The Extra 300L has Flown South for the Winter
October 3, 2013 Leave a comment
I often get questions about flying the Extra on long cross-country trips, so here are a few answers.
First, my usual route between Seattle and the Las Vegas areas includes two fuel stops: Prineville, OR (S39) and Silver Springs, NV (KSPZ). You can see the route I flew on the way south at SkyVector, here.
The trip is about 850 nm and involves about 5.5 hours of flying time. I plan on a TAS of 160-165 knots. Total block time, including the two fuel stops, is typically about 8 hours. I fly legs of no more than about 2 hours, which leaves me a reserve of about 45 minutes of fuel.
The Extra 300L is strictly a day-VFR airplane. Climbing or descending through even a thin layer of clouds isn’t legal—or smart. And, like a convertible sports car, it’s not designed for long cross-country flying. It’s neutrally stable, and it has a tight cockpit that makes using charts difficult. I use a Garmin GPSMap 396 with XM weather for primary navigation, and I have ForeFlight on an iPad for charts and other information.
My Extra, like many in the fleet, doesn’t even have cabin heat. And this flight, in the wake of a cold front, was uncomfortably cold most of the way.
Low ceilings and fog delayed my departure from Boeing Field until early afternoon, and the remains of the front left crummy weather farther down the road, so I stayed overnight at Prineville. S39 has always been a great fuel stop, and this time the airport manager and staff went out of their way to set me up in a hangar overnight. They gave me the keys to one of the airport courtesy cars (a Taurus) and directed me to a Best Western that offers a rate for itinerant pilots.
The next day, the rest of flight was smooth with tailwinds. But it was still cold, especially at 9500 ft., the altitude required to clear terrain over much of the route south of Klamath Falls in the corridor between multiple MOAs and restricted areas.