Kallithea Oshkosh 2022 Trip - Departing from Mentone

PeterFromLA

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
196
Location
Los Angeles
Aircraft
American Ranger AR-1, Kallithea
Total Flight Time
800+
Oshkosh 2022 Adventure ( 8 ) – Returning home – Day 1

Well, it was that time… the time to finally head back home. The emotions of visiting Oshkosh for the first time, and meeting good friends at Mentone had to be put aside for later revisiting, but now I had to concentrate on 3 or 4 days of hard flying going West, going home to California.
A good friend sacrificed his morning sleep to drive me from Warsaw, where our hotel was, to Mentone – I owe him big. Early morning departure would ensure the maximum amount of available daylight, and although summer days are long, one should not be wasteful. Additionally, flying early in the morning would provide cooler temperatures.

My flight preparations revealed that an anticipated cold front was ahead of its schedule, so my plan of reaching Davenport, IA, by midday was out the window. That part of the country was about to get drenched. I also realized that all of this activity was contained just north of Peoria, IL, which left me a path around the front I can comfortably follow. Alright, let’s roll…

With the morning sun just peeking over the horizon, I finished my preflight procedure and cranked the engine. As I was wining for the temps to get in the green, I realized something that was never a problem in my open cockpit adventures – the windshield fogged in the moment I sat in the cabin. I was 100% sure the air vents will alleviate this problem once we get in the air, but taxing would be a problem in this condition. Lucky for me the Kallithea has a heater in the nose of the aircraft, so I used its fan to circulate air. That helped a bit, and I was able to taxi for takeoff.

Mentone airport does not have taxiways, so one must taxi back on the runway itself. As I reached the north end I made a U-turn, did my runup on the spot… the airport is not busy, especially at this time of the day… pre-rotated and took off. Since the surface is quite rough, I executed a modified soft field takeoff by jumping off the runway as soon as possible but then remained in ground effect to get my airspeed up. Once in the air, I did a circle around the grounds, waved goodbye, and headed to the West-South-West.

The sky ahead was fairly clear, but at my altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet of the ground there was some morning haze. Not a fog, but since I am unfamiliar with the local weather patterns, I kept my guard up.

The first fuel stop of the day was Jasper County Airport with its nice long runway and well-maintained ramp and fuel pumps. It was Sunday morning, so there was nobody to be seen. After topping off, I reassessed the weather situation. The southern edge of the front was at Peoria, and from the colors on the map, it looked like some heavy rain was falling. I adjusted by plans, plotted them in ForeFlight, and after a quick restroom break, headed out toward my next destination – Bloomington. IL.

The flat landscape of Illinois allows for safe straight-line flights from point A to Point B. No need to follow the roads the way I do when the terrain is a bit more challenging. At this time of the day, the sun was getting higher over the horizon, so the temperatures were also climbing. There was also 8 to 10 knots wind from the South-West, which was slowing down my progress somewhat, but I believe it was also contributing to the rain being confined to the north of my route.
Bloomington is a fairly large towered airport. As I was taxiing to the FBO, the tower warned me not to make the mistake to turn prematurely into the passenger terminal apron. The big yellow sign “TERMINAL” was enough of a warning in my opinion, but I do appreciate when the tower tries to help transient pilots in any way they can.

The helpful ramp personnel at the FBO were quick to assist in getting my fuel. Of course, we did spend few minutes talking about that crazy machine called gyroplane, but by now I had my act perfected so I managed to give them a good presentation in no time.

As I was planning my next stop, I had to make a decision to either wait for maybe an hour for some precipitation to clear, or the swing even further south into northern Missouri. I decided to stay a bit longer on the ground at Bloomington, while monitoring the conditions around Peoria. If push comes to shove, I could have stayed right where I was and wait for the weather to pass.

As an hour, then two passed by, I realized that my route was open enough to proceed further to the West. Few potential diversion airports along the way helped me in making the decision to continue. Within minutes I was strapped in, and taxing toward the active runway. With no delay I was cleared to takeoff and I headed toward Macomb, my next destination.

Macomb Airport is located in the middle of a sea of corn and soy beans – green as far as eye can see. As with all other rural airports there was not a soul around on Sunday, but their Pilot’s Lounge was airconditioned and in very good shape. By reaching Macomb, I managed to skirt the cold front, so now I would be able to swing my route into southern Iowa where I would be closer to Hwy. 80 going West.

