May 2013 Issue

Long Trips On Short Legs

Even simple, short-legged airplanes can be used to travel long distances. All you need is patience, time and a realistic approach to flight planning.

For most of us tooling around the airstrip and to the occasional pancake breakfast, the size of our fuel tanks doesn’t matter. But when you’re planning a longer flight, your aircraft’s range becomes a consideration. Put another way, if you want to travel more than 500 nm, tank-size matters, and not all of us are endowed with long-range tanks. It may be your tanks are too small, or your passengers are too big. You may want to bring along too much gear for use at your destination, or you’re carrying too many gadgets to use while airborne. Of course, your fuel burn rate may be too high, or perhaps your airspeed and headwinds make your groundspeed too slow.

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