(803) 641-9999

Saturday, May 14, 2016: Pago-Pago - Aucklund, New Zealand
Unknown Island in the PacifiToday we crossed the International Date Line on our way from Pago Pago to Aukland, the final leg of our Pacific crossing. We departed Pago Pago at 0600 as the sun was rising and climbed straight to 22,000 feet with 200 gallons less than the previous 2 days. The 6.3 hour flight was most enjoyable, crossing many of the beautiful Pacific islands in good weather conditions. In reflection, the entire journey was so incredible all the way from Aiken to Aukland. We had a great team of people helping and encouraging us all the way. With a little help from the CTS team, major alterations and support from Intercontinental Jet especially with some last minute tweaking, and Tom Lopes installing the ferry system making sure everything was perfect and safe, the entire crossing went without a glitch. 

New Zealand Straight AheadI would like to thank all of the MU-2 owners that have once again supported my international MU-2 flight.  I hope you have all enjoyed sharing the experience with me. The overwhelming number of emails that I have received is most appreciated. The reason I carry a tracker and write a blog is only for the benefit of the people who enjoy sharing my experience. 

Here are some trip facts in response to a few inaccuracies that cropped up along the way:

"He loaded 950 gals that morning in SMX prior to departure for Hawaii"  I purchased 726 gallons of fuel in SMX - giving a total fuel load of 877 gallons

"6,365 lbs!!"  5876 lbs!!!

"So he was pushing 15,000 lbs at takeoff."  I had 13,855 lbs at takeoff per the load sheet.

Blog says approval for 20% over gross. 11,625 x 1.2 = 13,950 lbs - 6,365 lbs fuel = 7,585 lbs of empty plus payload (presumably only a couple pilots).

Dunno what most Marquise empty weights are like, but it's close to rational. Especially if some seats and interior were removed and shipped freight or whatever.Approaching New Zealand

-Jon C.  Thanks Jon, you used some common sense without knowing specifics. 

"7800 lbs give or take."  7578 lbs - per new W & B

"Take all the seats out might save 200 lbs."  Seats, cabinets, potty, dividers and carpet were all removed. 

"Add two pilots, 400 lbs, fuel, we're at 14,365 lbs, about 24% over the MGTOW of 11,575." Add two pilots, 400 lbs, fuel, we were at 13,885 lbs, exactly 20% over max TOW 11,575.

"You will want both fans to keep turning, that's for sure."  And they did.

"Took about 50 minutes to get to FL200."  Any ferry pilot will tell you to use cruise climb techniques in an over gross climb, that takes a lot longer for the climb, hence 50 minutes ... but who's counting. 

Mike and Warren in New ZealandI am so pleasd to have been involved in the delivery of S/N1569SA with Warren Mackay to New Zealand. Warren was a great companion and a true professional. I was so encouraged to hear all about the operation that Warren runs in New Zealand. We all should be pleasd to see another MU-2 going to a professional organization providing air ambulance and search and rescue operations.

Thank you for all your interest and support. (photo above right: unknown island in the Pacific; photo above left: New Zealand straight ahead; photo right: approaching Auklund; photo left: Mike and Warren saying goodbye in New Zealand)

Friday, May 13, 2016: Hilo, Hawaii - Pago Pago, American Samoa
N696CM-Preparing for Departure in HiloToday our journey started at 0700 out of Hilo taking off on runway 08 straight out over the water. We had 9800 feet but the Marquise jumped in the air and we climbed up to initially 18,000 feet based on Mike and Warren selfie half way to Pago Pagotemps being ISA +22. The cruise at 18,000 was only for two hours when we climbed then to 22,000 feet and saw 270 kts TAS initially and then up to 280 kts TAS. During our cruise, San Francisco asked when could we go to 24,000 ft. Warren and I were confused as to why they would ask this until we were requested to call an aircraft on guard frequency, because they had lost communication with that aircraft. Coincidentally the aircraft we were to call was one that Warren used to fly in New Zealand many years ago. We made contact with the Convair to relay their position and found they were at 22,000 feet, on the same airway going in the opposite direction! We vacated their altitude and climbed to 24,000 feet. (photo left: taxiing to runway 08 at PHTO; photo right: Warren and Mike have time for a selfie half-way to Pago Pago :) )

Finally see Pago PagoAfter 8.6 hours we landed in Pago Pago an airport I landed on some 40 years earlier ferrying a Beech Travelair to Australia from California. Despite negative and inaccurate comments by one person on the forum, all our times, fuel burn and weights have worked out just as planned and documented. (photo left: after 2255nm of water...Pago Pago...)

