I don’t have much experience with that type of  MOUNTAIN FLYING

I’ve just flown through them


So let me tell you my life story

Just what kind of a pilot am I?

-         licensed in 1962

-         fear of long cross country until …… helped ferry a PA-12 on floats from west of Winnipeg to southern Ontario

-         love affairs with T-Craft, Aeronca Sedan, Stinson, Commanche, 182 etc.

-         needed to own any plane I could afford

-         20 years of almost bliss with this homebuilt 170:





But what about THE MOUNTAIN FLYING ?

None,  just a little toe dipping: from Edmonton into Jasper; checking out forestry strips near the mountains and getting close to the range near Vancouver.







The 170 is a great plane but it is getting to be too heavy for an old guy to push around. My back needs something lighter:



Like this Rans S-7 Courier

582 engine  650 empty 1200 gross


The start of a major love affair

See  http://www.ranss7.com


These aircraft perform right up there with a SuperCub. Off the water with two people and full tanks on a hot calm day in 12 seconds. After realizing there were many variations of the S7 Courier I started to buy  and sell them just to get in some flying and try out the different models and engines (most were 912 80 and 100hp)


They came from NY, 3 from Michigan, another from NS, one from Nebraska, the one below from Kenora not quite finished, a total of twelve in all.







 and then  from the   MOUNTAINS



This is 2004 S-7S  (details of the various models here)












Do I need a mountain flying course?   (NO!)


Input from a local friend:  “You aren’t going to fly that kite through the mountains!”


Input from guys out there: “No problem”


It’s cold! Cabin heat (not)


Survival equipment




Fuel:  Chinook aux tanks

(typically shipped out ahead of time with my pre-made mounting brackets and plumbing)


US cell phone


Second GPS


Route:  mostly US I 80


Google Earth   street view





Looking NW. SLC on the right, West Desert past the lake  SLC elevation 4500


Heading into Provost Canyon



Heading NE out of Provost    I80 through Evanston is close to 7000’ elevation



Runway at Rock Springs Elevation 6760




Typical scenery across southern Wy:


and the rest is flat land






Install floats then sell to a guy in Saskatchewan



Delivery to new owner in Saskatchewan



An island in lake Nipigon








Another find in Oregon



Central Oregon





Farming country




The guy I bought from worked on  turbine, pressurized Glassairs

Below is just the baggage door



Leaving Bend I left the camera in the baggage area!  No pictures until after first fuel stop in Idaho but to get into Idaho had to cover some fairly remote terrain. Check it out on Google earth.



Some pretty scenery in the valley that covers a large chunk of southern Idaho






Linked up with a small flyin BBQ near Pocatello



Leaving the flat lands heading NE to a pass between Yellowstone and Jackson Hole Wy







This is just north of Jackson Hole looking SE

Note the temps above proved to be a problem later. Elevation 11,500


Ahh a road at last. Wasn’t anything for most of this leg. This takes me out to stop at Dubois






Out at last but with regrets. This was the most impressive scenery I’ve ever been close to.


Dubois Wy


Flat land problem



Temps were getting a little high in the warm weather so hit “nearest” to get to Tarkio Mo


Proved to be a great stopping place. Ag planes plus the Yale and a Harvard which the local Congressman owned (he more or less owned the airport too)



Checking out the flooding in the Missouri river from the congressman’s Harvard



One of the hangars (a picture for my wife who’d like me to be neater)



Ferrying another S7 from California


See relief map above . Route is northern California east on I 80 into Nevada to Utah and joining previous route from SLC


This time I had SPOT tracking which allows you to tie your pictures to the route:   


California ferry flight




My conclusion is that these types of flights through mountainous terrain requires no more knowledge than any other cross country; the route planning is very similar, just the numbers are different. My policy was always to:


Talk to the locals for route suggestions

Don’t have deadlines

Carry emergency equipment and clothing for cold weather (and for high altitude)

Use a SPOT beacon

Wait for good weather.  Meet new friends, learn about the locality and most important:






Finding the Rans Courier was the entry into many years of very satisfying flying experiences.