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Coast to Coast Trip in a J-3


Active Member
Sep 25, 2012
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Hi all J-3 Cub folks,

I am about to become the owner of a ’46 J-3 C-65 Cub which I am going to inspect before making the final payment at
the end of this week. (Been working on the deal for about 3 weeks, it was on Barnstormers for $25K, if interested I can
bore you with the details). I would like to get some input on flying the northern route from NY to OR.

The cub is currently based on Long Island, New York at Montauk (MTP) and the plan is to fly it back across the northern
US to the Portland Oregon area where I am located. The route will skirt the controlled airspaces landing and staying at small airports with fuel and lodging close by. I will try to fly 2-3 hour legs so I don’t get too cramped up (I’m 6’4”) the Cub has dual 12 gallon wing tanks as well as a header tank.

It also has a wind generator charging a battery for a radio, GPS and nav/strobe lights. I will have my iPhone, iPad w/ Wing X
and a Sporty’s SP-400 Radio for backup along as well. I am taking a solar charger to charge battery operated electronic devices if something doesn't work out.

The route will start crossing the water from Montauk to Connecticut to stay clear of the Class B New York airspace, pass
into Pennsylvania (stop at Lockhaven for a picture)then head down around the Great Lakes stop by Constantine Michigan
to meet a customer, and then up into Wisconsin to the Wanaukee area to meet a business associate. (Hey I can now write off my fuel and lodging expenses!) Was thinking about checking in at the Cub Air place and doing a few spin training flights if time permits. Then on to the Dakotas/Montana through the Rockies and down the Columbia River Gorge (passing home) to the coast, and finally back home.

Got advice to fly 500' AGL to get the real "bird" experience, (one guy told me he did 1/2 the US@ 50' AGL yes fifty!) so 500' would be the plan, (taking safety into account over mountains, water, etc.). I was thinking lower altitude would keep me out of the stronger westerlies, any input on this?

I had not thought of this, but Merideth & Dana flew their J-3 about the US this summer and flew the Hudson to take in
NYC and up the Lake Michigan shore to see Chicago. I do remember something in the FAR about NORDO aircraft and the Mode C veil but have never done it, any advice here would be appreciated as well. I may change the route a little to take in
these sights if it seems feasible.

Thought about checking out Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands before heading back up to Montana for the Rocky Mtn. crossing.
Maybe I should stay clear of the “Bad Lands” for just that reason…….

I’ve been told the best route through the Rockies is Mullan/Lookout Pass following I-90 from Bozeman, MT to Coeur d'Alene, ID.
Have any of you out there done this route at this time of the year and have any advice on what to do or not to do with that route?

Here is what I have so far.

Stay in Bozeman area any suggestions Livingston Mission Field?
Get up at the crack of dawn
Fly over the road (I-90)
Through Bozeman Pass
On to Mullan/Lookout Pass
Be through the pass before noon

Of course all this is winds & WX permitting which I will check the following way. Flight Briefing.

Mission ASOS and Bozeman Pass weather cam with weather station info that looks pretty good.

Mullan ASOS, and weather cam at the Lookout Pass at 4,450’ elevation

Going Solo, taking along a SPOT, tent, sleeping bag, normal survival gear, and personal items in a backpack which
I intend to strap onto either the back or front seat depending on how cramped up I am feeling. I normally like flying from
the front for visibility purposes although I know the rear has better room.

I am figuring this trip will take 7-14 days depending on how the winds and weather end up. Flight planning says
it will be aroundt 40 hours of flying time at 73 mph (does not factor in the Westerly Winds).

Sorry for such a long post, but wanted to get all the known details out so as not to waste your time asking essential
details for viewpoints and suggestions.

Thanks for your comments in advance.

Oregon Cub

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