The familiar cycle of toping off the fuel tanks, adding Decalin to the fuel, visiting the little boys’ room was repeating once again, and before I knew it, I was in the air again. Soon after I approached the Mississippi at Burlington. It was the third time would fly over the mighty rivel, and I still remember my first “crossing” at Baton Rouge in 2019.

My next stop was Ottumwa, Iowa. The airport looked deserted as the ones I just visited, but soon enough I met a young lady who was driving the fuel truck for a jet that was about to take off. It turned out there is always somebody manning the FBO. I took a mental note of this for future planning and went back to the familiar routine. As I was plotting the course for my next leg, I realized that Lincoln, Nebraska, would be a good stopping point, and it was reachable within 3 to 4 hours. Oh, and there was a conveniently positioned airport at Creston, Iowa, half way between Ottumwa and Lincoln for a pit stop.

Now, with that more advanced goal in mind, I jumped back on the pilot seat and headed out. A second wave of storms was pushing its way to the East, and its southern edge was around Omaha. That was fine by me, since my route was allowing me to skirt it to the south as I did with the previous front.

All day long the sky was changing from dark and cloudy to blue and sunny, back and forth. Occasionally I can see in the distance thunderstorm clouds billowing into the heavens. My ADS-B screen was very good in plotting the precipitation on both sides of my path.

The usual quick stop at Creston set me for my last leg of the day to Lincoln. There was no bad weather between me and my target, but Omaha was being drenched as I was zooming by some 30 miles to the south.

Although I was not dealing with thunderstorms, there was another weather phenomenon that is very annoying. At this time of the day the sun is starting to lean toward the western horizon and its rays hit the haze at such an angle that makes it very hard to see through in the distance. At the altitude I was flying, I was going to avoid most ground obstacles from below, and most fixed wing traffic from above, so I was not excessively concerned about a midair collision, but that did not make the flying particularly pleasant.

I was concerned that Lincoln may switch to Instrument Flying Rules (IFR) if the haze gets particularly thick. That would not have been a good situation, but as I neared the city, it was obvious the conditions were not that bad. I friendly tower controller directed me to Rwy. 35, and soon after I touched down, I was parking at the FBO. Here is a good time to give a big shout out for Duncan Aviation. These guys took a good care of Hummingbird and me. They put the aircraft in a cozy hangar, called the local hotel to make reservations for me, then used their shuttle bus to take me to the hotel. That’s a “10” in my book.

On that high note, my first day of the return trip was coming to an end. Although there were few delays, my overall progress was great, and I was looking forward to getting some rest before another day of hard “riding” would take me even closer to home.

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GyrOZprey

Aussie in Kansas.
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
3,170
Location
Whitewater KS
Aircraft
Butterfly Aurora N5560Z / Titanium Explorer N456TE & N488TE/ - trained in MTOsport 446QT/488FB
Total Flight Time
957
EPIC trip Peter ....thanks for the detailed gyro-blog!:)
 

querist

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2022
Messages
289
Location
Longview, Texas, USA
Oshkosh 2022 Adventure ( 8 ) – Returning home – Day 1

Well, it was that time… the time to finally head back home. The emotions of visiting Oshkosh for the first time, and meeting good friends at Mentone had to be put aside for later revisiting, but now I had to concentrate on 3 or 4 days of hard flying going West, going home to California.
A good friend sacrificed his morning sleep to drive me from Warsaw, where our hotel was, to Mentone – I owe him big. Early morning departure would ensure the maximum amount of available daylight, and although summer days are long, one should not be wasteful. Additionally, flying early in the morning would provide cooler temperatures.

My flight preparations revealed that an anticipated cold front was ahead of its schedule, so my plan of reaching Davenport, IA, by midday was out the window. That part of the country was about to get drenched. I also realized that all of this activity was contained just north of Peoria, IL, which left me a path around the front I can comfortably follow. Alright, let’s roll…

With the morning sun just peeking over the horizon, I finished my preflight procedure and cranked the engine. As I was wining for the temps to get in the green, I realized something that was never a problem in my open cockpit adventures – the windshield fogged in the moment I sat in the cabin. I was 100% sure the air vents will alleviate this problem once we get in the air, but taxing would be a problem in this condition. Lucky for me the Kallithea has a heater in the nose of the aircraft, so I used its fan to circulate air. That helped a bit, and I was able to taxi for takeoff.

