# On the topic of commuting

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by Farfle, Sep 25, 2019.

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1. Sep 26, 2019

### Vigilant1

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You're right at my personal distance limit (about 600 miles) for any use of a personal plane for "must be there" travel. That's because I don't have an IFR ticket or a plane suitable for flight into known icing. Without both of those, I'd always need to be able to get there/home some other way in the event the weather turns bad. Since sometimes a walk-up airline ticket is not available at any price, my car is my backup plan, and 600 miles is about my limit for a one day drive.

I'm not a fan of VFR over-the-top. For me, I'd only use it if I got into a situation where it was the "least bad" option, and I'd by kicking myself in the butt the whole time for letting that happen.

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2. Sep 26, 2019

### Pops

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Never wanted to fly VFR on top.
One day an airplane got caught on top with just an airspeed and altimeter and compass and no radio and after making a 180 deg turn flew about an hour looking for a hole and saw a hole in the clouds below him in a steady all day hard rain. He saw my house on the grass field and the wind tee. Spiraled down the tiny hole with high hills on each side with about a 300' ceiling. Landing and opened the door and fell out, couldn't stand up. Just sat in the large puddle of water and shook. Flew for Fed X in his job. Just glad to be alive.

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3. Sep 26, 2019

### Hephaestus

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Think it was in ground School they said just don't. Pretty sure the advice was sound - commuting I often ended up having to use alternates coming home... Nice to have the IFR now still don't want to rely on it.

4. Sep 26, 2019

### Farfle

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I should amend, if the whole valley is socked in, its a no-go for sure. My want to be able to do it in one hop is that the preferable half-way airports occasionally have bad weather that makes them unuseable. Whether that be wind, a low ceiling , TFR or another factor. Being able to avoid NEEDING to stop at a certain group of airports close to the halfway point is the goal.

Next step is an instrument rating for sure, so planning on that in the future. I got a good taste of what real IFR looks like while flight training, and VFR on top is not something I want to do.

I like the "ignorance is bliss" comment of EABs flying VFR on top. Its very true.

5. Sep 26, 2019

### Vigilant1

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Since you want an EAB aircraft, 115-140 kt cruise, low up-front cost (?), and a range of 650 SM + reserve, the first planes that come to mind would be a Vari-Eze or a Long-EZ, assuming you've got sufficient pavement to land on. Long-EZ's come up for sale frequently for about $25K, they'll cruise at 125 KTS at very low power settings (go faster if you want to) and have a range of over 2000 NM (you could fill up at home and avoid metropolitan fuel prices). Also, that range gives you many options if local weather gets bad at your destination. One issue, though, would be hangarage. It's darn expensive and hard to get anywhere near LA. Edited to add: I just remembered the Dragonfly III project that Direct C51 has for sale in Calif. It would sip fuel. It's a work in progress, but a lot of the big stuff has been completed. It is a trigear, so none of the "excitement" of the canard aircraft with wheels on the canard tips. 130 MPH cruise = 5 hours for your 650 mile trip, which meets your criteria. The planes supposedly have a range of 500 SM, but you'd only need to find room for another 8 gallons of gas or so to meet your range criteria, which might not be hard with a plans built plane and nobody in the other seat. Last edited: Sep 26, 2019 6. Sep 26, 2019 ### Hephaestus ### Hephaestus #### Well-Known Member Joined: Jun 25, 2014 Messages: 1,171 Likes Received: 253 Location: YMM I'd vote for a kr2. Depends how they're built as to whether they'll meet your range requirements, many do - mark Langfords I believe last I looked n56ml was in the 800ish. You can spend tons of time on his site reading through the kr options. 7. Sep 26, 2019 ### BBerson ### BBerson #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Dec 16, 2007 Messages: 12,007 Likes Received: 2,332 Location: Port Townsend WA For scheduled commuting, I think the odds of a non-stop VFR all of the 600 miles down the whole northwest coast are slim. Victor Bravo likes this. 8. Sep 26, 2019 ### bmcj ### bmcj #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Apr 10, 2007 Messages: 12,904 Likes Received: 4,848 Location: Fresno, California I’m with Pops. The Bellanca’s have a lot going for them. The old triple tail Cruisairs are highly underrated and undervalued because they look ‘old’. As long as you get one with good wood. Pops likes this. 9. Sep 26, 2019 ### Farfle ### Farfle #### Well-Known Member Joined: Dec 31, 2015 Messages: 78 Likes Received: 122 Location: Redmond, OR Its not been a thing as often as i would like... But thats what commercial is for. 10. Sep 26, 2019 ### bmcj ### bmcj #### Well-Known MemberHBA Supporter Joined: Apr 10, 2007 Messages: 12,904 Likes Received: 4,848 Location: Fresno, California There’s a Mooney Mite on eBay right now for$24K. I’m not suggesting it... just sayin’.

Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
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11. Sep 26, 2019

### Hephaestus

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There's a mite around these parts. I want to try it on some day.

Actually we've left out the wittman tailwind. That's always a choice that shouldn't be ignored.

12. Sep 26, 2019

### Victor Bravo

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He doesn't want to have a tailwheel, and a nosewheel on a Tailwind should be prosecuted as a crime against humanity.

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13. Sep 26, 2019

### proppastie

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good ifr ........ceiling about 1000 ft tops lower than your altitude ....much like vfr on top but safe and easy if you have your ticket......ice is a problem. ....ask for slam dunk at faf to minimize time in the clouds

14. Sep 26, 2019

### TFF

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I’m not going to say I prefer the nose dragger version of the Tailwind, but I kind of like them. Not as bulldogs tough looking; it adds some sweetness to it. The Tailwind is my favorite of this type. You can’t beat the performance, build ability with price, and history. Like the Viking, you either are or not. Not quite as universal. If you are , it’s the class of the ramp. There was a Glasair II that was transient at the airport. It is one of ones you see at Oshkosh with the cross country race number. If you can find a deal on one of those, that’s a travel machine.

15. Sep 26, 2019

### Hephaestus

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A cub on a tricycle is worse. And there was a few of those at Oshkosh...

16. Sep 26, 2019

### Toobuilder

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Another vote for an RV. The later models with 42 gallons of fuel will easily do 750 miles at 165+ KTAS. The early models have less gas but might make it in one hop anyway. The -6 is a relative bargain right now.

BTW, did this "commute" a couple years ago to pick up my T Craft. Mojave to Aurora. 3 hours flight time in a Rocket going North; 11 hours flight time in the Tcraft coming South. Same amount of fuel consumed each way.

17. Sep 26, 2019

### Toobuilder

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I have a fair amount of time flying the RV (and Rocket) next to a buddy's Glassair Super II. Compared to the RV, he burns the same fuel at the same speed but his stall speed is 15 knots higher, his TO/Landing distance is double, and his cabin is more cramped.

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18. Sep 26, 2019

### Pops

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Tailwheel and a control yoke are not compatible. Will not work together

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19. Sep 30, 2019

### jedi

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There is a Cruisair available in the Pacific Northwest. Just Sayin, my primary message follows.

The slow cruise speed is not the issue. The weather is primary. Range is secondary. Speed is the least of the commute issues.

Winter is coming. The leg from Medford to Red Bluff is the issue along with a rare LA IFR arrival.

Fly the commute with the 172 as long as the weather is comfortable. Get the IFR certificate and you will find how useless the IFR certificate is. However the education is priceless.

I have flown this route several times and have never chosen to fly IFR* even though some of the aircraft were equipped for limited IFR. Note! All non airline aircraft discussed here are limited IFR.

The big issue is the need to be there associated with the job. Is the boss OK with a call to say I won't be in today?

If not there are other things you can do to protect the job. Too many stories to tell but I met a short range commuter that flew to work for 20 years and never missed a day. Only one interesting story. His commute was in the Detroit area with night and winter flights.

I would look at options to put longer range tanks in the Cessna for starters. There is an STC for a 15 gallon aft aux tank. I have one in a 175 and it is handy for adding auto gas without a step ladder.

*Not considering the many years flying Sea to LAX with UAL.

20. Oct 1, 2019

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