Thursday, May 12, 2016: Santa Maria, California  - Hilo, Hawaii 
N696CM-refueling in HiloThis morning Warren fueled N696CM to the allowed 877 gallons for the 20% over-gross allowance based on the two of us on board and necessary equipment and baggage. The life raft we are carrying is a 4-man with a cover. The Marquise was equipped with a cargo door in preparation for the application in New Zealand. We felt if we had to ditch that we would not get such a large door open in the water, so the emergency exit would be our best plan. Therefore, we had to have the tanks installed low enough in the cabin to be able to handle the emergency exit door and also be able to exit through the door. We achieved this by using lower tanks but further along the cabin.

We took off from Santa Maria at 8:40 am. I was amazed at just how stable the MU-2 was like all the other ferries and basically had around 800 rpm up to 12,000 feet and made it all the way to 20,000 feet. The fuel burn was 610 pph and the TAS was 265 kts. After 4 hours, the IAS increased to 200 so we climbed to 24,000 feet and our fuel burn was 540 pph, TAS quickly climbed to 270 kts. Towards the end of cruise, we had 280 TAS at 24,000 ft., 525 pph fuel burn at ISA +20. After 8.7 hours we landed at Hilo having burnt 5179 lbs of fuel, which gave us a 90-minute reserve at landing. (photo right: refueling in Hilo)

Thursday, May 12, 2016: Santa Maria, California 
Mike in SMX                                                    N696CM fueled and ready to go to Hilo!N696CM Fueled and ready to depart for Hilo gp

Mike Laver and N696CM

Wednesday, May 11, 2016: Merced, California - Santa Maria, California
N696CM In MCE gpToday, Tom Lopes finished the tanking and then there was all of the paperwork that comes with the special permit for the tanking installation and the 20% over-gross approval. Late in the afternoon, everything is signed off and now we are on our way for the required test flight and systems check including a HF radio test. after 1 hour, we returned to MCE for the final signatures.N696CM in Santa Maria CA gp
We departed MCE late in the day for the 1 hour flight to SMX, Santa Maria, California, which was home to N696CM when it was owned by Terry Cunningham. Tomorrow we depart for Hilo, pushing the forecasted 20-30 knot headwind. (photo left: N696CM in Merced, CA; photo right: N696CM in Santa Maria, CA)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016: Merced, California
N696CM Ferry Tank gpWe spent the entire day in MCE at Gateway Aviation installing and plumbing the aircraft for the additional 425 gallons of fuel to make the 2,055nm journey to Hilo in Hawaii. (photo right: A closeup of the cargo door and  ferry tank prior to installation)

Monday. May 9, 2016: Tulsa, Oklahoma - Merced, California
We spent most of the day at intercontinental Jet making some final adjustments prior to heading further west. We finally departed TUL in the afternoon for the long flight to California to have the tanks installed in Merced. On departure from TUL, we climbed initially to 26,000 feet and ultimately to 28,000 feet for a flight time of 5.2 hours due to headwinds. With the additional pod tanks that were installed, that gave us a landing in Merced, CA with 1 hour of fuel remaining

Sunday, May 8, 2016: Aiken, South Carolina - Tulsa, Oklahoma
N696CM-MainFinally Warren Mackay and I are starting our journey to New Zealand in N696CM. The 1985 Marquise, S/N 1569SA is the last one built and has been purchased by Philips Search and Rescue in Hamilton, New Zealand. After the installation of a cargo door at Intercontinental Jet, we brought the Marquise back to Aiken as an extended test flight prior to the Pacific crossing. On departure from AIK we climbed straight to 28,000 feet for a flight time of 3.1 hours due to headwinds; we again had the opportunity to test all of the systems. (photos: right: N696CM then; below left: N696CM Now-equipped and ready for air ambulance missions)
Leaving Aiken