So it has started, day two of my massive river trip. I am looking at the Grand Tetons out my motel window here in Driggs Idaho getting ready for the first day of the Missouri River.

Yesterday I left Santa Rosa California and flew here more or less in a straight line, having seen that country go by before. Today should be more interesting.

Over the next few days I plan to follow the Missouri River to the Mississippi River then head downstream to the Ohio River. I will follow that upstream to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania then go south via the Monongahela, Youghiogheny, and Potomac. My destination will be Fredrick Maryland where my oldest brother will pick me up for a few weeks visit. He and I may make some "local" flights to New York and North Catalina. Then in about three weeks I will head straight home to California.

The first map above shows my intended overnight stops. Each day I will be covering about 750 miles.

I take lots of pictures as I fly and upload them to my personal webpage (see item one below). The pictures are unedited and may or may not be interesting. I clean these up when I get home but while I am flying, what you see is what you get.


For those so inclined, you can follow my progress via any of three different tracking systems.


  1. This link takes you to my home-grown tracking web page that I wrote 10 years ago and have not modernized since. The page shows a map with my current or most recent flight. If I am flying, and within Verizon cell coverage, when you press the F5 key (or click refresh) the map will refresh.  If you don’t, it only updates every 5 minutes on its own.  There is a link on the page to a rudimentary slide show so you can view recent pictures. If you scroll down more you will see additional information including the date and time the data is for. The date and time are so you can see if the information is current. Why? Because I might be flying outside the coverage of Verizon’s towers and so the information might be out of date by minutes or hours. Further down the page there is lots of data, including air and ground speed, heading, altitude, height above the ground, fuel remaining, engine RPM, engine temperatures etc. The airplane sends this data every 10 seconds when in Version coverage.
  2. This link takes you to my Garmin inReach Satellite tracking web page.  This web page is quite reliable but generally only updates every 10 minutes because the unit I carry in the plane can not be made to update more often than that. So it is reliable but limited.
  3. This link takes you to FlightTradar24s web page. The page is not specific to my airplane, unless you enter my N number (N601WF) into the search box in the upper-right hand corner of the map and press enter. If I am flying, and the plane is within FAA ADS-B coverage, my plane will be highlighted with a line showing where I have been, while in coverage.  Often I will be flying at 500 feet above the ground, which is quite low, so the FAA may not pick me up. So while flying and while the FAA can see me, this map will show me when you search for me. By the way, this web page allows you to track airplanes around the world. Most flights are commercial flights so you can track a flight of someone you know who is flying as long as you know the flight information. You can click any airplane to see where it came from and where it is going. Rather astounding amount of info on most the planes in the air at any one time.



P.S. 09/19/2021: Years later I have cleaned up the picture collection and uploaded them here.

Views: 2474


You need to be a member of Zenith Aircraft Builders and Flyers to add comments!

Join Zenith Aircraft Builders and Flyers

Comment by Zenith Aero on June 5, 2018 at 7:18pm

Video flying along the Missouri River with Zenith Aircraft:

Comment by Mack P. Kreizenbeck on May 27, 2018 at 6:12pm

Stan, you’ve done it again, showing us how magnificent our country is. Your recent pictures show the beauty of America and how the human population is attracted to water. These great rivers, bridged by some of the most fantastic designed structures in the world, confirm that more landscape can be seen from the air. It’s amazing how railroads and highways border the rivers and that they are one of the four major forms of transportation catering to the adjoining cities, towns, as well as manufacturing, mining and energy producing entities. Also you’ve been a great ambassador for the 601XL and Zenith. Thanks, Mack

Comment by Sebastien Heintz on May 25, 2018 at 2:41pm

We had a great time yesterday with Steve Smith as he passed by over the Missouri River on his way east. Roger and I flew out in our new STOL CH 750 Super Duty and Dennis joined us in his CH701.  We met Steve over a sand bar on the river, and then all flew together to the state capitol, Jefferson City, for lunch.

We then flew with Steve a little more before returning to work. Below: Steve over the Big Muddy

I love following Steve's live progress and seeing his many awesome photos, and I admire his determination to stay over rivers even as they meander seamlessly in all directions! 
Part of his route earlier today:

Comment by Ron Lendon on May 23, 2018 at 11:10pm

Great plan, keep us posted.

Comment by Stephen R. Smith on May 23, 2018 at 1:31pm

Hello Mike, yes I am still running a camit with bing and hacman. CHT sensors are "down the hole" so temps do not match factory specs. I run lean of peak when I can with EGTs between 1300 and 1425.


Comment by Mike Chekal on May 23, 2018 at 12:43pm

Hi Steve,

This is absolutely fantastic. thank you for sharing.

Are you still running with the Jabiru 3300 (or Camit 3300)? If so, I see your CHT's and EGT's (in the one snapshot I looked at) are quit a bit higher than mine. What carb setup do you have installed?

I was using the Rotec TBI, but had too many issues, so I switched back to the Bing and installed a HACman to allow control of mixture.


Comment by Stephen R. Smith on May 23, 2018 at 7:09am

Been a good trip so far. Today will be long and hot. Heading to the airport now.


Comment by Mark Napier on May 22, 2018 at 5:41pm
Have fun, watch those power lines. They stretch them between hills and the marking sometimes sucks. In West Virginia on the Cheat River a twin was following the valley and took down some power lines. Years later I found some insulators there in the state park and was told the story.

Personal phobia. When I was flight training I had nightmares about being trapped under power lines.
Comment by Scott Smith on May 22, 2018 at 5:03pm

What a great trip. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going on my build. It would be great fun to have 2, 3, or even more airplanes fly together on this kind of trip.

PS - Love the new definition of IFR!

Comment by Zenith Aero on May 22, 2018 at 1:36pm

Awesome! We look forward to seeing you in Missouri!

New from Zenith:

Zenith Planes For Sale 

Classified listing for buying or selling your Zenith building or flying related stuff...

Custom Instrument Panels
for your Zenith

Custom instrument panels are now available directly from Zenith Aircraft Company exclusively for Zenith builders and owners. Pre-cut panel, Dynon and Garmin avionics, and more.

Custom Upholstery Kits for your Zenith Aircraft:

Zenith Vinyl Upholstery Kits

Zenith Apparel from EAA:

Zenair Floats

Flying On Your Own Wings:
A Complete Guide to Understanding Light Airplane Design, by Chris Heintz

Builder & Pilot Supplies:

How to videos from

Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit for the latest DVD titles.

Aircraft Insurance:


West Coast USA:

Pro Builder Assistance:


Transition training:

Golden Eagle Aviation

Pianosa Flying Farm

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty for all your building and pilot supplies!

© 2022   Created by Zenith.Aero.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service