Tag Archives: WV43

Fairhope, AL

beaverThis adventure was huge in comparison to all the others. Flying in a de Havilland Beaver DHC2, I covered more than 1,000 miles from Martins Ferry Seaplane Base (WV43) in West Virginia, to Fish River Seaplane Base (5AL) in Fairhope, Alabama (southeast of Mobile). The planning required for this trip took more than 5 hours; seaplane bases are hard to find. The route is so long that I split it into two parts – with a stop-over in Lake Monroe, Indiana (07I). As usual I used SkyVector to plot the course and find the seaplane bases. I also found a rare Water Runways and Seaports document on the Microsoft web site.

The first leg of the journey follows the Ohio River south from Martins Ferry. I stopped at Ravenswood Seaplane Base (WV39) near Ravenswood, West Virginia, for fuel because the next leg is a long one and passes over Cincinnati then west to Lake Monroe, Indiana (about 250 miles).

Along the river section from Ravenswood to Cincinnati I saw a couple power plants with steam stacks. I did a check on SkyVector VFR sectional and sure enough there are (nuclear) power plants along that route.

Lake Monroe was a little disappointing. In real-world it’s mostly state park land with a few private residents living along the shore. In FSX it has a very few houses and any water runway or seaplane base is nonexistent.

The second leg of the trip turns south with few stops for fuel. I was able to find Tims Ford (0TN1) on FSX which is about 238 miles south of Lake Monroe. After Tims Ford there wasn’t another stop until Fairhope.

The leg from Tims Ford to Fairhope was a nail-bitter. It’s 320 miles and the Beaver has a range of 395 miles (if FSX is telling the truth). So, I plotted the leanest route I could and hoped for the best. There were several lakes and rivers along the way just in case I had to ditch. Luckily I made it – with 1/4 of the front-tank (13 gallons) left.

Overall, it’s fun and easy to fly the Beaver. I just wish FSX would model docks/fuel at seaplane bases.

Wheeling, WV

gooseOn this flight I was hauling 1,000 lbs of snow in a Grumman Goose G21A from John H Batten Airport (KRAC) in Racine, Wisconsin, to Warwood – Martins Ferry Seaplane Base (WV43), near Wheeling, West Virginia. That’s right, a half-ton of snow! The challenge was that with that much weight I could only carry 140 gallons of fuel or 41% in each tank.

SkyVector said it was 358 nm straight from Racine to Wheeling. I needed to make a delivery and I needed to make it there quickly so I chose to fly using GPS. I figured with 41% full of fuel I had a range of 375 nm. I was sweating the whole trip, but I made it with 4% fuel to spare.

I flew at 5500 feet in VFR conditions. Flying GPS isn’t a challenge, but watching the fuel burn was nerve racking. I kept adjusting the prop and mixture to get the maximum amount of forward movement for the least amount of fuel burn.