Observations from Flying Around The Rim!

Observations from Flying Around The Rim!

Observations from our +10,000 mile flight around the rim – not to be confused with trip highlights. ūüėČ I have a special gift for the first person who responds with a comment posted to this blog post. Not to Facebook –¬† the comment must be entered below!¬† The winner will receive a free copy of the book that traveled around the country with us, Miriam Orr Seymour’s ‘The Flight Around The Rim’. Thanks again for following our own personal flight around The rim!...

Signing off now, Flight Around the Rim

Signing off now, Flight Around the Rim

It’s official. This afternoon, the flight around the rim crew successfully completed their mission. Woohoo!! The crew of two, me and hubby Boyd Birchler, traded off stick/nav/radio time flying Boyd’s home-built RV-7 around the perimeter of the continental U.S. Our goal was to fly safely, have fun, and watch our amazing country unfold before our eyes. And WOW, that’s exactly what we did! We flew east beginning our flying tour May 20, 2018 at Toledo, Ohio. Start to finish, we spent 46 days, flew over 10,000 nautical miles, logged 69.8 hours tack time (2.5 hours IFR), burned 517 gallons 100 LL, and visited approx 90 airports. Those are the recorded totals, easily verified. What the numbers don’t include are the emotion, exhilaration, and joy wrapped up in the adventure of our flight. The incredible/amazing/passionate people, the sights, the views from our cockpit, the ever-changing weather and winds, the extreme temperatures (below freezing to 108 degrees), the regional foods – the unexpectedness of it all. Following are highlights from yesterday and today, our last two days of flying the perimeter. Day 45 and Day 46 continued to amaze and inspire us and were a fitting conclusion to our fabulous trip. Many, many thanks to everyone who followed our flight, wished us well and/or invited us to come stay. You made our trip a wonderful, memorable, life-event....

On to North Dakota!

On to North Dakota!

Hello, Hello, from Minot, North Dakota. Boyd and I are on the move with moments to post an update,¬† but for what it’s worth — this is it!  ...

Flying the Idaho and Montana Mountain Passes

Flying the Idaho and Montana Mountain Passes

Anxious to continue our US perimeter flight, Boyd and I were at the Cascade, Idaho airport bright and early in the morning. Last night had been downright cold and, as guessed, a very light film of frost had formed overnight on our wings. A quick repositioning of our pretty bird, out of the shade and into the sunshine, quickly resolved any potential problem. Our flight goal was Cascade, ID to Kalispell, MT. Ceilings were forecast to be “adequate” but with marginal clearance. We considered our flight plan a “goal” but weren’t at all certain we’d actually end up in Kalispell. We were aware ceiling heights were questionable¬† – there were long distances along our route with no weather reporting stations. The skies were clear at Cascade when we departed, with wispy areas of low fog hanging in the valleys nearby. It doesn’t get better than lunch in Missoula and dinner in Kalispell, both with lady taildragger pilots!!  ...

WWaa: a Life-Flight Plan

WWaa: a Life-Flight Plan

Cascade, Idaho. Tiny town. Big mountains. And for 5 heavenly days, lady pilots are everywhere.¬† We are all here to participate in Christina Tindle’s ‘Woman Wise AWEsome Adventures’, a gathering for women pilots where a multitude of advanced flight training options are available. Add to that Christina’s program for developing a personal Life-Flight plan, and it’s a winner....

Into the Cascade Valley

Into the Cascade Valley

The view from our RV7 on our flight around the perimeter continues to impress us. Yakima, Washington to Cascade, Idaho took us from brown hills to high, green ridged mountains. Although we flew over and around some significant terrain, the route we chose always had a highway within view: piece of mind. We’re here at Cascade to attend Christina Tindle’s Women Wise AWEsome Adventures event for women pilots. Check out details at¬†https://www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com/blog/women-wise-awesome-adventures-june-27-july-1/  ...

‘Yakima’ translated by pilots is ‘Cub Crafters’

‘Yakima’ translated by pilots is ‘Cub Crafters’

