Monday, June 1, 2015

Las Vegas

Wow, I just realized its the first of June and I haven't posted in a while.  (Sorry Harry!)  So lets start with a recent trip Amy and I made.  Last week Amy and I took our first long cross country trip in the airplane.  We flew from Pierce County Airport to Reno-Stead (where the Reno air races are held) and then on down to Henderson Airport on the south end of the strip in Las Vegas.  The trip was a challenging one from the weather perspective.  We planned to leave by 5am on Friday morning to beat the fog but when we arrived there was already a low layer of clouds/fog.  It wasn't until about noon before we got off the ground with enough blue sky to head south.  The clouds and rain plagued us the whole way down and we had to deviate twice around thunderstorms.  But after about 5 hours of flying we landed safely in a pretty strong headwind.  The FBO at Henderson was awesome, met us at parking, tied the plane down, gave us each a bottle of water and the keys to our rental car.

We didn't do a lot at Vegas but we did get to see a new show LaReve which was pretty awesome. There are a few pictures of the set below.  I will say that it was much more pleasant in Vegas this time with far fewer smokers and the hotel we stayed at was entirely smoke free!

The return trip was with a headwind so it took us a bit longer and we again had to deal with the weather.  The worst of the trip was getting into the Seattle area and we ended up deviating west and coming up through the Portland area.  We got home safely and we had a good trip.

We learned a few things about travel that I will have to address.  First, its cold at altitude!  When we were at 14,500' the outside air temp was 22 degrees and the sidewalls of the airplane were cold!  Some sort of interior insulation is going to be required so I guess its time to order the cockpit interior pieces.

Second, the airplane needs more storage.  No place to put small items such as cell phones, snacks, sunglasses, etc.  I think I am going to re-do the right side panel to include a glove box type of storage.  The interior panels that I am ordering will have a few pockets as well.

We did find that the canopy does have a small water leak when I fly through rain.  At the back where the slider track enters the cockpit there is an area where the interior is open to the outside.  Not much of an area but it is visible.  I didn't think it would be a problem because of the air flow over the canopy but it turns out that there is a low pressure area there that allows rain to wick back into the airplane.  I did a little research and found that this is normal for a slider and that I can use the soft side of velcro to help plug the gap.

Finally I found out what people mean when they say the RV-9 wing loves altitude.  I was cruising at 10,500' leaned back to just lean of peak EGT and I was burning about 8 gph doing just above 150 kts TAS.  When I climbed up to 14,500' the engine was only burning 7 gph and I was still doing 150+ kts!  I didn't have oxygen on board for Amy so I couldn't try any higher but I will soon.

Ok here are a few pictures.

Amy saddled up and ready for the trip.

The Nevada desert

All buttoned up for the stay at Henderson.

Dark and grainy selfie with Amy at the set of LaReve

Another view of the set.  There is a pool of water under that blue mist and the seating is a huge bowl around the stage.

The set at the completion of the show.

Red Canyon as we are climbing out of the Vegas area.

A parting shot of the west side of Vegas.  The strip can be seen in the distance.

This was pretty much our view the whole way.  Clouds in puffy groups all around.

You can see the mountains under those clouds.