This is a followup blog to “Bringing Home The Bravo – Part 1

So in my first couple of Bravo posts, I shared with you why I choose the Bravo and the process of actually starting to get it home. In the second part I will talk about the actual trip itself and how it went!

Mary and I took off from KFXE first thing in the morning with the goal of making it to KDVT the same day. The Bravo holds 120 gallons of fuel and at 10,500 to 12,500′ we planned for most of the trip, we would have a true airspeed of 185 to 190 Knots. So we could make the entire trip in a day with two fuel stops, weather permitting!

It was great having someone along besides just myself. When I told Mary I was going to pick up the plane, she immediately signed up for the trip, even after I told her I had never flown a Mooney before! Of course, the Mooney has no bathroom, so the planned stops had to take that into account. With 120 gallons onboard, it was more than possible the plane could fly longer than either of us! We targeted about four hours but since we were flying VFR, we could adjust that as necessary. It turns out that our first leg was actually 5.2 hours! Not too bad!

On our way

Our first leg took us Northwest out of the Fort Lauderdale area towards Palm Beach, across Lake Okeechobee and up over Sebring. My goal was to get away from the Everglades as quickly as possible, and not head out over the Gulf but rather stay over dry land as much as possible. Since I was very new to this plane and the area, I wanted a safe route in the event something happened.

Making our way up Florida

As we started out the trip, I decided to stay at 8,500′ although we would eventually get much higher enroute back to California. The 8,500′ was a comfortable altitude based on the current weather and winds and we had a nice view too!

Sunrise in Florida

 

We were not doing too bad on our fuel consumption at 8,500′. The EDM-930 was showing about 17 gallons per hour at 180 knots true air speed. I had the power dialed down to 2400 rpm and 30 inches of manifold pressure which was showing me at an 80% power setting.

 

EDM 930

 

As we continued toward Tallahassee we climbed to 10,500′ and at the same fuel burn our true airspeed and our ground speed increased. Not a huge amount, but it did increase! I can tell you, the EDM-930 is a fantastic piece of equipment and replaced all of the analog gauges in the Bravo.

Hanging out at 10,500′

 

Once we made Tallahassee, we plugged AXE into our GPS and headed towards Louisiana. The weather was still nice, but we could see some stuff building, nothing major but we would need to keep on pushing if we were going to make the trip in one day. They were starting to call for convective activity over central Texas and we still had a long way to go before we passed it.

 

Heading to KAEX

 

Coming up on KECP

 

Since this was our first long trip in the Mooney, we were playing with all of the gadgets the previous owner had installed. The Garmin G600 is a fantastic panel and the EDM930 gives you a very powerful view of all of the engine parameters at a glance. Of course, I would eventually redo the entire panel and interior to suit me, but that is a post for another day!

This was Mary’s first long cross country trip in a small airplane and she loved it. We had a fantastic trip and we really enjoyed the unique experience together.

Enjoying the ride

 

Looking good

 

So our first stop was in Alexendria Louisiana (KAEX). THe first leg of our journey took up 5.2 hours on the hobbs (which included taxi & run-up). In Alexendria we pumped 83 gallons of 100LL into the Bravo. At 5.2 hours on the hobbs, we averaged 16 gallons per hour over the first leg of the trip. The first leg was right around 800nm.

KAEX

 

So after a much needed break, some fuel (for both the plane and for us) and some walking around, we were ready to take to the skys once again. We took off and headed towards Texas and watched as the weather started to build. By my calculations we could make it past the building storm, passing south of it without getting too close to the system.

 

Storm building

 

Picking up the storm on XM

 

Building fast!

 

Moving past the storm….

 

Phew…we made it past the system without getting caught up it in much at all. We ended up with a little turbulence and jumped between 8,500′ and 12,500′ to try and smooth it out, but in the end we just put up with it until we started our descent into Roswell, NM.

AEX to ROW

 

Our leg mileage from AEX to ROW worked out to be roughly 650 nautical miles which we did in 4.3 hours. Once at ROW we pumped 69 gallons of 100LL giving us an average of 16 gph for the second leg.

Our plan was to fuel and jump back into the air right away, but there was a frontal system that basically planted itself between us and Deer Valley (Phoenix Arizona) so it looked like we were going to be spending the rest of the day and night in Roswell NW. Thankfully we had our ID cards so we could move about freely without being worried about deportation!

License!

 

One of the very cool things about Roswell (at least for me) was all of the aircraft sitting on the ramp. All kinds of jets from carriers all around the world sit in Roswell collecting dust and waiting to be purchased or put back on the line. It was an awesome site!

Sitting on the ramp at KROW

 

So after a wonderful day walking all over Roswell and picking up some shirts for us and the kids, we climbed aboard 87M and headed south towards El Paso to get around the White Sands Missile Range. No sense making ourselves more of a target then we needed to be!

Heading towards El Paso

KROW to KDVT

 

DVT Ahead!

 

So with another 450 miles behind us we landed at Deer Valley Airport (KDVT) on the Northwest side of Phoenix Arizona. We used 52 gallons of 100LL and it took us 3.5 hours on the hobbs to make that leg.

Mary and I at DVT

 

Of course, all of the kids wanted to see the plane and check it out.

The girls like the plane…

 

Alien Encounter!

 

The following day I climbed about the Mooney and made the final leg to CRQ, my home base. The trip was amazing and it really gave Mary a feel for flying small airplanes. She helped with all the checklist work the entire trip and now she has started ground school for her private pilot’s certificate. Overall, another wonderful memory building experience!

Florida to California