Tanya & Bryan Duke's RV-6 Flying Reports
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03 Sep 05: Just over a month ago I was talking to my brother out Labor Day weekend. He asked what we were doing over the holiday weekend & I said "probably working on the plane." He said that he & his wife were thinking about flying (commercial) up to visit my dad & stepmom. Tanya & I haven't seen any of them in quite a while, so that was motivation to get the plane flying so we could make the trip there too. A couple weeks later, my brother called back & asked what the chances were of the plane being ready. He said our sister & her husband were also flying out to there over Labor Day as a surprise to dad. If it wasn't motivation enough, now I absolutely had to get the plane flying so we could make the trip.

I flew the airplane with the new instrument panel & other goodies for the first time on Sep 1st. Everything went great with the checks of all the new systems, so we loaded the plane up for the trip to Angel Fire, NM. With our new oxygen system, I wasn't constrained to the typical cruising altitudes of 12,500' and below like I had been in the past. Our RV-6 has plenty of power & climb left to cruise higher, so I planned our flight there from Boulder City at 15,500' direct to the southern mountain pass into Angel Fire. This route of flight convienently had us fly right over the Grand Canyon.

At or above 14,500' you can fly anywhere you want in the Grand Canyon, so away we went! The Grand Canyon actually starts only about 100 miles from Las Vegas. Unfortunately, so did the weather. We stuck it out as long as we could below the weather so that we could enjoy the awesome views of the Grand Canyon, but it wasn't long until the airspace restrictions around the Grand Canyon kept us from going any further.

After turning the oxygen up, we climbed to 17,500' and were able to get over the weather for a while. Before reaching Grand Canyon Airport (about half way through the GC), we had to turn south & descend to stay away from some serious rain storms. We were still able to fly at 11,500', so it wasn't like we were scud running - it just wasn't the great scenery we had planned on.

What did go exactly as planned was the new panel, avionics & other new stuff. I took the handheld GPS home before the trip & punched in our route. It talked perfectly with our new Trio Avionics autopilot. When we weren't sightseeing, the autopilot kept us within 0.01 nm (60 feet) of our desired route. Because of the weather, we had to fly way south to Gallup, NM but we still made it there in 3.2 hours from engine start to shutdown.

The Angel Fire & Eagle Nest, NM valley is just amazing. This is a view north towards Eagle Nest.

Later that night, we all made a camp fire with the family & cooked smores. I set up my camera & took some photos of the very dark skies. This is the milky way looking south...no that's not smoke coming from the trees.

I took my brother-in-law Tim and stepmom Jessica flying around Angel Fire. The plane did great even at the 8400' field elevation at Angel Fire. It did take much longer to take off though. Here's Tim & me...

...and Tim & me just after takeoff. That's my sister waving to us.

Jessica took lots of photos of the area. Here's one she took of their house & land.

Dad lives about a mile from a national wildlife area. There were more animals running around than you could shake a stick at...not that we actually shook any sticks. I did take lots of photos though.

My brother, sister & their spouses drove to a gorge just to the west of Taos, NM on their way out of town. We flew over it & snapped a few photos. It looked impressive from the air. Aparently it's about 700' deep were they went to check it out. You can just barely see the bridge across it towards the top of the photo.

We tried to hit the Grand Canyon again on the way back. We had to fly south through Gallup again, but were able to get to the Grand Canyon at 10.500 and flew just south of the south rim most of the way across it. This photo was taken looking northwest just to the east of Grand Canyon Airport.

This is Supai Canyon along the southwest section of the Grand Canyon. There's a bright green river running through it not really visible in this small photo.

So, trip #1 with the new panel is complete! The new avionics are very nice & all worked as advertised. The other things we added were great too. The new stick grips are comfortable to hold & even though I don't have all their switch functions wired yet, the ability to do multiple things without taking your hand off the stick is very nice. The electric trim (on the new stick grips) is wonderful. If you are building a plane, put the elevator & aileron trim on your stick grips. It's great to be back in the air. We're looking forward to more trips soon!

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