My college friend was getting married this coming weekend, so I decided to fly out for it in Northern Chicago. I wasn't going to Oshkosh, so I figured I'd take the RV. It was going to cost slightly more than the airlines, but the fun factor was there. When I arrived at the airport, there was a Pilatus with very Maryland colors outside the FBO.
The weather was crummy at KDMW. Clouds at about 2500'. My planned route was over south-west PA, which was mostly IFR or MVFR. I decided to wait a little to see how fast it would burn off.
Formal clothes in the RV on my custom hangar.
Figured I'd bring some local Baltimore brew to the midwest.
I installed my new Stratus unit. It turned on seamlessly.
My planned destination was Westosha Airport in southern Wisconsin. My friends mother was nice enough to put me up in her lake house for a couple of nights before the wedding, as well as take me out on the lake in their pontoon boat. I wanted to get some quality pontooning in today, but the weather wasn't cooperating along my planned route. I noticed it was clear sailing due north of KDMW, and then in Northern PA. I blasted off and took the high route around this muck.
I climbed above the clouds to 8,500' to clear skies and cool temps aloft.
Cruising along at 8,500'. One of the downfalls of this altitude was the 20 kts headwind. I decided to stay up high until I was over Pittsburgh's class B airspace and the mountains of PA.
I took my new 696 along with me. This thing is great. The screen is unreal, as well as it has the best depiction of airspace and terrain I have ever seen. I need to work on a better mount, however.
Wind farm on top of a ridge.
Crossing over the Allegheny river.
Coolest airport name ever.
My ipad decided to overheat, so I designed an air ducting system to cool from the back. Worked very well.
Once clear of Pittsburgh's class B airspace and the terrain, I descended to 3,500' where the winds were predicted to be better. Sure enough they were, and a slight tailwind to boot! Not bad for heading west.
Nice clear day in central Ohio.
My planned fuel stop was KOXI - Starke County Airport in Knox, IN. It took about 3 hours to make it here.
KOXI had a great fuel price. Best along my route.
The airport dog had an interesting coat. Any guesses if it's natural?
I always had wanted to fly up the coast of Lake Michigan by Chicago. Today was the perfect day to do so.
Downtown Chicago - including Navy Pier, Sears Tower and the Hancock building.
The beach was packed today.
And in about 45 minutes from KOXI, I landed at Westosha (5K6). When I was unpacking, I couldn't figure out a good place to hang my suit while I covered and locked up the RV. Then it dawned on me the perfect location. My friends mom got a kick driving out next to the RV to collect my belongings. We headed back to her lake house for some afternoon pontooning and beers. Great trip out!
Fast forward a few days and a bunch of my college friends started to trickle into town. 4 of them were interested in getting a ride, so we went up and buzzed around the lakes. This is my friend Nook checking out my RV.
His girlfriend Daxi getting a ride.
Powers Lake, WI from the air.
Another shot of Powers Lake - they have a "Rock Bar" that is visible in this picture as the brown spot in the lake. This is a very popular place for boats to pull up to on the weekends. It's a real party!
Last and not least, my friend Big Al getting a ride. At 270 Lbs and 6'5", he lives up to his name. All of us had a blast getting rides, and we finished off the afternoon on the lake.
The following day was my friend Jim's wedding. Here's the newly married couple.
And then a little dancing later on. Great time.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and it was time to get back home. Weather around Chicago was getting a little stormy with some thunderstorm cells forming. I played it safe and flew around the west side of Chicago.
I stopped for fuel at the Jasper County Airport (KRZL) in Rensselaer, IN. I checked the weather and there didn't seem to be a solid cloud deck anywhere between here and home. I went up top to take advantage of a slightly better cross wind and to escape the heat.
Up at 9,700' going 160 kts and burning 8 GPH. Life is good.
Overflying Fort Wayne International (KFWA)
Thunderstorms up north in southern MI.
The cloud tops kept on rising and so did I. 11,500' - My highest yet.
Unfortunately the clouds tops kept on getting higher, so I descended to 4,500'.
It was bumpy and hot at this altitude...
At about 1/2 way though Ohio, the clouds thinned out and I climbed up to 9,500'.
Crossing over the OH river into WV. This town is Brilliant, OH. The towers are the Cardinal Coal Burning Power Plant.
This is Washington County airport (KAFJ) just to the south of Pittsburgh. I needed to land here last year for weather.
Off to the distance is Rostraver (KFWQ). This is where I attended Tom Emery's RV builders workshop in 2005. Hard to believe that was almost 8 years ago.
7 Springs Ski Resort. I spent many high school ski trips here. 4-5 hours in a bus, but only 30 minutes from home in the RV!
More thunderstorms north of me in Central PA.
There were some terrible bugs at 8,500'. They were big boys too.
During my descent I noticed my G-Meter showed I underwent -32.4 G's! I will have to share this with GRT to get their take.
Back home and filled up the tanks in the RV - 25 gallons - not bad for 3 hours and nearly 500 miles.
Can't beat the carrying capacity of the RV. Few cases of WI beer and all of my stuff. This was a great trip and a wonderful use of the RV.
Last Modified: August 13, 2023