Friday, January 21, 2011


Because. Mangareva below
Flying a single engine plane over five continents to the place where you just are is difficult to understand.

- Around the world is the ultimate destination
- Solo around the world is ultimate flying

Burning tons of avgas is immature and I did it for no higher reasons. It might have helped to save or cure the planet or somebody. It was excellent for global economy. It would have been so nice to fly for charity (orphans, diseases, or both). Almost as nice as selling the plane and donating the money.

HF-Radio/ Satphone

HF is mandatory in many remote places. Only few HF-radios for GA are available, such as King KHF950, at high costs for purchase and installation. Had an external antenna installed and took the portable Vertex 1210 (Motorola) with internal antenna tuner, programmed with all aviation frequencies in advance. Four weeks before departure the radio failed and Motorola was not able to fix it or provide a new unit for months. They fixed it, but the unit came back without the antenna tuner. Finally it was expressed without a dangerous goods declaration (required for the Lithium powerpack) and I missed it in Brisbane.

Vertex 1210 HF-radio
Bought a portable Clansman PRC-320, but lost the antenna tuner over the Atlantic. The entire flight was made with a Satphone only. Filed HF in the flightplan and confirmed “equipped with HF” whenever asked, but had the phonenumbers ready. It worked, only twice there was another plane that could relay my position report. Here are the phonenumbers (current 12-2010) that worked: Brisbane: +61738663314, Colombo: +94112611572, Jakarta: +62215506188, Melbourne: +61392357492, Mumbay: +912226828222, Nadi: +6796731801, Rarotonga: +68225896, Recife Atlantic: +558121298330, Santiago Oceanico: +5622904705, Mataveri Tower: +563222100248, Tahiti: +689861155

West Sahara

North Atlantic (NAT) 2872  2899  2962  2971  3016  3476  4675  5598  5616  5649  6622  6628  8825  8831 8864  8879  8891  8906  11279  11309  11336  13291  13306  17946  Caribbean
Southwest Pacific
(CAR) 2887  3455  5520  5550  6577  6586  8846  8918  11387  11396  13297  17907 South Atlantic (SAT) 2854  2935  3452  5565  6535  8861  11291  13315  13357  17955  South America (SAM) 2944  3479  4669  5526  6649  8855  10024  10096  11360  13297  17907 Europe (EUR) 3479  5661  6598  10084  13288  17961 Middle East (MID) 2944  2992  3467  3473  4669  5658  5667  6625  6631  8918  8951  10018  11375  13288  13312  17961 Africa (AFI) 2851  2878  3419  3425  3467  4657  5493  5652  5658  6559  6574  6673  8894  8903 11300  11330  13273  13288  13294  17961 Indian Ocean (INO) 3476  5634  8879  13306  17961 North Central Asia (NCA) 3004  3019  4678  5646  5664  6592  10096  13303  13315  17958 East Asia (EA) 3016  3485  3491  5655  5670  6571  8897  10042  11396  13297  13303  13309  17907 Southeast Asia (SEA) 3470  3485  5649  5655  6556  8942  10066  11936  13309  13318  17907 Central West Pacific (CWP) 2998  3455  4666  5652  5661  6532  6562  8903  10081  11384  13300  17904 Central East Pacific (CEP) 2869  3413  4657  5547  5574  6673  8843  10057  11282  13300  17904 North Pacific (NP) 2932  5628  6655  6661  10048  11330  13300  17904 South Pacific (SP) 3467  5559  5643  8867  10084  11327  13300  17904  


Aircraft and Equipment

Cessna P210N, 1978. 2900hrs. TT, Continental  TSIO520P, 250hrsTT. Vortex generators, radar-equipped, de-iced, IFR avionics, HF-radio Vertex 1210. Turtlepack 600 liters cabin ferry tank, custom made fuel transfer system into right wing with redundant pumps, additional fuel transfer from separate jerry cans. 1050 litres maximum FOB. Engine oil transfer from cabin with electric pump. Standby alternator. Maintained by Aerodata 
Cockpit view

CPL-IFR, CRI, aerobatic. Life Raft, Life Vests, Parachute, Oxygen 22CuFT, Immersion Suit, PLB, Iridium Motorola 9555, Smoke hood, Katadyn water desalinator, Marine VHF transceiver, tools and parts, spare nose and main landing gear tires and more.
Home for Christmas!