Mentone airport does not have taxiways, so one must taxi back on the runway itself. As I reached the north end I made a U-turn, did my runup on the spot… the airport is not busy, especially at this time of the day… pre-rotated and took off. Since the surface is quite rough, I executed a modified soft field takeoff by jumping off the runway as soon as possible but then remained in ground effect to get my airspeed up. Once in the air, I did a circle around the grounds, waved goodbye, and headed to the West-South-West.

The sky ahead was fairly clear, but at my altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet of the ground there was some morning haze. Not a fog, but since I am unfamiliar with the local weather patterns, I kept my guard up.

The first fuel stop of the day was Jasper County Airport with its nice long runway and well-maintained ramp and fuel pumps. It was Sunday morning, so there was nobody to be seen. After topping off, I reassessed the weather situation. The southern edge of the front was at Peoria, and from the colors on the map, it looked like some heavy rain was falling. I adjusted by plans, plotted them in ForeFlight, and after a quick restroom break, headed out toward my next destination – Bloomington. IL.

The flat landscape of Illinois allows for safe straight-line flights from point A to Point B. No need to follow the roads the way I do when the terrain is a bit more challenging. At this time of the day, the sun was getting higher over the horizon, so the temperatures were also climbing. There was also 8 to 10 knots wind from the South-West, which was slowing down my progress somewhat, but I believe it was also contributing to the rain being confined to the north of my route.
Bloomington is a fairly large towered airport. As I was taxiing to the FBO, the tower warned me not to make the mistake to turn prematurely into the passenger terminal apron. The big yellow sign “TERMINAL” was enough of a warning in my opinion, but I do appreciate when the tower tries to help transient pilots in any way they can.

The helpful ramp personnel at the FBO were quick to assist in getting my fuel. Of course, we did spend few minutes talking about that crazy machine called gyroplane, but by now I had my act perfected so I managed to give them a good presentation in no time.

As I was planning my next stop, I had to make a decision to either wait for maybe an hour for some precipitation to clear, or the swing even further south into northern Missouri. I decided to stay a bit longer on the ground at Bloomington, while monitoring the conditions around Peoria. If push comes to shove, I could have stayed right where I was and wait for the weather to pass.

As an hour, then two passed by, I realized that my route was open enough to proceed further to the West. Few potential diversion airports along the way helped me in making the decision to continue. Within minutes I was strapped in, and taxing toward the active runway. With no delay I was cleared to takeoff and I headed toward Macomb, my next destination.

Macomb Airport is located in the middle of a sea of corn and soy beans – green as far as eye can see. As with all other rural airports there was not a soul around on Sunday, but their Pilot’s Lounge was airconditioned and in very good shape. By reaching Macomb, I managed to skirt the cold front, so now I would be able to swing my route into southern Iowa where I would be closer to Hwy. 80 going West.

The familiar cycle of toping off the fuel tanks, adding Decalin to the fuel, visiting the little boys’ room was repeating once again, and before I knew it, I was in the air again. Soon after I approached the Mississippi at Burlington. It was the third time would fly over the mighty rivel, and I still remember my first “crossing” at Baton Rouge in 2019.

My next stop was Ottumwa, Iowa. The airport looked deserted as the ones I just visited, but soon enough I met a young lady who was driving the fuel truck for a jet that was about to take off. It turned out there is always somebody manning the FBO. I took a mental note of this for future planning and went back to the familiar routine. As I was plotting the course for my next leg, I realized that Lincoln, Nebraska, would be a good stopping point, and it was reachable within 3 to 4 hours. Oh, and there was a conveniently positioned airport at Creston, Iowa, half way between Ottumwa and Lincoln for a pit stop.

Now, with that more advanced goal in mind, I jumped back on the pilot seat and headed out. A second wave of storms was pushing its way to the East, and its southern edge was around Omaha. That was fine by me, since my route was allowing me to skirt it to the south as I did with the previous front.

All day long the sky was changing from dark and cloudy to blue and sunny, back and forth. Occasionally I can see in the distance thunderstorm clouds billowing into the heavens. My ADS-B screen was very good in plotting the precipitation on both sides of my path.

