Sunday 5th May, 2002
The Cuba airport people gave me a "no frills no fuss " departure and it was refreshing to not feel under pressure. I still had to pay US$300 but I have come to believe that this is the norm.

The 1.5 hour flight to Miami International was uneventful in f & b conditions. After the Congo, the "The Everglades" was of no concern. The Miami International Airport is huge and I was vectored into 09L without bother. The customs office was not so simple.

To fly in the USA (since September 11), you must receive a special FAA waiver. I have the waiver and have been wanting to tell someone that I have it.

I arrived outside the customs office and waited for a few minutes, thinking someone may be interested in my arrival. Eventually, I went inside the small building and was roused on by first the customs guy, then immigration. They both wanted different numbers but not the one I had. After 1.5 hours and a very "stern warning" I was let go, still no one interested in my FAA Waiver. Immigration said I need a VISA which I did not have, but after a while agreed to give me a VISA Waiver. I think it may have been the box of Cuban cigars I had that cheesed them off. I found out later that US citizens are not allowed to  have Cuban Cigars, let alone go to Cuba.
Just Follow Me
Just Follow Me
I remember now that you must advise the customs and immigration of your arrival well before hand. The flight plan is not sufficient.

 So I depart north (after my push back and start approval) for Spruce Creek. I am anxious to take some photos of this "Residential Airpark" back to Watts Bridge.

Passing the space launch station Cape Canaveral on the right I was vectored to Spruce Creek and a warm greeting by Ron Vickrey and Ed Beers. Ron asked me to follow his golf buggy along the taxi ways and amongst the mansions to his home. 


What a fabulous experience that was!

Ron had advised Ed about my engine concerns and he and Ron were ready to look into things. I was delighted to have these experts give TYE some TLC With the "borescope". Ed found the cylinders and valves were in very good condition but large amounts of lead around the plugs and on the cylinder heads. The injectors were filthy and we suspect some bad fuel has caused the lead build up.
Experts at Work

A great BBQ followed with friends Ed and Madelyn, Jonny and Dick, Norm and Fe and Ron and Sylvia. I really appreciated the company and bedroom later.

SPRUCE CREEK - (Florida)

Monday 6th May, 2002

Work continued on TYE and I would feel confident that it was receiving the best. A tour around the development, drive into Daytona Beach and dinner at "The Boondocks" completed a very good day. 

Spruce Creek is fabulous and something you have to see if you want to "Live with your plane" as I do.


Tuesday 7th May, 2002
Watts Bridge
Just Like Watts Bridge

After a circuit around Spruce Creek in fine and beaut conditions, I am heading for Houston to meet with John Coale. John is planning a trip like mine and we will compare notes.

On checking the fuel before leaving, I drained a litre of water from the left tank. This adds to the belief that I have had bad fuel. Anyhow, the engine is back to it's old self and I am so pleased to have had the Royal treatment at Spruce Creek.

Everything has been so simple. Climb to the assigned altitude and heading and just do what your told. I have flown over Florida, Alabama, Mississippi (The great river is below now) and will fly over Louisiana and Texas.

The Houston TV and newspapers were at the airport awaiting my arrival. I felt embarrassed to be the celebrity. John, Clare, the two girls and myself enjoyed dinner at TIKO's. I have my own apartment with all of the high tech facilities and John has been able to help with the Garmin data base and chart updates that were needed.


Wednesday 8th May, 2002  
Great Welcome
Great Welcome

Ron Koyich has been trying to help by organising some contacts for my visit. He had two people in the New Orleans area and I wanted to meet with them, but the problems enroute had made it difficult to organise.

I have received an email from Tom Gresham and will fly to Natchitoches (LA) for lunch prior to moving on to Ada to talk with the GAMI boys. I have been running LOP for the entire trip and would like some reassurance about the data the JPI is producing.




