave earlier than planned and only had a two week window of opportunity. Otherwise we would have to leave and Eric ( coppercity) would fly 504CT home. Nice to have that option but REALLY wanted to fly it myself.


Last Tuesday it looked like a 1-1/2 day window opened up so Wed. morning before sun up I headed out. With strong tailwinds there was an outside I chance I could do it in one day. Flew from Tucson to Raton CO @ 10K, couldn’t have been better, 12-20 kn. tail winds and CAVU. Fueled up in Raton and headed for Yankton SD. Leaving CO encountered slight turbulence so went to 12K, nice & smooth.


Entering SD I noticed xm-weather indicated clouds ahead and a thunderstorm far out on my right. Altered course a little to stay well away from it. About then I started picking up scattered clouds at 10-12K. Pretty soon they were scattered to broken at 13K. I went to 14K and checked weather ahead. The front ( the one that wasn’t supposed to be there) was 80-100 miles ahead. Checked metars in the area, scattered to broken @ 5-7K. Beyond the front was CAVU. Passing through the front was a non-event, not sure what I expected.


Clear sailing to Yankton but then I realized I hadn’t taken daylight savings time into consideration. No chance to make home (Duluth MN) before dark. The forecast for Thurs. was not good and I really didn’t want to stay overnight since it might end up being five days. Although I liked night flying my 152 I hadn’t landed 504CT at night and knew this was not the time to try ; so I stayed.


At 2:30am I checked weather and it looked like a 3hr. window would open early so I packed up and was at the airport @ 5am. Packed, preflight and took off before sunrise. Not only was it clear but had strong tailwinds most of the way. Stayed low due to cloud cover and favorable winds. 138 knots at 3000 agl is really a hoot.


When I landed it at home it was cold & clear, however 1-1/2 hrs. later we had snow & rain. Hasn’t been above IFR since I got home. Did I mention the window was TINY?

I do a review after each x-country and decide what I did right & wrong. I was pleased that I stayed when I REALLY wanted to go; however I think I should have gone lower rather than higher in in NB. I was very impressed how quick it went to 14K and handling was fine but if those clouds had gone to 16K it could have been a different story.


I’ve had xm-weather for two years now but only in the last year have I had an opportunity to use it. Until something better comes along I’m sold on it. Only wish there there was a way to find cloud tops.


I really love x-country in this little bird. Most of the guys at my home base don’t think LSA’s are real airplanes, however I can’t think of one of them who’s flown there GA aircraft this far.


A few tense moments but can’t wait to go again.


Here are the stats for the trip: 1298nm., 11.3 hobbs ( probably 10.8 wheels up), 57gals fuel, 5.04 gals/hr and 22.71 nm.mi/gal



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You are right about real cross country airplane. For a number of years a did "snow bird" round trips from Fla. to upstate NY in my C-172. After switching to my CTSW I do the same trips in it. IFR as an option would be nice now and then, but since I'm retired an extra night or two just means a chance try a different p;ace to eat. Love that FltDesign.

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