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We left Mexico, Missouri, at around 7 am on Friday (April 9), heading straight for Sun'n Fun. Thanks to a light tail wind we flew much higher than we normally do... above 5,000 feet most of the day.
Passing over the Missouri River in central Missouri with typical morning fog / low level clouds over the river:
While we usually make our first refueling stop in Sikeston, Missouri (home of Lambert's Cafe, home of the famous "throwed rolls") we decided to keep flying since it was early for lunch and we had a nice light wind urging us on.
Our first refueling stop was Union City, TN (KUCY), followed by Shelby County, Alabama (KEET).
With fuel (and restroom) stops between two and three hours the aircraft is a truly comfortable cross-country airplane.
The above photo does not do justice to the bright Dynon glass display. Even in bright sunlight both the Dynon EFIS and Garmin GPS can be read easily.
Even though we'd lost an hour (traveling to the east), we were still making good time so we decided to continue heading south to the Gulf Coast:
Following the scenic coastline...
Cedar Key is a small fishing village with an airport (KCDK) on one of its islands. The runway goes clear across the island with sea water at both ends. Though the 2,300 foot runway is considered to be short for many planes (and pilots), it's more than adequate for the STOL CH 750 (even when landing long due to the unexpected crosswind/tailwind!). The chart shows that the runway is 11 feet above sea level but I think that's at low tide.
On the ground at Cedar Key in the setting sun:
We always enjoy our visits to Cedar Key: Unless you're flying overhead, it's not really near anything you'd typically go to so it's an interesting spot to visit. There are several hotels and restaurants with great sea food.
The next morning we departed for Dunnellon, Florida (X35) for fuel and to visit the Saints / I-Tec.
I-Tec has been working on a number of truly innovative projects, including the Maverick flying car:
They've also help build several STOL CH 701 and STOL CH 801 projects. Roger looks over their nicely-built 701:
Their STOL CH 801 was built in Ecuador and equipped with a massive belly cargo pod:
Our STOL CH 750 at the I-Tec ramp with the STOL CH 801:
We tried to stay out of the way as Steve Saint and the rest of the I-Tec crew readied the Maverick "flying car" LSA project for Sun'n Fun:
Later that afternoon, we headed on to Zephyrhills, Florida (KZPH) where we were met by Russell Lepre of FlightCrafters.
The next morning at the Zephyrhills airport, FlightCrafters hosted a "pre-Sun'n Fun fly-in" gathering for Zenith builders and flyers.
Above are Roger Lambert's and Doug Norman's upgraded Zodiac XLs.
Later that afternoon, Roger and I flew our last leg of the journey. Though it's only about 18 miles to Lakeland from Zephyrhills, we had to go the long route to approach from Lake Parker (the other side of Lakeland) per the Notam. Below, we approach the Lakeland airport (Sun'n Fun):
Landing on the "Orange Dot" (displaced threshold on the taxiway) at Sun'n Fun:
Getting help pushing our "heavy" plane to the Zenith display:
Update: I've added a post with pics of activities at Sun'n Fun, as well as the trip back home.