1,368 mile round trip from KSTS to KSHN and back.

I spent the last week in Shelton WA, visiting my brother and his wife and helping with the re-assembly of their Jabiru motor. (Early top-end because of stuck piston rings with only about 300 hours on the Hobbs.  My engine had the same problem but I did not understand what was going on soon enough so the cylinders were trashed on my motor.  We caught the problem early enough on his engine to save the cylinders which saved my brother a few thousand dollars.)


The round trip from KSTS to KSHN and back to KSTS was 1,368 statue miles.  The GPS track is pictured on the right.  I flew up on the easterly leg and came back home down the coast.  The trip up included a single 20 minute fuel stop, after 6.2 hours, and took a total of 7.6 in-air hours.  The trip home was non-stop 6 hours. Yes, my Zodiac can fly much faster than this but burns way more gas when flown fast – so I don’t unless I am really pressed for time.  All the fuel burned was premium auto gas except 5 gallons.


When I plan a trip like this, I try to find a path over the ground I have not flown yet.  That is getting nearly impossible close to home but a few hundred miles out I can usually find something of interest I have not seen before or at least not recently.

The trip up included some low flying in central Oregon.  There are wide-open areas that can be flown safely at 30 feet if you like.  The Zodiac is very good at low-level terrain following or scooting down an empty country road where it can take tight corners much like a sports car.


On the trip back, in northern California, I had to climb to 10,000 feet to avoid heavy smoke from forest fires.  It was nice and clear up there and very murky below.  As I arrived home it was 8:00pm and the tower closed down.  I took the opportunity to practice a dead-stick landing from 10,000 feet into my home airport.  That went well with touchdown about a 1/3 of the way down the runway.  I coasted off the active runway and then taxi to my hanger.  Another trip over and done with.


Here are a few pictures.  Nothing special, just some of what I saw along the way.


Wind mills along Bunch Grass Lookout Road.


Mt. Shasta - 50 miles away but always a treat.


A cinder cone just south of Lava Beds National Monument. (Got some massive lift here at 6,000 was climbing between 900 and 1,700 feet per min for several thousand feet.  This was a huge thermal above the south-facing dark lava fields).




 A typical view of the country side in central Oregon.  Mostly wide open spaces with a few farms where the water flows.


Summer Lake - often dry.  First the view looking south.  Next picture the view looking north.

Painted Hills, Oregon.

I flew along the John Day river for about 20 miles.  Low enough to wave at the folks floating along in rafts and canoes but not so low as to alarm them.

The view of Mt. Hood.  Taken while on final into my fuel stop at Hood River (4s2).

Just after the fuel stop, looking north at Mt. Adams.  No time to buzz that one.  The sun is going down soon.  Maybe next time.



Looking north to Mt. St. Helens - the one that blew its top off in 1980.  I had intended to pass it to the right - not this time: IFR that way.



The view out the window on the way home was often hazy.  Here is the loan picture worthy of posting.  Saddle Mountain, Oregon.  Did not get close enough to wave at the hikers this time.


Here is a picture from 10,000 feet of the smoke in northern CA.  Not a pretty picture - just documentation.


Thats all folks

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Comment by Thomas C. Chadwick on September 3, 2012 at 2:21pm

Stephen,  enjoyed the photos and thank you for sharing with us...I was raised in eastern Oregon and spent most of my adult life in western Oregon.  Moved to Texas just 6 years ago,  built the 701 in Texas but would love to take it to Oregon.   Thanks again...Tom.

Comment by Dr. Edward L. Olds III on August 26, 2012 at 9:02pm


Great shots and what a great trip!


Comment by Rick George on July 18, 2012 at 12:27pm

Great pictures, Great trip. Brought back memories of a simlar flight my wife and I made some 15 years ago. (RV4). Thanks for sharing!!

Comment by Bob McDonald on July 13, 2012 at 7:42pm
I dont know of any Jabiru's getting any where close to the claimed 2000 hrs TBO... in fact none! :>(
Comment by Robert Emery on July 12, 2012 at 10:36pm
Great trip.
Enjoyed the pics.
I am flying east coast to west coast of Austraila in my 601xlb (jab 3300) in Sept this year, around 2000nm. I will post my eperiences.
Bob Emery
Comment by ronald garrison on July 12, 2012 at 8:09pm

great shots, i am getting ready to fly from MD. to Florida in a few weeks to visit and old air force buddy. pics to come.


Comment by Stephen R. Smith on July 12, 2012 at 7:58pm


Seems to me the Corvair motor is an excellent choice for the Zodiac.  I have flown along side Woody's Zodiac for hours.  They are well matched.  I can leave him in the dust for short periods but my Jabiru tends to get hot when I do that.  He does not seem to have that problem.  Just dont ask Woody about carb. ice :) - something Jabirus seem almost immune to.

I think the Jabiru overheating issues with the Zodiac are due in part to the inadequate firewall forward kit sold to Zodiac owners, which I have. I am speaking of the kit of 5 years ago sold by the Jabiru dealers; not the current one sold by Zenith.


Comment by Andy Elliott on July 12, 2012 at 6:30pm

I've done a few 4-hour+ flights (with a relief tube) but 6-hours!  Great flight.  You are one tough guy! Usually after about 3 hours, I just land somewhere...

I also did some testing with my plane for lower power settings.  Up at 7500', if I pull it back to 2350 RPM, I am doing about 98 MTAS and burning just under 3 GPH.  At 10K', it's about 2.5 GPH!  But it turns out that I'd rather get there fast! :)  Coming from the Lycoming world, every time I see fuel flows under 5 GPH, I have to smile.  And the 27.5 MPG I get at fast cruise (not WOT), is still pretty decent.

Comment by Sebastien Heintz on July 12, 2012 at 4:42pm

Wow - awesome photos of another great adventure!  Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Stephen R. Smith on July 12, 2012 at 2:09pm

More info on stuck piston rings in Jabiru motors.

My original engine and my brother's engine are around the 1,250 serial number range.  These engines were produced with too small of a gap in the piston for the rings.  This was eventually corrected - not sure as of what serial number.

There are other issues which contribute to stuck rings.  1) Oil too hot.  2) Cylinders too hot 3) Running with the carb too rich. 4) Using 100LL instead of auto gas.

I have installed a hackman  mixture control on my Bing carb.  Its not perfect but I find when running lean-of-peak with RPM below 2,600 the engine runs very cool and there are fewer deposits in the combustion chamber.

Rings can start sticking as soon as 200 hours.  Failure to correct will lead to cylinder damage.  The stuck rings will gouge the cylinder walls.

On the two engines where I was able to detect stuck rings I used a leak-down compression test.  With stuck rings you will notice a sharp drop off in compression shortly AFTER TDC.  At TDC compression may seem normal even though the rings are stuck.

Other symptoms: excessive oil consumption and/or excessive oil blowing out the breather tube.

Hope this helps.


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