After my trip to Oshkosh last year, I wanted to go back this year, especially as I found an even better plane to fly in: a brand new Cirrus Turbo SR22 G3 perspective (i.e. with G1000 and synthetic vision).
The turbo gave us the option to fly at 25,000ft (FL250) while perspective fixed my long dislike of avidyne in what is otherwise a fairly good plane, by replacing the avionics with a nice G1000 with G700 autopilot and synthetic vision, which was the first time I got to fly the last 2.
It is pretty cool to know that I'm probably the first person to ever rent and fly a Cirrus Perspective for such a trip :)
My CFI Dave and I went to San Carlos airport to get the plane ready, and figure out how to connect our O2 masks to the plane's O2 system, adn by the time that was done, we headed out, IFR, around 11:00 and climbed to FL250.
Unfortunately, I soon found out that the plane's 12V supply did not actually work and that my fancy new EFB (samsung Q1U tablet running Seattle Avionics Voyager), was running out of batteries. Unfortunately, I had to turn it off until our first scheduled stop (KRWL) where I was able to recharge it a bit. Luckily, we got such a tailwind (20-30kts) that we easily made the fuelstop I had scheduled, so I didn't have to use my EFB to look up other options in flight.
A brand new 40h plane
FL250 required O2 masks
Once we were cruising at altitude, I gave my CFI control of the plane so that I was legally only a passenger, and I tried to use the nose canula for O2 instead of the mask. According to the oxymetre we were using, my O2 saturation was in the 90%+ range the entire time, and while it's not legal to be pilot in command with a canula at that altitude, it worked much better for me, especially compared to a mask where you lose O2 when you have to remove it to talk to ATC. From my research, and asking, canulas don't work as well for everyone at that altitude, which is why masks are required. That means I have to go with the less efficient solution and use the mask when I'm sole pilot in command.
Then, I tried to see what would happen if I didn't use oxygen at 25,000ft (8000 metres, or around the altitude at the top of everest), and I got intense tingling in my body first for the first minute, tried to plug my oxygen back in during the second minute, and passed out after that. My CFI who was also the pilot at the time then plugged me back in and I came back to in less than one minute. This was a good way to see how important supplemental oxygen is at that altitude, and how quickly you become incapacitated without it (I remember trying to plug my oxygen back in, but I never actually managed to do so on my own before passing out). This was the best way to see how little effective time of useful consciousness (TUC), you may have that high, and how important O2 and checking your oxymetre, are.
We got some interesting weather on the way
Nice Avionics shots
Our fuel stop also required an O2 fill
Now is a time to mention my two rants on the plane (I love just about everything else): with two 170lbs people in it, and a mere 80lbs of luggage, we were not even able to fill the tanks and had to settle for 86 gallons instead of 92 gallons. In other words, the payload is pretty poor with full fuel. While I had planned that we could actually do the whole trip with just one fuel stop, flying with 6 gallons missing made that a bit more dicy, and we had decided to cut the trip in two anyway since 10 hours of flying is a long stretch.
The second part is that it's pretty annoying how Cirrus couldn't get their doors right from the start. The old ones, you were supposed to close gently so as not to damage them, and the new ones have to be slammed shut pretty vigorously, to the point that I had just slammed mine a little after the first fuel stop, and we had to turn back after takeoff and land at KRWL again to shut my door properly because it wasn't secure.
Then, just to make things fun, as we climbed out the second time, we hit some icing on the way up, which thankfully we got out of quickly, and TKS was able to get rid of.
But the weather just got worse as we went more east, and we had to divert north and eventually land at KPIR, as the weather just wasn't good east of us.
Soon after takeoff, we hit some weather and got light icing while climbing to FL250. Thankfully we got out of it quickly and TKS took are of it
Weather got bad, we had to divert and go north. We even elected to land early at KPIR
The next morning, we finished the flight to Oshkosh, in time for half a day of show left.
Thankfully, the nice folks from Cirrus as Oshkosh were able to find someone who fixed the electrical problem on our plane, and allowed us to have 12V power on the way back home. Yeah!
For the flight home, I had initially planned to get out early Sunday morning and do a one day flight (timezones and daylight being on our side), but I figured out that by saturday noon I'd have seen what there was to see, so we were able to get out in time before they closed the runways around 14:30, and while we could have gone a bit further, our goal was to reach Rapid City and use the extra daylight to drive to the Mt Rushmore Monument.
My Voyager EFB, finally working on the way back
We had a few hours to kill in Rapid City and used the time to go to Mt Rushmore
The next morning, I had a flight plan going a bit north, over Yellowstone, and flew by Jackson Hole, which my CFI recommended, and we saw portion of the national park, including Grand Téton :)
Grand Téton in Yellowstone
A nice demo of the synthetic vision showing the runway on an ILS approach
After a stop in Elko for fuel and lunch (no O2 because headwinds forced us to fly much lower, around 10,000ft which doesn't require oxygen. In return, we got a better view of what we were overflying), we finished the flight by shooting a quick approach at Stockton to check out the synthetic vision system (if you look at the picture above closely, you'll see the runway, aligned on the screen), and landed uneventfully at San Carlos.
The google maps track above shows the flight, but you can also download the
GPX track of the flight
Of course, I have plenty of other pictures. One good idea is to open the
and you'll be able to click on the google maps links by the pictures in the library to see where they were taken, and open the picture links in a new window (right click, open link in new window). That way, by clicking on google maps link, you'll see where the picture was taken, on the
SQL LVW PIR OSH flight
OSH RAP EKO SQL flight