June Flight of the D'Marie -Off to the Round Engine Roundup!

The “Round engine Roundup” occurs every year around the Father’s Day weekend. The aircraft that show up are mostly Staggerwing Beechcrafts, a couple of twin Beeches and a couple of other types.

Having been there in previous years, I had been anxious to fly “The D’Marie” to the event. Finally, the opportunity arose this year!  D’Marie, my wife, opted to fly up commercially due to recent surgery.  Chris Reilly came with me to ride shotgun and to keep me out of trouble.  Having previously been an LSO in the Navy, he called out whenever I was off the centerline on landing!  

“June gloom” in San Diego suggested that we might leave in the afternoon of the day before planned departure. After studying the weather, we departed late afternoon on Wednesday with an overnight in Cedar City.  We arrived before sunset and in time for a Mexican dinner.  The next morning, we took on 52 gallons of fuel at $6.99 a gallon!!  (Most expensive on the trip!).  The last leg to Idaho Falls took us West of Salt Lake City and around Restricted airspace. A good tailwind reduced our flight time to just under 3 hours.  With the tailwind came the choppiness which followed us most of the way and gave us a nice crosswind on landing!! 

Highlights of the trip were excursions to the Rainbow Ranch and airstrip, home of our hosts, and to Smiley Creek, a back country 4900 X 150 Turf airstrip for brunch.  U87 elevation is 7160 feet and is Northwest of Ketchum, Idaho in the Sawtooth National Forest.  It is an easy 1-hour flight through scenic, snow-covered Mountain peaks. The flight back was equally pleasant and for a change, the wind was right down the runway!  

The weekend being just about over, I drove D’Marie to the airport to catch her flight home and we returned our car at the FBO and prepared to leave before the forecast weather closed in. The first leg started under ominous skies at a lower-than-normal altitude with expected headwinds and the ever-present chop.  We stopped for fuel at St. George, Utah with a light wind.  By the time we were ready for departure, the wind had picked up considerably and so, we fought a head wind and the associated chop the rest of the way home.  After passing Julian VOR while in our descent, the approach controller gave us a vector, to avoid traffic, to a heading directly toward El Cajon Mountain! I objected, cancelled flight following and continued to a safe landing at KSEE. Never did see the “traffic”.

It was an exhausting day and time to put the mighty Staggerwing away and get some much-needed rest.  My thanks to the friends who followed our progress and gave reports on our ground speed and weather.  It’s amazing what you can do with “Flight Aware”!! 

Author: Bob Simon
Updated On: 06/25/23 PST