Light Aircraft


Mandatory in LEZL (for flights outbound the EU), GOOY, SCIP, NTGJ/NTAA, VCBI, OOMS, LCPH (for flights inbound the EU) In other places handling was not mandatory, but difficult: SBRF, SCEL, NFFN, YBBN. Most difficult was the permit to fly from Chile to Easter Island. Took months and would have not been possible without Juan Edmunds. DGAC asked for aircraft performance data, did insist on confirmation that the aircraft will not be operated above MTOW, resulting in a mandatory fuel stop in Robinson Crusoe Island where there is no fuel. Wanted calculation of point of no return and point of last diversion months in advance. Winds aloft for the DOF were not available at this stage. Add an average of two hours for paperwork before takeoff and after landing for international flights.

Traffic 800NM ahead
Air condition ON

Approaching Totegegie
Singapore Seletar Airport


All right


Avgas on Rapa Nui

Leaking fuel pump


Route, Overflight and Landing Permits

Port Hedland
Westbound routing allows for long legs in daylight but goes with stronger headwinds. Long range equipment helps to avoid unpleasant countries and/or places without avgas (organising sufficient avgas in advance was very difficult, takes 6 months or more). Finding avgas is one thing, getting it into the fuel tanks another problem. Needed a hand driven fuel pump on four occasions.

There are only few options to cross the oceans in a single piston airplane during the winter of the northern hemisphere. Fully loaded, the P210 had 15hrs. of endurance in FL160 at 170knts, burning 65liters/hour @72%. The overall average groundspeed was 152knts resulting from winds aloft and time to climb fully loaded in high temperatures. Sometimes it may have been a few pounds more than 1814kg MTOW. Flight route calculator on, were helpful for the initial planning.
Some countries are easy, some can be very difficult. It takes a lot of time and patience to arrange all permits by oneself. Based on previous experience (ferried the plane from South Africa in 2003) and quotes, FSI had the best package. The aircraft performance data were added in their system. They provided permits, flight plans, flight logs, and weather briefing on This was excellent and reduced my workload on the ground. Better some time to explore than getting up in the middle of the night to chase CAA officials or debate route changes.

Atlantic Ocean, lonely planet


41 days, 25298NM

Sevilla LEZL

FL260 abeam UMKAL

Frankfurt Egelsbach - Sevilla (EDFE-LEZL) 8:49, 1089NM 14.11
Robinson Crusoe Island  SCIR
Sevilla - Dakar (LEZL-GOOY) 9:36 1567NM 15.11.
Dakar - Recife (GOOY-SBRF) 10:24 1746NM 16.11.
Recife - Rio de Jeneiro (SBRF-SBRJ) 7:15 1096NM 18.11.
Rio de Jeneiro - Foz de Iguasu (SBRJ-SBFI) 4:47 668NM 20.11.
Foz de Iguasu - Punta del Este (SBFI-SULS) 3:45 578NM 21.11.
Punta del Este - Santiago de Chile (SULS-SCEL) 6:13 872NM 26.11.
Santiago de Chile - Valparaiso (SCEL-SCRD) 0:35 65NM 26.11.
Valparaiso - Robinson Crusoe Island (SCRD-SCIR) 2:44 393NM 29.11.
Robinson Crusoe Island - Easter Island (SCIR-SCIP) 9:57 1623NM 30.11.
Easter Island - Gambier Island/Totegegie (SCIP-NTGJ) 8:12 1413NM 2.12.
Totegegie - Tahiti (NTGJ-NTAA) 5:15 923NM 4.12.
Robinson Crusoe Island
Tahiti - Cook Island (NTAA-NCRG) 3:50 639NM 7.12.
Cook Island - Nadi/Fiji (NCRG-NFFN) 8:46 1336NM 9.12.
Nadi/Fiji-  Brisbane (NFFN-YBBN) 9:37 1496NM 11.12.
Brisbane - Alice Springs (YBBN-YBAS) 7:51, 1120NM 15.12.
Alice Springs - Port Hedland (YBAS-YPPD) 5:42 887NM 16.12.
Port Hedland - Singapore (YPPD-WSSL) 11:02 1635NM 18.12.
Singapore - Colombo (WSSL-VCBI) 9:47 1516NM 20.12.
Colombo - Muscat (VCBI-OOMS) 10:36 1646NM 21.12.
Muscat - Paphos (OOMS-LCPH) 11:13 1546NM 23.12.
Paphos - Frankfurt (LCPH-EDFE) 9:50 1437NM 25.12. 
Paphos LCPH
 Cook Island  NCRG
Alice Springs at night


Maintenance and Technical Problems

50hrs inspection in SULS
Did 50hrs and 100hrs. inspections by myself (authorised), had all tools and spares on board. Lost vacuum driven HSI on departure in Totegegie and with it the autopilot. Tried but could not fix the bearings in Tahiti. One similar HSI was  removed from the P210 of a fellow pilot in Germany and expressed to Brisbane where I changed the units. It was difficult to work behind the instrument panel of the P210 and on it's old vacuum hoses in tropical temperatures. 28 hours of flying over pacific waters mostly in IMC without autopilot were more than enough.  
HSI change

