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We finally got the RV–8 to Moses Lake, with it arriving Tuesday afternoon. We didn't take the most direct route, as we wanted to visit family and friends on way across the continent.

Route from Smiths Falls, ON to Moses Lake, WA

 


It took a few days to get the stuff in the hangar packed up to ship out west, then I flew to Green Bay, WI to meet with Terry, who was there visiting family. The importation paperwork at Sault Ste. Marie, MI took longer than I had hoped, but the US Customs folks were very friendly and helpful.

Next overnight stop was at Newton, KS, to visit friends in Wichita. Then it was Billings, MT for the next night. Billings has a great downtown, and I highly recommend it if you need a place to spend a night.

Sunday morning we left Billings, intending to do a quick gas stop in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and arrive in Moses Lake for lunch. But, the mountain weather didin’t cooperate, and we ran into low cloud a bit west of Helena, MT. We did a quick 180 and landed in Helena to wait for the weather to clear.

It turns out that the airport at Helena has a great place to cool your heels, Mustang Mickey’s, next to the self-serve fuel pump. It is a small hangar and pilot lounge owned by a local businessman and pilot. There is a full kitchen, shower facilities and four beds. Plus a courtesy car. The only rule is that you must fill the tank on the courtesy car after every use, so no one else has to pay for the gas you used. We went into town for lunch, and it cost $2 to fill it up afterwards.

Finally after a five hour wait in Helena, the weather reports suggested the low cloud had lifted, so we launched again, hoping to make the two hour flight to Moses Lake. But, life had other plans. As we passed overhead Spokane, I noted a strange engine indication I didn’t like, so we landed in Spokane rather than roll the dice on another half-hour of flying. There was no hope of finding any assistance to sort out the issue that late on a Sunday, so we got a one way car rental and drove home.

On Monday I drove to Spokane, and met with an A&P to troubleshoot the issue. We found that one cylinder had developed some sort of ring issue, and the excessive blow-by of combustion gases had blown a significant percentage of the oil out of the crankcase, leading to the engine indications I had noted. His borescope inspection found no sign that it would be unsafe to do the short flight to Moses Lake, once I had topped up the oil.

Tuesday, one of my coworkers flew me to Spokane, and I flew the aircraft to Moses Lake. The engine ran perfectly the whole way here, but I’ve grounded the aircraft until I’ve sorted out the issue with the cylinder. Now I’m beating the bushes looking for experienced assistance to help me sort it out.

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