Thursday 9th May, 2002
Ton & Mayor
Tom & Mayor of Natchitoches

Although I am confident that TYE has received all of the attention it could possibly hope for, I have wanted to meet with the GAMI people to reassure myself on the leaning procedures. George Braly and Tim Roehl of GAMI were expecting me, courtesy of Ron Koyich.

The flight from Natchitoches to Ada was mostly IMC with bad weather in central America so I did not see much of Dallas Fort Worth. I was pleased to have the GPS data card that John Coale had leant me the night before.



Captain George
ATC enjoyed taking the "mickey" out of my accent with comments like "G'daay mate". George and Tim loaned me the Ford pick-up and I had a quiet evening at the local Travellers Inn before driving myself on the "other side" to the airport. George flew my plane for 1.5 hours, playing with the mixture settings etc and providing me with some valuable information on monitoring for a healthy engine. I really appreciated the time at GAMI and the comfort and reassurance that I was doing things correctly. Apart from the high tech balanced injector facility, George showed me a test rig of an engine like the one in the "Whyalla" crash. George has his own theories why the engine broke.




Test Rig
"Test Rig"

Jay Shower, an Earth Rounder at San Diego, rang to say that the new fuel bladders I ordered, have arrived 

and maybe with the help of Bob Reiss, we would put hem in at San Diego. When I bought TYE 11 years ago, I new I would need to replace the bladders. they have lasted well but the overloading from the Auxiliary tank has taken it's toll.  

Tomorrow is San Diego and a well deserved rest.

ADA to SAN DIEGO (California)

Friday 10th May, 2002

From Ada I departed into IMC and did not see much until approaching Albuquerque (new Mexico) I am pleased that the sky has opened up to F & B and at 12000 ft, I still have rocks above me. I am so pleased to be VMC. Unfortunately, my tail wind has disappeared and replace with 20 kts on the nose, and quite rough. (Jen would not like this) but the view is great.  
Rocks at 14,000
I have past over Phoenix and advised to climb from 10000 to 12000 for terrain clearance. At 12000 the turbulence was severe so I climbed to 14000 to cross the Rockies. On occasions the ground speed reduced to 90 kts indicating 50-60 kts head winds. Never the less, the flight was a great experience and I really enjoyed the mountains and desert.

I managed to embarrass myself with the welcome party arranged at San Diego. I was on the GPS approach in visual conditions when  Gillespie Tower asked was I able to land from my present position at 3500 ft. I thought this a strange comment but confidently replied "yes". Then the controller said "well the airport is directly below you now". I replied that I had "stuffed up" and was lined up to land on the Aerodrome 5 miles ahead. The welcome party heard this on the radio.

 It was great to be met by friends and Earthrounder's, Jay Shower, Murray Goodrich and Bob Reiss.

SAN DIEGO (California)

3 Earth Rounders
3 Earthrounder's & a Would Be

Saturday 11th May, 2002

As guest of Mary Ford and Jay Shower, we overlook the Airport from one of the hills adjacent. Jay helped with arranging some charts etc, Mary has given me a much needed haircut.

We looked at a great development where Hangars are built with residence on top. Pity Archerfield could not have the same.  




SAN DIEGO (California)

Sunday 12th May, 2002
Consuella at Work
A rest day. With the help of the Mexican maid Consuella, we have freshened up and Mary has assured me I look better now than when I arrived. That's Consuella with the hair trimmers.

 I forgot to mention that Bob Reiss had his Engineer (Carl) from Montgomery check a couple of my spark plugs.

Carl's comment "that's as good as they get" was music to my ears.

 Together, we decided not to do the fuel bladders. I will take the new ones home and do this fairly big job at my leisure.  



Murray's Pride and Joy

SAN DIEGO (California)

Monday 13th May, 2002

Jay and I flew in formation from Gillespie to Brown Field where the aerodrome has a much longer runway. I need plenty of length with TYE fully loaded for the long flight to Hilo. We then flew in Jay's V35 to Montgomery where it was good to meet with Bob Reiss and Murray Goodrich (Both Earthrounders) in Murray's fabulous hanger. This hangar is decorated with years of memorabilia and is something to be seen and something Murray is obviously very proud of.


