64 Chevy C10 Pickup 64 Chevy C10 Pickup Bud, Jack & Ted's Alaska Adventure
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Stormy weather lives on
While planning for the next day's trip, we discussed the fuel situation and discovered that the original weight & balance includes 30 pounds under "empty weight", since this is the amount of unusable fuel for this model 172. (42 gallons total, 21 on each side with 2.5 gallons unusable in each tank). A later weight & balance sheet made up after adding some radios however, had "re-added" this 30 pounds as a separate category even though it was included in the "empty weight". This was good news, since this recalculation would allow us to top off the tanks when re-fueling. When we found out that Westjet had put in 36 gallons, we decided that tomorrow we would run one tank dry to prove what the numbers really were, since these were not adding up very well. Total flying time from Wichita to Rapid City is 7.3 hours.

Next morning in Rapid City SD (our first overnight)
The breakfast buffet the next morning was very good and we filled up knowing it might be a while till lunch. A review of the possible routes the night before using the GPS had helped us decide to head for Calgary for the second night. And yes, being this close to Mt. Rushmore, we felt it deserved a look. After lifting off and turning southwest to the park, Jack switched to the right tank in accordance with the plan to fly until it was empty.

Yes, that's Mount Rushmore
(not so imposing from 7700 ft)
Mt. Rushmore is much more impressive from the ground, since the requested altitude is 7700 feet, and after a couple of turns for photos, we turned back on our course to the northwest. The first leg was to Harding, then Baker, Dawson & Glasgow, Montana for lunch (346 miles total). A name on the map Belle Fourche (Foosh) seemed vaguely familiar, (was this from the Lonesome Dove movie)? We used the GPS to determine when we were crossing state lines and got to do that on the 104 degree longitude across the southwest corner of North Dakota and then into Montana. It was interesting to note that right next to Baker, Montana is a small town of Plevna (and I thought that only Kansas had a Plevna). The next major checkpoint was Dawson VOR (near Glendive) and at 60 miles approximately another 40 minutes. The winds aloft had pretty consistently been out of the northwest, (typically a headwind) and our groundspeed varied from 90-120.

Crossing into Montana
Passing over Dawson at 12:30 and turning more westerly to Glasgow, we began to think of the right tank fuel since we had been flying on it about 2 and one-half hours. (We started the engine that morning at 9:45, took off at 9:55, and switched to the right tank at 10:04) Sure enough, a few minutes later, the engine skipped a few beats and we switched to the left tank marking the time at 2 hours & 40 minutes. Another hour to Glasgow and we planned to stop there for lunch. Coming into Glasgow from the southeast, Fort Peck Lake is visible from quite a ways out and provides a good visual reference. The airport itself is quite large even though the traffic when we were there appeared to be very light. Knowing that this would be a straight-in approach, we kept the fuel selector on the left to avoid any feed across back into the empty right tank. As we taxied up to the fuel pump and shut down, the line attendant was there and prepared to top off the tanks. After he observed that our fuel selector was on the left tank, we joked that we had a bet going as to what amount of fuel he would put in the right tank. He replied quite confidently that he had been doing this long enough to know that the number would be 18.5 gallons, however the tank did not fill until indicating 19.7 gallons. These numbers were in keeping with what we thought about the first day's flight and our total fuel burn for that morning had been 29.9 or 8.3 gallons/hour. This information would prove to be useful later when the tachometer began to act silly.
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Ancil T. (TED) Davis
Last Update 05/02/97