Oshkosh To Bangor 848nm
4th August 1998. The last day of the Oshkosh Convention started with continuous rain which became heavier as the day progressed.
We fitted a new cargo restraint net to avoid the expanding ferry tank pushing us forward so this sector, we half filled the bladder tank to confirm the system worked. It did work and it was an improvement safety wise, especially if we had to urgently stop.
We obtained our IFR briefing which confirmed the tops of the cloud were above FL350 and the freezing level was FL140. We planned at FL130 and noted the first 90 minutes were not going to be pleasant. We obtained our airways clearance and then were told of extensive delays for start clearance. We waited in the aircraft for more than an hour with Reg Darwell (Qantas 747-400 Captain) and staff from Lancair waiting for the start approval. When it came , all hands were required to drag the Lancair out of the mud on to the hard stand of the taxiway. Mud was removed from the wheels and we were under way. The radar control was very helpful in giving us vectors to avoid the thunderstorms, it was rough enough hand flying in this convective rain laden cloud. The vectors made seeing Niagara Falls impossible and the first time we sighted the ground was as we approached overhead Toronto. From that point onward, the cloud dissipated and rest of the 3hours 15 minute flight was in fine weather.
We were very impressed by the assistance we received from the Bangor Fixed Base Operator. Nothing was to much trouble. They called customs who pulled the white crew slips from our Passports and told that we could depart when ready the following day. Quite a contrast to our arrival at Hilo a couple of weeks earlier!
The weather office was close at hand and tomorrow it looked perfect for our flight to Shannon in Ireland. We refueled then the FBO driver took us to our Airport Hotel and volunteered to pick us up the next morning.