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  #1  
Unread 03-12-11, 11:23 AM
etv100Fly etv100Fly is offline
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Cool Flying to Nicaragua

I am new to the 337 board and after 30 years of not flying I just started again and completed my bi annual. I want to buy a 337 to fly to and from Nicaragua without refueling in Mexico! Just started multi-engine and IFR training and should be ready to go by summer. Looking at all the data on 337 I am lost as to how fast they really fly and thier range. I need a 1,000 mile range. 2nd I plan on starting a tour operation in Nicaragua for sight seeing. Am I dreaming about using a 337 for this. I am in Waller Texas, any partnerships out there? I forgot from 1st post. I do plan to land in Gutamala and refuel! All commits appreciated!

Many Thanks Earl

Last edited by etv100Fly : 03-12-11 at 01:33 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 03-12-11, 01:13 PM
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Ernie Martin Ernie Martin is offline
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Because I have flown two different Skymasters from Miami to Boise and extensively over water routes, including a trip from St. Thomas (Virgin Islands) to Miami, I have given considerable thought to your type of question.

Quick/rough numbers for a non-turbo: cruise speed 140 kts (at a fairly economical power level), 20 gal/hr (running by the book, leaning to about 60-75 deg rich of peak), 125 - 145 gal of usable fuel (with extended-range tanks, depending on model year).

Your trip (Brownsville to Managua) is 1025 nm. With the above numbers you need 146 gal, even before you allow for margin (and on a trip like this, with inhospitable terrain and infrequent airports, I would counsel 1 hour) and for take-off/climb (figure ~ 5 more gal).

Solutions (with opinions in parenthesis): wait for a healthy tailwind; equip your aircraft and learn how to operate at lean of peek (voids most engine warranties, not recommended by engine manufacturer, but I think it's OK if done properly); add after-market extended tanks (after a recent crash and subsequent findings, not something I recommend); and my favorite solution by far, which is don't be silly and do stop en route (it's under 700 nm to Mundo Maya Int'l Airport in northern Guatemala).

Pushing the envelope on a trip like this is NOT a good idea. Even on the 700 nm trip, make sure your aircraft is perfect, you understand management of your fuel system (I have a page on this at my "backup" website), and you have accumulated actual data on consumption from prior trips.

Good luck.

Ernie Martin
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  #3  
Unread 03-12-11, 05:41 PM
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Roger Roger is offline
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I fly my normally aspirated from KART to ksgJ (about 900 NM) in a flat 6 hours, with 120 gals fuel burn on average. Gives me an hour of reserve. 1000 would be possible at 55% power but would take you about 8 hours. It's a plan, but not really a good plan.
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  #4  
Unread 03-12-11, 07:34 PM
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Ernie Martin Ernie Martin is offline
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As Roger points out, it's NOT a good plan.

A friend of mine delivers GA airplanes to South America. He believes that flight planning and the margins that are prudently required are radically different compared to a flight in the U.S. Not only is the terrain inhospitable and the airports infrequent, but contact with air traffic control is spotty, weather forecasts are less reliable, and search and rescue is often a joke.

Be safe -- stop en route.

Ernie Martin
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  #5  
Unread 03-14-11, 10:33 PM
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Skymaster337B Skymaster337B is offline
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My recommendation, fly down the Caribbean chain and enjoy the ride. It will keep you out of Mexico and within a fuel tank of plenty of options.
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  #6  
Unread 04-13-11, 03:37 PM
Rick Gardner Rick Gardner is offline
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Beware Mundo Maya airport DOES NOT have AVGAS.
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  #7  
Unread 04-18-11, 10:22 AM
O. Lynn Justice O. Lynn Justice is offline
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Cool Been there, done that

Earl:

I have lived and flown in Central America for several decades, most recently in based in Guatemala. I made the trip from Texas to Central America for years in a 206, and have done it on the average 4 or 5 times a year for the past 12 years in my Turbo Skymaster. Granted, it is not safe to drive through Mexico, but generally it is fine to fly. I have made the straight through flight from Brownsville to Guatemala, or back a half dozen times, a couple times just to do it, and the other times because it was more expedient due to weather or unavailability of fuel. I have 128 gallon tanks and can do it with one hour fuel reserve.
I prefer stopping in Vera Cruz for several reasons. For one, I am not so sharp after 5 hours of straight through flying. Frequently the conditions over the mountains of Southern Mexico and Guatemala require one to be sharp. Second, I like to stop in Vera Cruz. The people are friendly and helpful. I can stretch, get a bite to eat. You have to have Mexico insurance and there is a $120 tax for using Mexico airspace (it costs about the same for multiple entries as for one), but it is worth the peace of mind knowing you can set down anyplace you need or want to.
Give me a holler when you land in Guatemala. If I am there, I am good for a meal.

Lynn - - Guatemala cellphone 502 5915-6656
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  #8  
Unread 04-26-11, 09:37 PM
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Ernie Martin Ernie Martin is offline
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I should note that Lynn came from Guatemala to join us for the 2004 Skymaster Meeting and Fly-In held at Oklahoma City in 2004 (with a side trip to Ada, Oklahoma to learn about flying Lean-of-Peak from the folks at GAMI). He regaled us on flying his Skymaster in Central America, including a belly landing where the cargo pod saved the airplane from any damage and the pod itself suffered only moderate damage that was easily fixed locally.

Ernie
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