The usual quick stop at Creston set me for my last leg of the day to Lincoln. There was no bad weather between me and my target, but Omaha was being drenched as I was zooming by some 30 miles to the south.

Although I was not dealing with thunderstorms, there was another weather phenomenon that is very annoying. At this time of the day the sun is starting to lean toward the western horizon and its rays hit the haze at such an angle that makes it very hard to see through in the distance. At the altitude I was flying, I was going to avoid most ground obstacles from below, and most fixed wing traffic from above, so I was not excessively concerned about a midair collision, but that did not make the flying particularly pleasant.

I was concerned that Lincoln may switch to Instrument Flying Rules (IFR) if the haze gets particularly thick. That would not have been a good situation, but as I neared the city, it was obvious the conditions were not that bad. I friendly tower controller directed me to Rwy. 35, and soon after I touched down, I was parking at the FBO. Here is a good time to give a big shout out for Duncan Aviation. These guys took a good care of Hummingbird and me. They put the aircraft in a cozy hangar, called the local hotel to make reservations for me, then used their shuttle bus to take me to the hotel. That’s a “10” in my book.

On that high note, my first day of the return trip was coming to an end. Although there were few delays, my overall progress was great, and I was looking forward to getting some rest before another day of hard “riding” would take me even closer to home.

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What a gorgeous gyro. Am I seeing things or is that a variable pitch propeller?
 

rcflier

Junior Member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
536
Location
Nexø (Denmark)
Aircraft
Auto-Gyro MTO Sport 914 (upgraded MT-03)
Total Flight Time
65 as student - 2 as PIC
Thank you for the blog. I have stored my gyro far away, because I have exhausted my funds earning my license.
So reading travel posts like this is much better than nothing.
I also have a scimitar Aero Prop - cut down to 173 cm to fit my MTO. Works really well with my 914 - just like yours do.
(Edit: I suppose you have an injection engine - 915 or edge)

I tried to buy a spare shortly before Putin ran amok. But I never got an answer. I hope Vadym is well.

Cheers
Erik

BTW., what a wonderful view you must have while being warm and cozy inside...
 
Last edited:

PeterFromLA

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
196
Location
Los Angeles
Aircraft
American Ranger AR-1, Kallithea
Total Flight Time
800+
Thank you for the blog. I have stored my gyro far away, because I have exhausted my funds earning my license.
So reading travel posts like this is much better than nothing.
I also have a scimitar Aero Prop - cut down to 173 cm to fit my MTO. Works really well with my 914 - just like yours do.
(Edit: I suppose you have an injection engine - 915 or edge)

I tried to buy a spare shortly before Putin ran amok. But I never got an answer. I hope Vadym is well.

Cheers
Erik

BTW., what a wonderful view you must have while being warm and cozy inside...
I actually have a 912 with aftermarket turbo fitted by Niki Rotor Aviation. It works great, and flying at high altitudes was never a problem. A 915 would have made the trip "easier", but that little engine was rock solid...

By the way the Aero Prop factory did initially relocate to western Ukraine, and now they may open shop in Bulgaris with Niki's help. So, there will be more Aero Prop's on the market
 

rcflier

Junior Member
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
536
Location
Nexø (Denmark)
Aircraft
Auto-Gyro MTO Sport 914 (upgraded MT-03)
Total Flight Time
65 as student - 2 as PIC
By the way the Aero Prop factory did initially relocate to western Ukraine, and now they may open shop in Bulgaris with Niki's help. So, there will be more Aero Prop's on the market
Thank you for that piece of good news, Peter.
It's good to know he is safe - and I can get a spare prop - In that order...

Just don't jack up the price, please.

BTW, what rotor do you use?

Edit: I just saw the wiki - it's Vortech (Rotor Hawk - Neal Carnes) or Sport Rotor.

Cheers
Erik
 
Last edited:

PeterFromLA

Active Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
196
Location
Los Angeles
Aircraft
American Ranger AR-1, Kallithea
Total Flight Time
800+
BTW, what rotor do you use?

My Kallithea is currently equipped with Arthur Trendak blades, Niki rotor head... but Niki is starting to switch to Averso Stella blades, so new orders would benefit from that switch...
 
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