Tonight, Boyd and I are in Yakima, Washington, continuing our flight around the perimeter of America. We visited a number of cities along the northwest perimeter including Orcas Island, Blaine, and Bellingham, the northern most airport we’ve visited. As we turned eastbound from Bellingham, Washington, I felt like we were on top of the world. We’d navigated our way from Toledo, Ohio eastbound along the Lake Erie shoreline and around the entire continental U.S.A. and were now, finally, on the northern border heading east, towards home. In my mind, today was monumental. We’re here partly by accident, partly by a leap of faith. If you’ve been following us, you know our plans can change on a dime and if one place is more interesting than another, that’s where we head. Since Day One we’ve often made our decisions on-the-fly, sometimes while airborne, and ended up where we end up. Our flight plan was to depart Bellingham, WA, then fly southeast to get a fabulous view of Mt. Rainier. Next, we were to skirt the east side of Seattle’s Class B, then turn southeast towards a low spot through a valley towards KELN. From there, fly to Walla Walla. All was good and spot-on for Walla Walla until I noticed a moderate size town off our right wing. We zoomed the iPad in close enough to read the name of the community just east of the mountains – oh boy, it was Yakima!! Yakima, as in “Home of CubCrafters”. Oh baby, we gotta go there!¬† And we did. From 9500′ it was a fast, steep, moment’s notice descent, but we managed to get the job done. Hey, there are TWO pilots in this tiny RV7, of course we got her down! Please check out my additional photos from today’s CubCrafter’s visit slideshow. And in a totally different direction, if you’re a member of our Facebook group or Twitter, you may have seen my pictures of a C140 at a private strip. The aircraft is for sale and the airport manager, Eric King, tells me the owner is selling it for $2000K but may take the $1200 he owes in hangar rent at this point. If you love a good find, like I do, this may be for you. It’s based at a private strip s.e. of Yakima, Buena, and the airport manager is Eric King. All that, and there was still time for some extra fun! I nearly fell over when Boyd suggested we do a wine tasting since we’re in Washington wine country. Mind you, we passed up Napa, Sanoma, and the Willamette Valley Pinot area before arriving in the wine country of Washington.You bet, if 2 vineyards count, we got it done here!!...

Orcas Island and the San Juan Islands

Orcas Island and the San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands. Until a few years ago I couldn’t tell you where you’d find them. Northwest somewhere, or I could be wrong, maybe somewhere down in the Caribbean. My sad lack of knowledge changed a number of years ago when I was forced to figure it out. A group of lady taildragger pilots wanted to fly to the San Juan Islands and I was going to be the person organizing it. Time to get my act together since the destination was Orcas Island in the San Juan chain! I couldn’t attend that fly-in myself but, ever since reading up and seeing all the romantic pictures of the area, I’ve wanted to fly there too. Thank heaven Boyd and I decided to fly the perimeter of the U.S. –¬† I’m not sure if, or when, either of us would have made it this far northwest.¬†Overflying the islands and landing at Orcas Island Airport are some of the many beautiful surprises we’ve encountered on this incredible journey.¬† Check out our RV7 arrival at Orcas Island Airport! It was a great visit to Orcas Island but sad to see this beautiful Piper Pacer, all messed up, at the south end of the field. A local pilot told me it had been ground looped but even more damage occurred when it was moved to a different location on the airport. Ouch! Orcas Island today. More mountain flying tomorrow!!...

99 Years of Aviation: Twin Engine Glenn Martin Bomber to Experimental RV-7!

99 Years of Aviation: Twin Engine Glenn Martin Bomber to Experimental RV-7!

Prepping for our flight around the perimeter of the U.S., Boyd and I ran the weight and balance numbers. I’d packed all the “necessities” for a whopping 6 week tour, weighed each bag, shrieked, removed items, then repeated. When it was all said-and-done, we were close to the aft CG limit but still within the acceptable range. The reality of dragging around 6 weeks of “necessities” every time we got in and out of the RV-7 got old really quick not to mention the density altitude problems the excess baggage created as we headed West into warmer temperatures. Two weeks into our flight we went through every single item on-board and UPS’d the non-essentials home – to the tune of 30 pounds. Both light and heavy, non-essentials were gone but one item I refused to part with was my hardback copy of “The Flight Around The Rim” book. If I was flying, it was going to fly right along with me! For more information on Ernest E. Harmon, please check out this Youtube video posted by Michael’s father about his own famous grand-father. Boyd and I watched it with Michael Harmon and finally got a sense of who this pioneer in aviation really was. I found it absolutely astounding the Harmon family has actual video footage of Ernest Harmon and other family members dating back to the Golden Age of Flight. This video plays out like a Hollywood movie, upper crust, high society, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find the story of The Flight Around The Rim in a movie theater near us all one day. Next up. As incredible as it is, the Flight Around The Rim pilot’s daughter, Elaine Danforth Harmon was a W.A.S.P. Now that’s a story I can’t wait to tell!! Please check back. All proceeds for the sale of Miriam’s book go to Miriam. It’s available for the first time in paperback at¬†http://www.lulu.com/shop/miriam-orr-seymour/the-around-the-rim-flight/paperback/product-23684211.html      ...

Lenhardt: Our Gateway to northwest Oregon

Lenhardt: Our Gateway to northwest Oregon

It was music to my ears – lady voices on 122.9 announcing their positions around Lenhardt Airpark. As Boyd and I continue to navigate our way around the perimeter of the U.S., sadly, we’ve only heard a handful of women across the frequencies. As we approached this airpark on the south side of Portland, Oregon, I’m happy to report that quickly changed....

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