Hilo To Redmond 2416nm
18th July 1998 after a rest day in Hilo where we attempted to top up our oxygen bottle without success.
We were airborne at 0600 just as the sun was rising above the horizon. During the climb, all 6 cylinder head temperatures went full scale red. This was our first serviceability issue and after trouble shooting, assessed that it was an instrument error. It cost us a little time, not wanting to go to far over water with a potential engine problem. We started at FL210 with a 15 knot headwind but clear skies. Approaching over head San Francisco we picked up a tailwind the rest of the flight to the Lancair factory at Redmond. The record from Hilo to SFO was 258 knots and we did not file for a Hilo to Redmond record. Flying time today was 9 hours 15 minutes and the welcome by the staff at Lancair was outstanding!
Next day we found that the engine analyzer had an electrical spike which was caused by the Alternator. The Lancair factory organised replacements as they were under warranty. We then took out the ferry tank, disconnected the HF aerial and put the back seats in. Over the next few days we carried out an oil change, topped up the oxygen bottle that had lasted us 26 hours! We also were helped by Steve Lorentzen who fitted an oil cooler surround and door in order to run nearer 180 degrees Celsius at high flight levels. We were also given a set of fine wire spark plugs and told by the founder (Lance Neibauer) that he would pay for all future records. As we were paying for this circumnavigation ourselves, it was a generous gesture we readily accepted.
We flew to Salem in formation with the company pressurised aircraft and found out that LKG was 12 knots faster. The attention to drag reduction had paid off and an empty weight of only 1956 pounds certainly assisted with the many times we took off at 3650 pounds.
As a foot note, Bill Harrelson has been flying his normally aspirated Lancair IV up to 4800 pounds. He mounted his engine further forward and must hand fly the first five hours by hand as the autopilot cannot handle the aft c of g. A true measure of the efficiency of this design and a great effort by Bill to build this aircraft and set so many records. His Lancair IV is so heavy on take off, he is in the C-1D category.