After spending its recent years parked in Central Ohio, it was time for this L-16B to venture west to be enjoyed by its new caretaker near Lubbock, Texas! Jay was wonderful to work with, and will be keeping the airplane in great company at a small local airport with big things happening. From light jet traffic to yearly glider training for the Air Force Academy, this legacy Army livery should turn some heads!
The evening prior
Ferry flying is full of seizing opportunities to reduce your workload, shorten days and set yourself up with success for potential delays from weather, airport operations and more… With a few hours of downtime the day prior (and being in close proximity to our starting point), I took the opportunity to hop the plane down from the private airport near Xenia, Ohio where it was being stored to position 45 minutes closer to Cincinnati. This evening acceptance flight, oil check and top off really set us up to be successful the following morning!
With my acceptance flight out of the way and pre-ferry-thorough-pre-flight complete, my arrival to 40I the morning of day 1 was followed with a quick oil check and smooth start to hit the road!
Keeping the afternoon rolling, quick fuel stops were made in Daviess County (KDCY), Perryville (KPCD) and Mountain Home (KBPK). The Daviess County stop was particularly fun as I have been through the area before on previous ferry flights and the airport manager happened to recognize me. We spent a few extra minutes talking about previous planes I had flown through before; shortly after, I thanked Eric for another great stop and continued on my way!
The primary reason I was pushing for a quick start and quick stops earlier in the day was for my upcoming dinner stop at Gaston’s White River Resort. Gaston’s is a trout fishing resort with their own Bermuda grass runway hidden in the river valley amongst cabins, restaurant, 70+ boats and an awesome guy named Clint – the third generation owner of the property. It’s a favorite place of mine to overnight, but for this trip it was simply a quick dinner stop before sneaking in one last flight leg for the day.
Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area! I have high hopes to make it back for a long fishing weekend without the pressure of delivering a plane the following day or two. Also, it’s a great spot for your plane to make friends!
After a quick 50 minute stop where the amazing restaurant staff helped me enjoy dinner and a view, I was back in the air with finally calm skies. This grasshopper and I had spent most of the day getting tossed around with thermals and wind so there was little hands off flying up to this point.
This leg of the trip truly revealed how smooth and balanced this airplane really is. Jay is one lucky new owner! With some weather moving in across Kansas and Oklahoma for the next morning, this leg of the journey pointed much further south to stay below the incoming system. The grasshopper and I called it a night in De Queen, Arkansas (KDEQ) just outside of the Texas boarder.
While the night’s always feel short on the road, strong morning headwinds for the first leg of Day 2 prompted an especially early morning start. While I had topped off the airplane last night, we were due for a few quarts of oil and set off for the long trek across Texas.
Initial groundspeeds for the flight from KDEQ – KGLE were hanging out in the low 55kt range. While I knew we were coming up on the other side of it soon, we certainly didn’t pick up speed soon enough. Once these scattered clouds sped by below, the winds shifted to an ever-so-slight quartering tailwind and 75kts was the new name of the game for most of the afternoon! Much better…
The final leg of the trip was completed after a terrible fuel stop in Haskell, Texas (15F). This is an airport I’ll never return to and could never recommend, which hurts to say because I’m not one who wants to discourage general aviation in the slightest.
At this airport, I landed with winds gusting over 30kts and had no access to chalks or a ladder for fueling the plane. After tying down the plane with one hand (while making sure it didn’t roll or blow away with the other), I was met with resistance from the manager who told me I shouldn’t be out in this kind of wind and watched me struggle rather than help.
After securing the airplane at the fuel pumps and flipping a wagon over as a stool for fueling the wings, we were off never to return.
But that was it! The grasshopper and I made it to Littlefield, Texas where it will spend the foreseeable future helping Jay take to the skies. Jay had requested a couple of laps around the airport as a flyby for friends who had come out to welcome his new plane home – I was more than happy to make this happen! After a few passes along the runways, it came time to finish our journey and tuck in the airplane.