Our Transcontinental Flight, May 2013
By Steve Weiser
On Friday, May 3rd, 2013, my brother John and I began an ambitious and demanding project together; we departed from Concord-Buchanan airfield in Concord, Calif., on a long and carefully planned flight from coast to coast. We both have Private Pilot licenses, so there was a lot of comfort and added safety having two pilots aboard. And, the ability to consult with each other when faced with various choices along the way was invaluable.
We completed the trip on May 14, 2013, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, which, as everyone knows, is the scene of the first powered flights by the Wright Brothers, in 1903. Thus, our trip overall took about 12 days. That included about 5 days on the ground along the way due to weather delays in two different places.
Our major stops along the way, in sequence, were Klamath Falls, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Pocatello, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; North Platte, Nebraska; Olathe, Kansas (near Kansas City); Bloomington, Indiana; and Charlottesville, Virginia. We flew approximately 2,600 nautical miles, or about 3,000 statute miles.
Our northern route was carefully chosen to avoid all the highest mountains in the west. We could have gone south, through Arizona, etc., but we wanted to see the scenery on a northern track.
The airplane, which is owned by my brother, is a Diamond Star DA-40XL. This is a four place, reciprocating engine prop airplane. It cruises easily at about 135-140 knots.
We had no mechanical problems, except that the autopilot malfunctioned in the early part of the trip. We had it fixed in Olathe, Kansas.
Neither of us had ever flown any trip remotely similar to this in length.
We prayed many times during our trip, not out of fear or fright, but trusting in the Lord to guide and enable us to accomplish everything safely.