Well I've been looking at the Stinson 108-3 for a long time and dragging JoAnne to see every one that landed at Oshkosh for the last 3 or 4 years. In spite of the problems associated with the type's engine parts situation I still felt that this was the airplane for me. Vintage of course, good looks, useful load, size and comfort, cross country speed and not something every one else has. In other words, "my type of airplane" !
Anyway, I've been looking at Stinsons all along waiting for the right one to come along with my name on it and it finally did. This one just screamed at me and I couldn't resist. My new friend doesn't have the engine issues as it's owner completed an engine conversion using an 0-540 Lycoming with 235 horsepower. The interior has been re-done and it's fully IFR! Vic Steelhammer did a nice job on the Stinson. The only problem for me now is that the plane is in California and I'll have o fly it home!! What a problem to have!! Following are some preliminary pics.
Anyway the great adventure of flying cross country starts Dec 30th! My friend Steve and I will depart from 52M's old home of WHP (Whiteman Airpark) in Southern California headed home to Auburn, Indiana.
As we go along we will be updating this page with our progress and pics. Be sure to stay tuned!!
Tim and Steve's adventure with "Mikey" day 1
Well we had a heck of a day! First thing this morning we went to San Val Aviation to pick up a few things for our flight and a case of oil as we wanted to do an oil change before we left. There was a front approaching and we were close on time to get out of the LA basin. After changing the oil, Steve (my co-pilot and ferry pilot) went out to check out so we could leave. It started raining and the ceilings started dropping but we got out late and flew around all the LA airspace to get out to the east. We decided to stay south and headed for the Banning pass between LA and Palm Springs. Then on to Blythe along the CA / AZ border. Landing here about dusk it was dark by the time we fueled and got "mikey" tied down.
We stayed around 5500 feet and we didn't lean aggressively so our fuel burn was about 12 gph. Boy that 0-540 is smooth and powerful! Need to climb? just a small nudge on the throttle and up you go! We trued out about 140mph and with the tailwind we occasionally hit 160 gs. Not much else to tell other than this aircraft has already exceeded my expectations and is not only beautiful, it flies like a dream. More on our saga as we get along. See Ya!!
Day 2 - Well today was a real good day with a lot of miles and beautiful scenery. We left Blythe, CA into a dawning sun east bound trying to stay in front of an oncoming front with the associated storms. Our first leg took us to Safford, AZ and our first fuel stop of the day. The FBO topped us off while Steve talked to the weather briefer and we had our first change of plans for the day.
We had hoped to go further north towards Albuquerque but a southerly moving front dropping out of the north caused us to continue in a more southerly direction. We ended up heading towards El Paso and ended up in Mexican airspace for a few minutes. We landed at a small airport just west of El Paso called West Texas. For the second time today we attracted a crowd with the now familiar ooohs and aaahs as "mikey" is one fine old bird. Here you see me not having any fun!
We did a flyby on departure and the crowd was standing out by the runway waving us on. We went on for the longest leg and final stop in Abilene as the front continued south preventing us from heading up towards Oklahoma.
We are here overnight but we may be stuck here as the front we were trying to outrun finally caught us. It's forecast to have some snow tonight but we're still hopeful. The weather briefer told us tonight that if we had made another hundred miles we'd have been home free. Oh Well...
The scenery we flew through today was spectacular. We followed the valleys on a low altitude route and frequently flying over desert rock mesas and down valleys with mountains on both sides. Winds were favorable as we also hit over 180mph groundspeed! The more I fly it the happier I am with this fine aircraft. Climb rates with the big Lycoming are impressive as it only took minutes to get up to 9500msl. Boy what a change from the coupe!! We also crossed the West Texas oilfields and I never realized the sheer size of these areas. Anyway the adventure continues with another installment tomorrow. Blue skies!!!!
Day 3 - Well, the sun has ris and the sun has set and here we is in Texas yet!
A frustrating day to say the least. We're only 50 miles from clear air to the north and sitting here under low overcast with snow and other precip. Hoped to get out on a special VFR later this afternoon to get away from this but when confronted with the option of sitting or scud running we decided to sit. Discretion is the better part of valor! The high point that makes this tolerable is the fine people here who have been taking care of us.
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