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The journey begins: CA, NV, AZ


My long journey began today, after 8 days of preparing the aircraft, without any ceremony. To be honest, I was in a hurry. It was already 2 PM, sunset only 3 hours away and a storm approaching rapidly from the west. The storm threatened to keep all VFR traffic on the ground for several days, so I left without saying properly good-by to Natalie and Mike, were I had stayed the last 9 days. Randy gave me some final paper work and I left Red Bluff southbound.

I had to fly low, the cloud base was initially at 1100 feet. I observed several fires.

South of corning, there are many rice fields.

The white dots in the picture above are birds. Hundreds of birds.

My new instrument works fine. Here it simulates a classical gyro compass.

And here it is an artificial horizon.

It can also show a map. But only a US map is loaded. This wont be a big help in Central and South America.

I flew via Willows to Lincoln, just north of Sacramento. Two short 45 minute flights. Hopefully far enough south, to avoid the bad weather in the north.

Gated community in Lincoln.


I left my hotel at 9:30. No reason to hurry, the weather was supposed to become better. "Transient Parking" are parking spots reserved for flying travellers like me.

Sometimes I was able to fly above the clouds.

And sometimes, I had to stay below them.

Gradaually, the weather became better.

East of the Sierra Nevada, the land becomes dry and clouds become rare.

Las Vegas, still 50 miles away.

My new white LED landing light in action while approaching North Las Vegas airport.


I didn't fly today, but worked on the plane, as planned. First I put the wheel shoes on. They had never been on, since I purchased the plane more than 2 years ago. In fact, they never left Las Vegas since and are the reason, why I am here today. Jeff' daughter Jo opened her deceased father's hangar were they had been stored in the last 9 months. They fit nicely.

I was allowed to work under the shade where Jon had parked his Baron, before he sold it. Jon was the previous owner of N5581M. He came, to have one last look, before it flies away.

Then I removed the remains of the red stripes on the aft fuselage. I started this work at Randy's airport, using his paint stripper. But we ran out of it and purchased new one in Red Bluff, continuing the work there. Here in Las Vegas I continued with 1000 grit sandpaper. It turned out, for paint remains, 1000 grit is too fine, but for polishing aluminium, it is too coarse.

After an hour, I switched to Nuvite F7 polishing paste. It is recommended to use a wool pad on a drill, but I didn't have a drill and polished with my hands until my fingers bled. After another hour, I switched to Nuvite S polish finisher.

Not perfect, but good enough. The other parts of the aircraft are not perfect too. And I didn't polish to win a beauty contest, I only wanted to clear the ground for the big numbers:

I ordered them 3 weeks ago and they arrived too late to put them on in California. Besides, it was too cold in Red Bluff, the instructions say, it has to be 55 F or above. Here in Vegas we had 65 today. But it was windy, with gusts up to 25 knots. Finally, at sunset, the wind died and I could put them on:

Isn't she a beauty? Yes, I know, they are black, not red as the stripes and they are alligned with the fuselage rivets, not with the stripes. Maybe I get rid of the red stripes one day. Or I peel off the numbers, if I register it LV in Argentina? Why did I put these 12 inch large registration marks on? They are required for international flights. The 3 inch registration marks on the tail are only good for flights within the USA. Which I plan to leave in a few days.


North Las Vegas was busy this Tuesday morning. I was number 5 for take off. Las Vegas Departure allowed me into airspace Bravo, directly overflying Nellis Air Force Base.

Lake Mead, border between Nevada and Arizona

I nearly turned left, to once again see the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona and all the other places, I loved in the 1990s, but I knew that it would cost me a day and my goal is flying south, not wandering around

Always surprising, the large copper mines in Arizona. This one is called Bagdad.

After 2.5 hours, I landed in Wickenburg. A nice little old stagecoach town, but I just refueled here and ate my sandwich. The old telephone has been removed. Pilots needed it, to call Flight Service for weather briefings or to close a flight plan. Nowadays, everybody in the US uses Foreflight on the iPhone. There is little infrastructure left for pilots without mobile data plan.

Buckeye, the airport of my first solo at March 23rd, 1990. Nearly 30 years ago. Back then, the airport was surrounded by desert. Now there are fields.

Looking east, Phoenix can be seen in the distance. Today, more than 5 million people live in the metropolitan area. For decades, Phoenix has been the second fastest growing city in the US. (With Las Vegas being #1) In 1990, all this was desert.

Rainbow valley, with the Estrella mountains in the background. The southern part of Rainbow valley is still desert, but the northern part below I-10 are fields now.

Mobile airport. It used to be "Private-Lufthansa", now the letters on the ground read "Private-LAT" (Lufthansa Aviation Training) The only airport I know, which is only accessible by air. Only used for training purposes.

I flew steady south-south-east. West of Casa Grande, Marana, Ryan, Tucson, which I all know from 1990, directly to Nogales, where I never landed. Beautiful landscape just north of Nogales

Clear, fresh, air! After two 2.5 hour flights today, I was exhausted. Apparently, the spray can I used for window cleaning was leaking in the aircraft. I had a headache and decided to walk to my hotel, to get more fresh air. But I made a mistake with the booking and ended up at a beautiful place, which wasn't expecting me. Friendly people invited me to dinner and allowed me to stay.

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