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Thread: Shortwing higher altitude performance

  1. #1

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    Default Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Hey, guys! As it looks like I'm about to get my airplane flyable again (after my A&P took about five months to do an annual inspection and switch out a vacuum pump- another story for another time) I'm considering new places to fly to. Thinking about Taos, NM. Anyone been in there in a shortwing? Mine's a 150 hp. Thanks in advance, and it's good to be back.

    Jim K

    PS: I'm sure this has been discussed in prior threads.
    Jim Kirkendall "Knowledge is good."

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Haven't done any "mountain flying" to speak of, so I'm just looking for any words of wisdom from anyone else who has been into that area or any other higher altitude airports.
    Jim Kirkendall "Knowledge is good."

  3. #3
    Topogen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    I fly routinely in the mountains, but not actually in my Tripacer (also a 150hp). One of my friends had a 160hp Tripe down in Salida CO (KANK; field elevation of 7000ft)) and it did fine as flown (typically 2 guys, full fuel). I would not hesitate to fly my Tripacer to my home airport in Central Colorado (8000ft) but would be mindful of the usual things (you MUST lean to full power, be mindful of hot days and DA issues). There are a ton of other issues to be wary of... well beyond what I can convey in this response. I suggest reading up on mountain flying and maybe taking a mountain flying course out of Denver for example with a CFI. In my Columbia 400 (service ceiling of 25,000) I am careful about winds, mountain wave and turbulence (will ruin your day big time). I typically climb up to high teens to avoid, but its not always possible... its not fun. Airplane handles moderate turbulence way better than I do. In sum, I would be comfortable taking my 1955 Tripacer from my Texas place to KAEJ (Buena Vista, CO) and I may do so this summer. By the way, Leadville (Lake County) is 30 mi north of me at almost 10,000' msl and I have seen density altitudes will into the teens in mid-summer. You MUST be very careful in a normally aspirated airplane in all mountain departures! Interesting tidbit... you can depart from KLXV (Leadville) and climb up to pattern altitude (about 10,800) and fly all the way to Houston without gaining any more altitude. Not sayin' I'd do it but you could in theory by maintaining altitude and staying in the passes (marked clearly on all State of CO charts).

  4. #4
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    I’ve been to Taos; no issues in my Clipper-150. Flew over Angel Fire at 10.5 K density altitude about 12000’. It was still climbing about 150 per minute.

    At the 1999 Short Wing Piper Club Convention at Denver’s Centennial airport a number of the airplanes flew to Leadville. My flight to Taos was before noon so still cool.

    I made a trip from Page,AZ. To Spanish Fork, UT just before noon on a June day and went thru Soldier Summit at 11500 msl. Don’t remember the density altitude but I was not maxed out in climb. I was probably about 1550 lbs. both times. I remember it was over 90 when I left Page in early morning.

    Lean for max RPM on the ground before take-off and continue to lean for max rpm as you climb. Your throttle enrichment valve will be open at full throttle so be sure to enrichen the mixture if you throttle back. At those altitude you should be at full throttle all the time.
    Last edited by Gilbert Pierce; 05-12-2019 at 05:16 PM.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Thanks, guys! Exactly the kind of input I'm looking for.
    Jim Kirkendall "Knowledge is good."

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Excellent input. BTW, I learned to fly at ARM, my home town.
    Jim Kirkendall "Knowledge is good."

  7. #7
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Pierce View Post
    I’ve been to Taos; no issues in my Clipper-150. Flew over Angel Fire at 10K, density altitude about 12000’. It was still climbing about 150 per minute.

    At the 1999 Short Wing Piper Club Convention at Denver’s Centennial airport a number of the airplanes flew to Leadville. My flight to Taos was before noon so still cool.

    I made a trip from Page,AZ. To Spanish Fork, UT just before noon on a June day and went thru Soldier Summit at 11500 msl. Don’t remember the density altitude but I was not maxed out in climb. I was probably about 1550 lbs. both times. I remember it was over 90 when I left Page in early morning.

    Lean for max RPM on the ground before take-off and continue to lean for max rpm as you climb. Your throttle enrichment valve will be open at full throttle so be sure to enrichen the mixture if you throttle back. At those altitude you should be at full throttle all the time.
    How were your CHT's?
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  8. #8
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    How were your CHT's?
    I am afraid to look at them.

    Those flights were pre-engine analyzer. I only had CHT on #4. As I remember if it ever started going above 400 degrees I pushed the nose down and richened up fuel. I don’t remember really having a CHT problem after I got rid of the Van’s baffle seals and replaced them with the good stuff, McFarlane Cowl Saver and put a seal around carb air inlet.
    Last edited by Gilbert Pierce; 05-12-2019 at 05:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Pierce View Post
    I am afraid to look at them.

    Those flights were pre-engine analyzer. I only had CHT on #4. As I remember if it ever started going above 400 degrees I pushed the nose down and richened up fuel. I don’t remember really having a CHT problem after I got rid of the Van’s baffle seals and replaced them with the good stuff, McFarlane Cowl Saver and put a seal around carb air inlet.
    "Good stuff"?

    Airforms?
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  10. #10
    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shortwing higher altitude performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    "Good stuff"?

    Airforms?
    Van’s RV6 kit modified by Steve. No cracks except the rear mount oil cooler mod. A 4130 angle fixed that permanently .

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