GOOD MORNING, AMERICA! -- Bringing our new Quicksilver SLSA home
Our Team, Capt Ray, Sher, and Ryan, had a great excursion flying our beautiful new 'little' plane home. It’s a Quicksilver SLSA, (light sport plane) and the 3rd one built out of production; #003. We flew from Temecula (East of LA, Southern CA) all the way back (447.8 miles) to Cloverdale, Northern California.
How did it all start?
The beginning: It began when Will Escutia, one of the Quicksilver Company owners, informed Capt Ray that the plane was ready to be delivered up to Santa Rosa. Ray and Sher, his beloved wife, and their ‘adopted son, Ryan, discussed it, and we all decided we wanted to fly it home as a team!! Ray let Will know, and although surprised, Will had to agree that it would save us the delivery money. At that moment, Ray realized that he had made a commitment to begin an Adventure to share forever! This also reminded him that the longest he had flown a ‘Quicksilver’ was from Lodi, CA to Castel Air Force Base in 1996…. About 80 miles one way, with one stop in Oakdale, CA for fuel. The thought of 455 miles from Temecula to Cloverdale seemed a daunting task!
So where to begin? Well…. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…..
This was going to be FUN!
During the six weeks waiting for our new plane to be assembled, tested, and signed off by the FAA, we formulated a plan to bring home our new prize. The Crew: Pilot, “Co-Pilots” and Chase Car driver (Ray, Sher and Ryan). Then The LIST! The equipment: gas cans, gas, tools, communications, cameras, and maps. Well informed advice from EAA friends Doug Dugger and Steve Smith, who had both flown the High Desert of Southern California; this List was extremely valuable.
The Crew: Sher, who not only said yes to the trip, but “you better plan on me flying too!” This meant we needed a third person for the chase car. Enter Adopted son Ryan, who sez “I’ll go, but can I fly too??” So we worked out a rotation whereby Sher & Ryan would trade places in the plane and the chase car. Ray had to admit he loved the company!
Nov 25th @ 0400 began the road trip to Temecula to miss early morning the Bay Area traffic, as well as to arrive in the LA area by noon to avoid the LA Traffic. This planning was workin’. We arrived in Temecula early enough to visit Ramon Vera at the French Valley Airport just as he finished detailing our new N14QK for the test flights the next day.
Sher and Ray numbered their first Quicksilver MXL II “N92QK”, which was first built in 1992, so the new bird is “N14QK”, built in 2014. Ramon has been building Quicks with his Dad for years, and he is very competent and knowledgeable! He is also a caring and a genuine good guy whom we trusted and spent a lot of time just talkin’ oil!
Ray, Sher and Ryan laid over at the Embassy Suites for the night, which included hot showers, good food and adult beverages. Tomorrow would be a combination of fun and work.
The 26th: came early. Ryan and Ray fitted our Lynx coms aboard along with the Icom A6 and Garmin 196GPS. We also fitted a Richie compass and a couple of Go Pros, we had to take as many pictures as we could for this trip of a lifetime. That GPS would become a blessing and a curse…. But that’s another story. Sher labored for hours inputting GPS info into the Jeep.
The First Flight for the Quivksliver SLSA: Will graciously provided us Torry Ward, a 9000 hour pilot & owner of the Quicksilver SLSA #002, for consultation and assistance, and if necessary, to take the first flight. A great guy, but I wanted to inaugurate this bird on my own! With that, a couple trips around the pattern showed that the plane flew like a… Quick!! Sound, predictable, intuitive and solid! AND WE LOVED IT!!
Lots of hand shaken’ followed that first flight, and after that, about 40 minutes more exploring the flight envelope near the airport & Skinner Lake.
The Flight Home: Took the team 3 days, going from ‘little airport’ to other ‘little airports’ along the way, 3 to 4 a day. The team was two in the plane, and one in the jeep (chase crew of one) driving along with fuel for the plane. Each time we stopped, the fuel was loaded, the passenger on the plane changed places with the person driving the jeep, and off we went again. The highest we flew was 6,500 feet over the mountains (near the Cajon Pass) and was a little cold, as there are no walls in the plane! BUT, in our planning, we made sure to cover ourselves up with layers of clothes, and gloves, etc. so it was all good! AND we slept really good every night along the way.... flying can tire you out... but is a whole bunch of fun!!
Here is a list of our stops along the route;
F70 French Valley - overfly KHMT Hemet-Ryan - KREI Redlands - CL 13 Brians Ranch-L00 - Rosamond Skypark - KTSP Tehachapi – L45 Bakersfield
L45 Bakersfield – L84 Lost Hills-Kern County – C80 New Coalinga – KLSN Los Banos – overfly CA93 Crows Landing – C83 Byron
C83- Byron – O69 Petaluma – O60 Cloverdale
We have many stories regarding each landing and lay overs but as this is getting pretty lengthy, suffice to say, this was a really fun adventure and we will post more.
Our beautiful N14QK Bird is now tucked away in our Hangar 10, in Cloverdale, California! But not before she flew us all the way home, even through the mist and a little rain, as well as sunshine and blue sky! She now has 15 hours on her…. and What a beautiful site she is!!
Watch this site for more photos of our new Quicksilver as well as other information that Shipway Aviation has to offer. You can even read more exciting and fun things that happened along the way from our wonderful short, albeit, long, trip bringing our new bird home.
Thank you, Capt Ray, Sher & Ryan “The TEAM”