Kallithea Oshkosh 2022 Trip - Day 3

PeterFromLA

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
196
Location
Los Angeles
Aircraft
American Ranger AR-1, Kallithea
Total Flight Time
800+
Oshkosh 2022 Trip – Day 3

Day 3 started long before first light. The same shuttle that took me from the airport, brought me back… at 4:00 AM… By the time I made it to the FBO’s hangar, I had close to an hour before sunrise. Some final preparation took most of the time, but at 15 minutes before the sun was supposed to show up, I started the engine, did my run-up procedure, and started taxiing to the main runway.

Even at that early hour the density altitude was at 2,000 feet above the field elevation, but the 10,000-foot runway was reassuring. I don’t like flying in darkness over unfamiliar terrain, but there was plenty of visibility, so I launched.

The first leg of the day was to Rawlins – a fairly straight forward plan… follow Highway 80, avoid bad weather.

A spectacular sunrise greeted me soon after my departure from Rock Springs, but soon after the sun disappeared behind the clouds. You will not hear me complaining about that after being baked to a crisp for the last two days.

Spectacular landscapes were all around me, and the morning sun painted them in outlandish colors… or, maybe they were in those color to begin with. Being busy flying leaves little time to ponder the finer details of what you see around you – you just accept it as it is and move on to the next fantastic sight.

At Rawlins, I verified my fuel burn was as expected and fueled before continuing to Laramie. Talking to the airport manager it became clear that my decision to cut the day short was a good one, since a violent storm passed through the area in the afternoon.

Between Rawlins and Laramie, I passed just north of Elk Mountain and the Medicine Bowl wilderness. Although these are high mountains, they do not tower over the terrain around them. That being said, they are significant terrain features attracting and generating strong weather systems. This morning things were quiet and I was enjoying the marvelous views of the slopes.

As I picked up fuel at Laramie e regional jet pilot inquired over the radio about the gyro – everybody like to hear more about it, it appears…
😉

Immediately after departing Laramie, I had to cross the highest terrain in my journey at almost 9,000 feet. At this point I was accustomed to climbing high, so patiently and deliberately Hummingbird (this is what I call my gyro) and I climbed to around 9,500 feet, and went over the summit.

Fantastic rock formations greeted us just east of the summit and west of Cheyenne.

Cheyenne itself was preparing for an annual event and an annoying TFR was blocking the most direct route to the east. On top of that the ATC tower asked me to stay even further to the south of their airspace. That was a bit frustrating, but what can you do. At least I explored the area south of the city.
As I was approaching Kimball airport, I started appreciating the lower terrain, the open green expanse. The only problem was the 10 to 20 knot headwinds at my usual flight altitude of 2,000 feet AGL.

I learned that above 9,500 feet the headwind was just 5 knots, so immediately after refueling at Kimball, I climbed up there. That put me close to the cloud layer, but the winds were indeed less strong.

My final destination for the day was Sioux City which is located in north western Iowa, so at some point I had to abandon Highway 80 and cut diagonally through the middle of Nebraska. The only point was to choose the right point to pivot.

Well, after refueling at Ogallala, and battling the headwinds at lower altitudes, I looked for a reachable airport and turned in the north easternly direction. Was that the best decision of the day would be an argument for another day.

The changing of direction took me away from the civilization along the major highway, and put right smack in the middle of cow country. Gentle rolling hills, clumps of trees here and there, cow herds everywhere, picturesque streams… and no signs of human existence. At one point, I was close to 3,000 feet above the ground, looked around and from horizon to horizon there was not a single man maid structure.

Thomas County Airport is in the middle of this sea of green rolling hills. There I met a Canadian pilot on his way to Oshkosh, who was mesmerized by the surrounding as much as I was, although he flew significantly higher than I did.

By the time I reached Creighton Airport, the rolling hills were behind me and in front of me was flat farm land. I also realized that with all the hard riding already done that day, I was only an hour away from my destination with plenty of daylight still left.

So, for the last leg of the day, I slowed down, and just enjoyed a leisurely flight similar to the one I enjoy so much back home. As an added bonus the strong headwinds were left further to the south, and I did not have a reason to stress the engine in order to achieve decent ground speed.

Believe it or not, there is a road that passes by Creighton airport, and goes straight to the east to Sioux City and Martin Field where I finally ended this long flying day.
My good friend Tom, a new Kallithea owner, met me there and opened his house to me, for which I am forever grateful.

As I was analyzing the events of the day in my head, I realized that even with the delays on Day 2, I was completely on schedule to reach Kenosha and eventually Oshkosh according to my preset time table.

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PeterFromLA

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
196
Location
Los Angeles
Aircraft
American Ranger AR-1, Kallithea
Total Flight Time
800+
Rock Springs can be windy at times.
Wind is a welcome addition when you need all the help you can get battling very high density altitude, butu when I was there KRKS was actually one of the airports with very nice weather... both times.... and that 10,000 foot runway is fantastic...
 
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