AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 82

CROSS-COUNTRY CHALLENGES

BOTTOM TWO: COURTESY AIRMAIL 100

Each day of the four-day reenactment saw
four legs of flight, a different pilot and different aircraft waiting at each stop. But, of
course, like the flights 100 years ago, there
would be weather, mechanical issues, and
drama. Organizer Moore kept a running
account of the activities and flights, daily
sending out emails and posting on Facebook.
"Maybe the most engaging leg was the
one flown in a Rans S-7 homebuilt," said
Moore. "Its performance most closely
matched that of the old de Havilland DH-4s,
while flying over one of the most dangerous
stretches of terrain airmail pilots had to deal
with in 1920. It killed more than its share
of fliers. I was relieved when pilot Gene
Salvatore landed, mission accomplished."
Salvatore flew the first day's second leg VFR
over the Allegheny Mountains.
On day three, the volunteer pilots faced
challenges in the form of freak snow squalls
over the Rocky Mountains. First, none of the
original pilots were IFR qualified, so David
Ott stepped up to make the flight from
Omaha to North Platte, but his Bonanza was
in maintenance for an unknown issue. He
borrowed a local flying club's Cessna 172 to

82 | AOPA PILOT December 2020

fly to North Platte, Nebraska. Then the bad
weather loomed but contingency plans to
have a local volunteer drive the mail bag did
not have to be employed.
"The next challenge was how to get the
mail bag from North Platte to Cheyenne,"
wrote Moore in an update. "And this morning JT Grainger came to the rescue. He
called from Sheridan, Wyoming, where
the sky was clear as a bell, to offer his help.
I asked if he'd be willing to fly to North
Platte on Thursday morning to retrieve the
mail at Tregor-Dugan Aviation, the FBO on
Lee Bird Field, and fly it to Cheyenne. He
agreed. Relieved that Blanche Cohen didn't
have to drive from Colorado to pick up the
bag and drive it to Cheyenne."
Then, wrote Moore, Mike Coster, flying
his incredibly fast Van's RV-8, tore across
the rugged dry wastes of northern Nevada
at speeds of better than 200 mph, twice
what the 1920s DH-4 could fly. "As I write
he's at 9,000 feet doing 206 mph over the
ground. Now 208. When he lands, day 3 will
have covered [per a] U.S. post office estimate in 1921, some 1,028 miles from North
Platte to Reno-give or take a dozen miles
or so, since we're headed to Carson City."  

On day 4, pilot John Sawatzky, in his
Cessna 182 with co-pilot Stephen Tucker,
flew the final leg through the smoke from
the wildfires in California.
"Coastal fog and smoke from wildfires
prevented Steve Isaac from getting off the
ground at his home base this morning to
fly the Sacramento leg, so Sawatzsky and
Tucker are doing what U.S. Air Mail pilot
Monte Mouton did 100 years ago today: flying nonstop to the Bay Area. Right now, their
ETA shows 10:20 local time," wrote Moore.
The last landing that day was at Concord,
California's Buchanan Field and then the
mail was driven to San Francisco, delivered
to the postmaster, much the same time as
100 years ago (see "The Route," right).
"Between COVID-19, the sudden economic contraction, and now unprecedented
wildfires causing apocalyptic gloom over
the Bay Area, I am amazed and yet heartened that we've actually gotten this purely
voluntary project this far," said Moore. "It
shows you what we can do when we put our
minds and our hearts together on a project
that we feel is worthwhile."
AOPA
EMAIL julie.walker@aopa.org



AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 30
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 32
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 34
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 36
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 44
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 50
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 53
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 56
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 58
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 64
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 72
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 76
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 79
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 81
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover4
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