Planning the adventure of a lifetime and hello from Germany!

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wsimpso1

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As someone who has flown much of the lower 48 in a 120 knot certified IFR equipped ship, I can tell you, you will have an adventure. To do it in a Part 103 as a low time pilot, I would not recommend it. You will have weather and airport challenges that will require decent decision making skills as well as excellent flying skills. As a new pilot, you could be "in over your head". Doing it with Part 103 legal fuel on board, you better carry a spare can of fuel and a lot of water.

The lower 48 is big and airports can be pretty far apart in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and into California. You are going to be thinking fuel the whole way. Think hard about doing the trip from west to east so your ground speed and range is bigger. Flying along highways gives you a place to landing and rescue.

Recommended reading: Zero Three Bravo by Mariana Gosnell and Flight of Passage by Rinker Buck.

Billski
 

Hephaestus

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Crossing the Rocky mountains in summer in an ultralight...

Gotta say - terrible idea. Density altitude east side of the rockies + heat + prevailing winds through the rockies...

I'm not 100% on the weather patterns and passes in the southern usa but - you could be waiting a year around here for appropriate conditions and 50ish miles isn't going to cut it.

This guy's done x-canada but our ultralight is USA's LSA.

 

davidb

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Another option might be to rent a U Haul truck for parts of your journey. Load the plane in the back and drive the distances not logistically possible in an ultralight. As others have said, out west there are vast expanses with airports too far apart for ultralight legs. You could possibly fly all the way to the western mountains then get the truck. You could then stop at airports along the way and fly locally for a day or two. One way U Haul rentals into California are nearly free right now.
 

robertl

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Heath Springs, S.C. USA
Check out Youtube, Aerolite 103 ultralight aircraft, 14 year old Henry Scott. I'm sure there are others as well, also, check out Sky Vector, you can do a lot of planning before you actually buy charts.
Bob
 

Dana

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There is a sectional chart overlay for Google Earth, find an airport on the chart and immediately see what restaurants, etc., are nearby.
 

WorldWideWayne

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Wow, thanks to each and everyone of you for your honest and helpful answers!
I am quite overwhelmed by all the incredible replies and really didn't expect that much empathy.

Really looking forward to be part of this community!
 

ddsrph

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Tullahoma, Tenn
Wow, thanks to each and everyone of you for your honest and helpful answers!
I am quite overwhelmed by all the incredible replies and really didn't expect that much empathy.

Really looking forward to be part of this community!
As I understand it you are buying a new plane in Florida and after your trip will be shipping it home. You could consider a big circular tour of the US east of the Mississippi or maybe slightly west of that. That will give you a few thousand miles of territory that has many many airports and close enough together for your 5 gallon range.
 

BBerson

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It can be done in two years. Leave it in storage over the winter if flying in the north or wait till winter if in the south.
I would plan a stop at Airventure Oshkosh in July.
 

sming

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Apr 10, 2019
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Question from this non-american : flying a part 103 ultralight without a license is not privilege limited to u.s citizen? It feels a bit crazy that any tourists can visit your country and fly around without any supervision whatsoever
 

Dana

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Question from this non-american : flying a part 103 ultralight without a license is not privilege limited to u.s citizen? It feels a bit crazy that any tourists can visit your country and fly around without any supervision whatsoever
Correct, anybody can fly an ultralight in the US, citizen or not.
 

JimCrawford

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Nov 30, 2019
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Oxford, UK
Hi Chaps,

I am fascinated by Wayne's plans. I'm at the other end of the age scale than him but a States tour has been on the bucket list for a couple of years now - delayed by family illness and now the virus. The information posted so far has been very interesting and useful and I invite comments on my plans:
I would like to ship my aircraft to the US for a tour. The aircraft will be shipped on a road trailer to somewhere (TBD) on the East Coast. I will have come to some arrangement with a local EAA chapter (member since 1975) to tow it to a suitable local airfield where I can refit the wing and park up the trailer. The first trip segment is East to West taking in as many airshows as fit the timescale (starting with Sun & Fun?) and finishing somewhere in the San Francisco area where I have friends. Find a corner of a hangar while I take a holiday with my wife. Then later the same year (or leave the aircraft to overwinter) return West to East via Oshkosh to the starting airfield. Take the wing off, refit everything onto the trailer and ship it back.

