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    Re: Oceanic Ferrying- was Sun squash
    From: Ken Gebhart
    Date: 2006 Jan 19, 22:01 -0600
    Re: Oceanic Ferrying- was Sun squash On 1/18/06 2:06 AM, "Gary J. LaPook" <glapook@PACBELL.NET> wrote:

    Great post Ken.

    It brought back memories of my flight across the atlantic in a Cessna 172 in 1978 trying to find Flores in the Azores. I was working for Pete Demis, who you also know. No autopilot, shooting stars with an A-10a I had purchased from you several years earlier. Level the wings, start shooting, straighten out plane back on heading, resume shooting, etc. and then interpolating the altitude from all of the pencil marks covering half of the disk.

    Have you had any contact with that crazy greek guy recently?
    Gary LaPook


    Gary,

    No, but the word crazy fits.  He was flying one of the planes on the trip I related.  So many stories to tell.  The last of which was his repossessing Idi Amin’s private jet (while Idi was still in power.)

    You mention the Azores.  Some friends of mine took off in several C-310s from St. John’s for the Azores.  But instead of allowing for variation, they used grid variation (GV), a 35 deg difference!  Upon expiration of ETA, one fellow wanted to start a square search for the islands, but the others talked him out of it, reasoning that they were bound to hit Europe if they continued on. As you know, prop planes get their best mpg low and slow, so they were down on the wave tops when the ETA for Europe arrived.  Still no land.  An hour later, with all fuel tanks solidly on E, land and an airport appeared, which they used, but no-one there spoke English.  They had gone into the middle of the Bay of Biscay and landed in France!

    During the 70s, Cessna, Beech, and Piper supplied 80% of the world’s single engine, prop airplanes.  The new owners almost always opted to have them ferried instead of waiting for sea freight to bring them.  On one of my flights from Gander to Shannon, I was informed by the line boy, that I was the 22nd single engine airplane to arrive from the US that day.

    Most navigation of these planes was by the gun-barrel method.  The metal ferry tanks installed for the trip made the magnetic compass all but useless.  You tracked outbound on a VOR radial, and set the directional gyro (on unslaved mode) to the radial bearing.  Then when the radial dropped out at around 100 miles, you held the last heading until hitting the destination.  Trouble was that normal internal gyro precession, plus earth-transport precession guaranteed a large error.  This was not too big a problem over the Atlantic, but I personally have know 5 people who did not return from Pacific crossings, most probably due to navigational errors.  Thus, I used a sextant.

    Gary, how about your flight?  Did you do many or just once?  Any problems or comments?  I only did two, once over each ocean, but living in Wichita with Cessna and Beech, I was close to many of those who made such flights for a living.  

    If ever a book SHOULD be written (referring to Bill’s earlier comment), it should be written about the unbelievable adventures (navigational, political, and physical) of the pilots who flew these ferry flights.  I have only scratched the surface with my above comments.

    Ken
       
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