Lost right magneto (Slick, not Bendix) on runup in Colombo. Was able to fix and retime it on the apron. Tower wanted incident report. Told them that I would clean the spark plugs and saved us several days of paperwork. Removed cowling before and after each flight for inspection of powerplant and systems. Noticed flipped alternator belt in Paphos, known rare problem on 520s. Christmas gift for the plane was a new belt. Deice-pump failed during the last flight while over Macedonia, one hour later the prop deicing was gone. Climbed higher where it was too cold for icing. There, the vacuum driven AI and with it the autopilot failed again. It was -35°C and moderate IMC. High speed landing on snow without flaps in EDFE. Awful flight. 

Alternator belt
After completion of the RTW flight major inspection and maintenance were done. Right brake hose leaked and the cabin door lever broke. Oil analysis was normal, but 10 hours later the engine began losing power gradually. Take-off distances and rate of climb increased slightly. This was more than summer temperatures or engine age could explain. Flew the plane back to Aerodata, leak tests and boroscopic inspection of all cylinders were normal. Decided to change oil and found metal contamination originating from the lifter of exhaust valve of cylinder #5 (front right in a Continental). The power plant had to be rebuild by RAM. This took 3 months. Each oil analysis after RAM's repair remained critical, showing advanced warnings! This RAM power plant never made it to full airworthiness again because of metal contamination from the oil cooler. Why an overhauled oil cooler was used and not a new one - I will never understand. 

Finally, the engine was changed. The factory new TCM TSIO520 performs without problems and all oil samples are in the green. RAM, based in Waco, and their European dealer ATEC, remain a very interesting team. I would fly around the world with their products again at anytime. Probably in a 310.

Lifter and cam of cylinder #5
Aviation has something in common with evolution or life of a soldier. Long, uneventful, boring periods are interrupted by short moments of  extreme horror.

I was very lucky.

Helpful Information for Earthrounders

Europe’s winter and terrains were hostile as usual. Tops of tropical thunderstorms were too high for the P210, stormscope, weather radar, and extra fuel helped to fly around. Considered an inoperative weather radar as a “no-go” in tropical regions without alternate airports in range. Strongest headwinds occurred between OOMS and EDFE.  FL260 was required to cross the Andes, where headwinds of 100knts and more did blow, must be very difficult in IMC. Longest leg was the Atlantic crossing, as Cape Verde had no avgas. Longest flight was Muscat to Paphos due to headwinds. Controllers at international airports were not used to GA and asked for shock-cooling descents at 1500ft/min or more. Some friendly words in advance helped, but 360s to reduce altitude were common.  A pilot shirt will make officials believe that you are a real pilot until they find out what you have been doing.  

Fully loaded (1814kg and some liters of avgas) at 10°C above ISA takeoff run was 22sec and well below 800m with 20°flaps, 36”MP, 2700RPM, 185PPH. All turns ½ standard rate, reduced power only when gear and flaps were retracted above 110KIAS. Retracting the flaps to 10° below 90KIAS resulted in “autoland”. Vortex generators kept the stall warning horn quiet on most occasions. Low power settings for a cruise climb do not work. The plane drags and temperatures rise. 31”MP, 2550RPM, 125PPH at 110KIAS and open cowl flaps keep the CHT around 400°F (no intercooler) even at 25°C above ISA.  On long legs some 250kg of fuel needed to be burned for best performance. Best levels with headwinds were FL120, with tailwinds FL180.

Isolated CB, stay away

Common afternoon display
Automotive fuel may be necessary to stretch range, but it is not legal. If I had to do it, I would dilute avgas with a maximum of 30% high octane automotive, but never use this for takeoff or landing/ go around. It causes vapor lock during climb in high temperatures. This is cured by switching the auxiliary fuel pump on "low" and blood pressure on "high".  Automotive fuel contains particles that can clog the aircraft fuel filter in flight. When filling jerry cans use something like and before fuel transfer something like or assure you can clean them in flight.

Some buildups were visible in daylight
only, but not on radar or stormscope 
Operation on one magneto will decrease airspeed by 8%. Fuel consumption increases by 5% to keep EGT and CHT in the green. Only an engine monitor will provide vital information. Practiced emergencies before my RTW, was even ready for very low level flight in ground effect over smooth water to reach land. Whenever near a suitable emergency landing site, an island, or a vessel, I took a picture of it and it’s GPS coordinates. Decision making is difficult, but easier if you:
- fly solo
- have no obligations (hotel, interview, confetti parade)
- try not to set a record
- have a cool engine, a cool plane, and help from above