The aircraft and pilot are day vfr only. The aircraft is on a UK permit to fly, the pilot holds an ICAO compliant licence and medical. Cruise is ~ 75kts and range not including reserves is ~ 200nm. I have just enough load capacity for my lightweight tent, sleeping bag and a couple of changes of clothes.
Unfortunately I cannot use the U Haul solution without a lot of bother because the aircraft isn't designed for an easy rig/derig otherwise that is a brilliant option. I'll do some investigations to see if that could be accommodated as I will have the shipping road trailer available. That could be a way of beating the weather and prevailing wind going E > W, but could be a pain going W > E with tailwinds. Worth a consideration though.

One uncertainty I would like an opinion on is the advisability of carrying a transponder or ADSB device. The US transponder requirements are quite 'high end' and would involve considerable expense, probably ~ £3500, while there are no compatible ADSB devices in Europe. The SkyEcho 2 available in the UK is geo locked as it is to a UK only spec. So can the trip be successfully completed flying only in airspace where there is no Transponder or ADSB requirement. Perhaps it would be advisable to buy a US unit on arrival and sell it on before return?

You have to have a plan so there is something to deviate from!

Jim

GAVTC general.jpg
 

rv7charlie

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Jackson
For day VFR (actually, night, as well) you can fly in probably 98% of the USA with neither transponder nor ADSB-out. A shorthand way of seeing the regs is that that if you stay out of Class B and Class C airport areas, and outside of the 'mode C veil' around Class B airports (30 NM radius), and stay below 10,000 feet MSL, you aren't required to have either device. You probably wouldn't want to fly into Class B airports anyway, for your own safety (very high levels of jet/large a/c traffic with related wake turbulence issues, etc), and both B & C airports typically have quite high fuel prices, ramp fees, etc.

Biggest thing that would concern me would be the 200 mile range. This really is a big place (especially out west), and weather systems can often drive the desire to have a lot of 'deviation options', which are limited by short legged fuel capacity.

I can't offer any advice on flying a foreign registered a/c and/or flying on a foreign license; I suppose you've already researched those issues.

If you wait until 'post Covid' to start your trip, be sure to broadcast your intentions; you may find lots of free hangar & bedroom space if you ask.

Charlie

edit: It seems that chart nomenclature may be different in the USA vs Europe. Take a look at an online chart site like Skyvector, and scroll around the areas you're thinking about visiting. Any airport with solid maroon rings around it is Class C. Any airport with solid blue rings around it is Class B, with the 30 NM radius outer ring being the 'mode C veil'. The mode C ring is effectively a hard wall for non-ADSB aircraft, but you can fly *under* the outer maroon ring of class B airports, to within (typically) 5 NM of the class B airport. The other 'no fly' areas (regardless of xpndr/adsb) are the 'Restricted' zones; thin blue outline with hash marks pointed inward. Thin maroon lines with hash marks denote Military Operations Areas (MOAs), which we're *advised* to avoid unless we're in contact with ATC, but as a practical matter, it's *usually* safe to fly in most of them at lower altitudes in the daytime. Area pilots will be able to tell you about areas that should be avoided.
 
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BBerson

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Uhaul truck is only $19.95 a day but there is $.70 per mile that would add up fast. Motorhome rental might be cheaper overall.
Might be best to buy a used vehicle for the several months adventure. Old motor homes are cheap, sometimes free.
 
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Dana

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I don't think you can operate a Permit to Fly aircraft in the US, it has to have a standard registration unless it complies with Part 103. I could be wrong though.
 

Jonny o

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Oct 31, 2015
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Fairbanks, AK USA
I flew a Rans Coyote with a 2 stroke coast to coast and then up to Alaska were I live. No radio, No cell phone, a compass and a road map. Plan nothing beyond the next flight. Enjoy were you are that day. If the weather is bad; tie the plane to a tree and enjoy the area that you are at. Meet a huge number of great people !

The planes gas tank was removable and had 2 skateboard wheels mounted on the bottom like a hand truck. The handle was permanently attached to the gas tank, and was part of the fuselage. Pulling my hand truck to a gas station was NEVER a big deal. Rarely, did I make it a mile, in a small town, without getting offered a ride. If I didn't it was no big deal because I needed the exercise and wanted to see the country side.

Stay at 1200 feet or lower to stay out of class E airspace. You may fly in class E airspace, but why ? Above 700 feet you can't see anything anyway. Follow rivers, with gravel bars, and unpaved country roads so you always have a landing spot. 95% chance that the guy at the grass airstrip you landed at the day before knows 3 more you can land at, in the direction you are going. My opinion on the best plane would be a Backyard Flyer. The wings fold in one piece. It is tough. It is a legal ultralight and it has a very reliable 4 stroke engine.

Enjoy !
 

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