Following is a brief report and photos from our flight to Sun'n Fun earlier this month:
(Update: See my new video clips at the bottom of this post).
To test the comfort and cross-country capability of the STOL CH 750, Roger and I decided to fly together (in one plane) to Lakeland, Florida, from Mexico, Missouri, carrying all of our personal items for the next 10 days with us.
We left early to have time to enjoy the ride and to avoid any potential weather. On the first day we made it all the way to Cedar Key, Florida, 750 NM (863 statute miles or 1,389 km.) away.

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.
Here's a nice view of the full panel with the "wrap-around" windshield that offers outstanding visibility from both sides. :

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.
Below is our fuel stop in scenic Thomasville in southern Georgia (KTVI). Even the terminal building is picturesque:

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:
Last year we spent a great afternoon fishing and visiting on the tiny islands just off the Florida coast of Cedar Key so we decided to stop there again:

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.
Here we're on short final at Cedar Key (Runway 05 over the Gulf Coast):

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.
Along the shores of Cedar Key:

The next morning we departed for Dunnellon, Florida (X35) for fuel and to visit the Saints / I-Tec.
A view of clean rivers... amazing downward visibility through the bubble doors...

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.
FlightCrafters staff and family members provided a complimentary lunch in their "professional builder assistance" facility located next to the airport.

Above are Roger Lambert's and Doug Norman's upgraded Zodiac XLs.
Below, Roger was busy with demo flights in the STOL CH 750, while Sebastian Dewhurst shows off his nice STOL CH 701:

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:
The STOL CH 750 at the Zenith display after the 1,000 mile trip, ready for six days pf "Sun'n Fun" and the flight home:

Update: I've added a post with pics of activities at Sun'n Fun, as well as the trip back home.

New Video Clips: I've finally had the chance to put together a few video clips of the trip to Sun'n Fun:
This first clip shows our flight onto the small island airport of Cedar Key:


This next clip is of our approach and landing at Sun'n Fun (Lakeland, Florida):


See my follow up post for more photos and videos of Sun'n Fun and the trip back home.

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Comment by Bob McDonald on April 24, 2010 at 11:15am
Thanks for sharing the adventure.
Comment by Mike Hammond on April 23, 2010 at 4:11pm
Great blog! Too bad I missed the demo at Zeyphr Hills. I am dying to get a ride in the 750. I visited AMD last summer and saw them fly N750WD the day that the new owner took delivery, nice plane! I may have an opportunity to re-allocate some assets and buy a 750 kit instead of plans building one. I think a ride might put me over the edge and give me the push that I need. Sebastian, could you PLEASE bring the 750 demonstrator to Savannah on 4/30 for the South Eastern Aircraft Expo? Several of my flying friends and co-workers are interested in the 750 as well.
Comment by Sebastien Heintz on April 23, 2010 at 3:18pm
Oops! That should have been "above 5,000 feet" or specifically 5,500' MSL, right?
Comment by John Ellis on April 23, 2010 at 3:04pm
Thanks for posting, it looks like the weather was great for the trip and the pics are spectacular. Sorry for the dumb question but you said you were at 5000, were you flying IFR.
Comment by Jonathan Porter on April 23, 2010 at 12:15pm
Lovely jubbly... great to see Steve's Maverick too...

We really hope to get our weight limits raised to allow us the 750 next year... if we miss the window it will shift to after elections... such is the way things work here...
Comment by Sebastien Heintz on April 23, 2010 at 11:43am
Bob - wait until you see the pics of the trip back: I had my (semi) annual trim while at Sun'n Fun.
Comment by Bob Simmons on April 23, 2010 at 11:18am
I love stories like this, where you see the 'typical' use of the aircraft where we can imagine ourselves being there in the cockpit on our own trips, especially when pictures are included!

Sebastien, you goin hippie on us with the long hair or is that just an optical illusion?
Comment by Sebastien Heintz on April 23, 2010 at 10:11am
Thanks Mike. The trip was a lot of fun. Our trip back was more typical: "low and slow" but just as much fun.
Comment by Mike Schlichtman on April 23, 2010 at 9:40am
Very nice...I plan to fly the 750 to Marathon Key to visit my folks someday.

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