ALL FIFTY STATES! Almost. Covering the lower 48 in a Bakeng Duce.

click here for the complete list of stops


Copy of the poster I put on the prop at stops

Folks:

I've been attempting to transcribe the journal I kept on my trip around the US this summer, but the going has been very slow. I think I'll wait till I complete the other ten states before I tackle that task again. The following is an interim outline of the first 38 states.

I left Buckingham Field in Ft. Myers, FL on July 6, 2005 and returned on September 16, 2005. The trip included 28 days that I flew and 3 of those days only involved local flying. I accomplished takeoffs and landings in 38 states and covered a total of 9494 statute miles. Along the way I visited the Western North Carolina air Museum in Hendersonville, NC, the Air and Space Museum at Langley, VA, The Pietenpol Fly-in at Brodhead, WI, the EAA Oshkosh Fly-in, and he National Antique Association Fly-in at Antique Airfield in Blakesburg, IA. I had a chance to visit with Paul Poberezny at Oshkosh and swap recollections of Sam Burgess, our mutual friend and the man who was my inspiration to make this trip. I also had a chance to visit with Les Benson at Oshkosh. He served as mission control by cell phone for the trip. On July 30th I celebrated my 40th anniversary as a licensed pilot. I stopped to visit with many long-time friends along the way. I found a cousin I hadn't seen for 25 years in Traverse City, MI. I also had a chance to meet Paul Bretanus, and see his beautiful PT-22 at the National AAA Fly-in at Blakesburg, IA.


Coffee and donut group at Flippin, AR

I had to stop to recuperate from a bad head cold and wait for my ears to open up in Torrington, WY. After several days I had to make the call that neither my 0-235 Lycoming engine or my ears were really up to the task of making the high altitude part of the journey through the Pacific Northwest to California and on around to Texas. It was a big disappointment but it was the right call. I think Sam would have agreed.

When I finished the 38 states I ended up in Foley, AL on September 9th right after Hurricane Katrina had hit Mobile and New Orleans. My brother-in-law, Eddie Woerner, from Elberta, AL had taken two other volunteers, a bunch of gas grills, ice chests, meat and other food supplies and was feeding the New Orleans police officers who had stayed. They were holed up in the Casino across the street from the World Trade Center on the waterfront in downtown New Orleans. Conditions were so bad that three police officers committed suicide the day before he arrived. He called me on his cell phone right after I got to Foley, AL and asked if I would drive a refrigerated truck full of meat from Foley to where he was set up in downtown New Orleans. By this time he was feeding about 6000 first responders a day, including the 82nd Airborne, the New Orleans police, the Federal Marshals, a group of volunteer doctors who had set up operation in a building not far from us, and a very interesting group of fellows from an organization called "Blackwater". Look up their web site on the internet at www.blackwaterusa.com. The second day I was there the aircraft carrier Iwo Jima docked at the World Trade Center and the Captain sent some of his crew to help with the cooking, serving, and clean up. I had the opportunity to meet Lt. General Honore and he is a very impressive individual. If the people who run the government were as capable as him, this country would be in a lot better shape. If it hadn't been for the military, the few NO policemen who stayed, and the volunteers that showed up from all over the country, things would have been much worse. FEMA and the Red Cross were nowhere to be found. I left during the daytime on the return trip to AL, and the only thing I can ssay is it was even worse than it looked on TV. It was quite an experience


Jim Paine's place in Hendersonville, NC

Since returning to Florida I have been considering the options for upping the HP of my Duce. I always seem to end up back at the proposition that there is no substitute for cubic inches. I have an 0-320 and an 0-360 Lycoming engine setting in my hanger, but they both have dynafocal mounts. This means I would have to build new engine mounts to use either of them. Modifying the cowling would also probably be necessary. I finally solved the power problem by making a deal to buy John Bickel's 150 HP Duce, and I'll sell N51324. It's a great airplane and it didn't cause any problems or miss a beat during the 9500 miles and 97 hours of flying on the trip. However, I'm not comfortable doing the mountain passes that are necessary without more power.


The Kimball castle where I stayed in Johnstown, PA

I had a checkup this week with the doctor who did my recent rotator cuff surgery, and he returned me to flying status. I've had two physical therapy sessions and I have almost complete range of motion now with not too much pain. I plan on leaving around the first of June to complete the states of SD, ND, MT, ID, WA, OR, CA, NV, UT, and AZ. I'd appreciate an RON anyplace along the way.


N51324 at Cotter, AR Gary Green's place


Visit with my husband-in law's aunt in Newark, OH (That's a southern term, I can explain it)


Annual opening of dove season SE Missouri, been doing it with this group since 1971


 Pietenpol Fly-in at Brodhead, WI (Much more fun than Oshkosh)


Serving first responders 6000 meals a day


Lt. Gen. Honore and my brother-in-law in downtown NO


Loading a Marine helicopter with supplies for NO