I have been planning to fly to Detroit, MI for a few months now for a college friend of mine's bachelor party. I used ForeFlight on my iPad to plan the trip from KDMW to KVLL (Oakland/Troy Airport). KVLL is literally right next to my friends house, so it was super convenient. A few days before the trip, I noticed a bunch of TFR's that were popping up from Toledo, OH through Pittsburgh, PA. The President was going a bus tour that caused a widespread TFR, Luckily, the day I planned to fly out to KVLL, the TFR's dissipated to only the greater Pittsburgh area. It wouldn't be a big deal to divert south a little before heading up north.
With my new ADS-B antenna system, I was picking up a few ADS-B messages on the ground before I took off from KDMW. You can see in this pic the "hot" TFR's around Pittsburgh and my flight plan to deviate around them. The weather was forecasted to be good around KDMW and KVLL, but where MD, OH and PA come together it was calling for some fog. I decided to at least make an attempt to get going, with hopes the fog would burn off.
When I did my mag check before I took off, the right Slick mag was running rough. I leaned it back during the runup to burn some of the lead off of the plug. However, the engine seemed to run a little rougher today. I couldn't lean it back too much (8.8/9 GPH at 70% power was about all I could do). The CHT's were also higher, with the #3 peaking out at 390 degrees. I figured everything was still in the "green" for temps, so I kept on going.
Over Western MD, looking North was a cloud layer. I was cruising at 8,500'.
Just south of me the clouds were breaking, so I had a nice way to get down in VFR conditions in case something happened.
The ADS-B receiver was working awesome. The new antenna really helps out. I was getting tons of information.
It was chilly at 8,500' - 59 degrees F!
I needed to put the heat on because the cabin was getting cold.
The moon looked awesome this morning.
It was a little hazy out. Looking behind me was much worse into the sun.
Not bad to make it to North West WV in 1 hour!
CHT #3 was high - but so were all the others. EGT's were low - usually they are in the 1400's. However, Oil temps were very reasonable.
After crossing over Toledo at 8,500', I started my descent in order to get under Detroit's class bravo, however, I needed to be above Ann Arbors class Delta. MI is a really beautiful state. It was picturesque with how green it was and the lakes.
During my descent the CHT's cooled off nicely. It was a smooth landing at KVLL. I departed KDMW at 6:30am and landed at KVLL at 9:20am - 2:50 enroute. I was on the golf course enjoying a beer by 10:30am with all my friends. I put my RV in a hangar at Oakland/Troy for $15/night. I couldn't say no to that deal, especially when parking outside was $10/night.
The weekend went by entirely too quickly. Before I knew it, Sunday morning had arrived. The weather was forecasted to be better than it turned out to be. I saw a slow moving system running across southern MI, and also low ceilings in OH/PA. I decided to get out of MI while I could still make it around Toledo, and see if the conditions would improve in OH/PA. You can see here how great the GRT EFIS is pointing out airspace.
The iPad has turned out to be a great sidekick, however, the sunlight readability has a lot to be desired.
KARB - Ann Arbor Airport
The GRT saved my bacon here. I didn't even see KCLE's class Bravo airspace extended in this way. It wasn't obvious on the VFR maps. On the way home, the engine ran much better. CHT's were in the 350's and EGT's were back in the low 1400's. Fuel flow was also in the 8's. I have no idea why the engine was differently a few days ago.
As I was crossing OH, the weather was getting worse. The ceiling was at 4,000' and I was cruising at 3,500'. I knew there was terrain at 3,500' ahead where I would cross the mountains in mid-PA. The ADS-B weather painted a grim picture of low ceilings ahead, along with a small storm on ADS-B radar. I decided to land at Washington County Airport (KAFJ) and see if the weather would improve.
Washington County Airport is located just south of Pittsburgh. I have driven by this place about a million times whenever I would drive out to college. I walked into the FBO and a Pitts owner (Robbie) immediately started asking about the RV. I showed him all the bells and whistles I had in it. I told him I was waiting out some weather to fly east. He offered to drive me into town for some lunch. Deal! I was starving anyways. Robbie was a great host for my short stay in PA.
After 2 hours I saw the weather was clearing up nicely. I also saw some storms were forming in western MD and I thought it would be a good idea to try to beat them back.
While pre-flighting, I noticed my gear leg fairing bracket broke again. I think that when the legs flex on landing, it puts some stress on these brackets. If I had the intersection fairings installed, this wouldn't be a problem because they would hold them in place.
Quick fix was some duct tape!
After I took off I kept a close eye on the Air/Sigmets and the radar of the storms. Looks like I was good to make it home if I boogied.
Using the terrain functionality of the GRT maps made it easy to know if I could make it over the mountains in front of me with the current cloud deck. What a great EFIS!
Hard to see, but there was an awesome wind generator farm that I flew over.
The rest of the trip was a little stressful with keeping a close eye on the weather. I tried to align what I saw outside with what ADS-B's NEXRAD's radar was showing. It was a great sight to see KDMW after I rounded over KTHV (York, PA).
This was the longest fight I have done by far yet. I feel much more confident with my piloting and navigation skills. I also truly value the onboard ADS-B weather system I installed. It was some of the best money I have spent on the RV yet. It made making the go/no-go decision easy, and gave me confidence in how conditions were changing ahead and behind me. Total Hobbs time for this trip was 5.9 hours. What a machine!!!!
Last Modified: August 13, 2023