How do you plan a 4,200 nautical mile trip in a small plane? It’s not too bad, just plan several 500 NM trips. Oh, and get a whole bunch of aviation charts (VFR, IFR, contingency routes, etc.) The charts we carried weighed 20 lbs.
The only charts we didn’t end up using were the ones covering Canadian airspace. We wanted to have those just in case we needed to take a northerly route to avoid weather around the great lakes.
We departed Boise and made a fuel and lunch stop in Casper, WY. From there we went to Iowa City to spend the night. After resting up, we headed to Sandusky, OH the home of the Cedar Point Amusement Park which has several world-class roller coasters. We spent a whole day in Cedar Point then took off for Niagara Falls (first viewing it from the air, then touring around for a day or so on the ground). After that it was off to Boston to celebrate my oldest brother’s 50th birthday and to hang out with family and friends for about a week.
For the trip back home from Boston, we were hoping to fly over New York City for the Hudson River Tour, but the weather didn’t cooperate for that. So we just made a fuel and food stop at Butler, PA then spent the night in Moline, IL. From there we made another fuel stop in Ainsworth, NE and overnighted in Driggs, ID. We could have made it all the way to Boise on that second day coming back, but we decided not to push it.
|Route||Time (hours)||Dist (nm)||Avg Speed (kts)|
|Day 1||Nampa, ID – Casper, WY||3.2||475||148|
|Casper, WY – Sioux City, IA||3.1||451||145|
|Sioux City, IA – Iowa City, IA||1.4||217||155|
|Day 2||Iowa City, IA – Ft. Wayne, IN||2.2||319||145|
|Ft. Wayne, IN – Sandusky, OH||0.8||118||148|
|Day 3||Sandusky, OH – Niagara Falls, NY||1.5||212||141|
|Day 4||Niagara Falls, NY – Norwood, MA||2.6||384||148|
|Day 5||Norwood, MA – Butler, PA||3.0||412||137|
|Butler, PA – Moline, IL||3.3||484||147|
|Day 6||Moline, IL – Ainsworth, NE||3.2||429||134|
|Ainsworth, NE – Driggs, ID||3.7||492||133|
|Day 7||Driggs, ID – Nampa, ID||1.7||247||145|
The times listed are the number of hours recorded by the GPS, which starts and stops timing when the groundspeed goes above/below 30 knots. For you non-pilots, nm stands for nautical miles. To convert nautical miles to statute miles, multiply by 1.15. A knot (kt) is simply a term for nautical miles per hour.
The speeds above are simply the distance divided by the time to get the average speed of the leg. The actual cruise speed was about 10 knots faster than the average speeds listed above.