SAN DIEGO to HILO (Hawaii)

Tuesday 14th May, 2002

Well I am on my way across the "Big Blue". This is the leg that all of the planning in terms of weight and range has been for. We will soon see?
San Diego
San Diego Bay
Jay has taken me to Brown Field for a 3:30 am departure in f & b conditions. Jay and Bob Reiss have provided great support with enroute weather and the forecast looks good. Jay warned of the early headwinds and the fact that my fuel calculations may indicated a return to San Diego will be necessary.

With 15-20 kts head wind component, that is exactly what is happening. I have tried varies altitudes and now settled in at 4000 with ground speed of 130 kts. The HF is working good and only 2,000 NM to go. If the ground speed does not improve I will make a decision about continuing in a few hours time.



Just as Jay had predicted, the wind has turned behind and my fuel efficiency indicates a reasonable safety margin. I have learned to love the JPI fuel management system which gives the "Landing Fuel on Board" based on the GPS distance. It 
Not Alone
Not Alone

is good to see that number increasing on long range flights.  

I have been flying for 12 hours and only 3 hours to run. This has been the easiest of my long flights. At 4000 ft, I am sitting on top of a solid layer of low cloud and under a solid layer of high level cloud. I don't think my luck will continue as it looks like the low level cloud is being replaced by rain ahead.  

Not long ago, VH-SHW (Cessna Caravan) passed in the opposite direction enroute around the world. A shame we did not meet up in Hawaii.  (Later I heard that this was Dick Smith and Jim Hazelton)

HILO (Hawaii)

Wednesday 15th May, 2002
Flight time: 14 Hrs 40 Mins
Distance flown:
2,177 NM
Fuel used:
686 litres
Average ground speed:
148.5 kts
Average fuel consumption:
46.3 litres per hour

The flight to Hilo was great.

 Local Moonie owner Elliot Merk has offered to take me for a ride to the volcanoes. Later I will fly to Honolulu to meet with Willie Tashima, a Bonanza Earth Rounder.  The flight with Elliot was a real bonus. I saw the volcano's and national park in first class style with a new friend.

Elliot is a builder so we both decided that we were "on business"  

The trip over to Honolulu was not so good. I decide to make the 200 NM flight VFR at low level so that I could look at the Island cliffs etc. Well my VFR flying is hopeless in Australia so you can imagine the pickle I got into passing some of the controlled air spaces. I climbed to 4000 ft to dodge a bit of weather and ended up VFR on top of 8/8 cu. Approaching Honolulu, I decided I had had enough VFR so asked for the ILS which made things a lot easier.  

I was met at the airport by Willie and now guests of he and Lilly in their home overlooking the city.  


Thursday 16th May, 2002

Thanks to Willie and Lilly Tashima, I have had a great time at Honolulu. Even had the compulsory photo on the famous Waikiki Beach and a glimpse of Pearl Harbour.


What was a truly amazing experience, was my non planned trip to a little airport on the North side of the Island of Oahu called Dillingham. My internal tanks are 

terrible things to fill, requiring all sort of hoses and hardware. A modification to fix this would be to put the fillers into the side windows. So I had in the back of my mind to try to pick up a couple of side windows at a "bone yard" while in the USA.

Approaching Willies hangar, I saw a few wrecks and asked Willie did he know of a "bone yard". He did not. Next to Willie's hangar, was Bob. When Bob saw my Bonanza on the ramp, he mentioned he has a few Bonanza parts in a container at Dillingham and he though he had the windows. So Willie took me to this fantastic old war time strip located between the beach and the mountains where gliders ridge sour the ridges and people play with aeroplanes. 


Other People's Junk

Inside the old container, on the floor was the two windows I wanted. Just waiting for me to pick up.

So for a carton of beer, I have the two windows and a very enjoyable day in the countryside of Oahu.








Waikiki Beach