Three Miles in Smoke and Haze


The top of that mountain is just about three miles from the front of my hangar–and this iPhone picture is making the visibility look better than it appears to the naked eye. Such is how we’ll start out our Oshkosh trip if the smoke persists until morning. There’s a big wildfire over the Sierra near Yosemite, and the smoke is settling over on the Nevada side. No winds, so it just chokes the valleys.

It was worse early this morning, but luckily, we’re in a spot out in the middle of nowhere with VFR rules “One mile and clear of clouds.” Here’s hoping it is at least that good for departure tomorrow. One pilot left our airpark this morning headed east and reported smoke well into Utah!

Flying fifteen hundred miles across this vast country, over the Rockies and over the plains, I expect to deal with weather in July–and truthfully, I guess that smoke and haze is better than thunderstorms–but I expect we’ll dodge a few of those as well.

Wherever you’re coming from, if you’re on the way to the Big Show, be smart, leave yourself an out, and remember–AirVenture lasts a whole week, so if you’re a day late, you’ll just miss out on one night of carousing.  Fly smart!

I’ll write you from Oshkosh next

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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