Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FIT Airshow

Finally, an airshow in our own backyard! Florida Institute of Technology hosted Aviation Day across the airport from us. We took the new Samba XXL, and our trusty Lambada. Many interested pilots talked with us about our planes, and several will be back to see us and take a ride.
There was a lot of interest in our Lambada Group. This is a new partnership in our 80hp Lambada demo which currently has 200 hours on it. There are 5 positions available for $25,000 each. We will keep it in our hangar, and take care of it for the owners. It has the full bore glass panel.

Urban Air USA planes and tent.

Here is a nice shot of the new Samba. Pretty good looking plane, eh?

We had a nice 2 hour soaring flight today. Climb rates were 300-500fpm and base was 5000'.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Typical day at Urban Air (if there is such a thing)

Joe dropped Jim off at Merritt island to pick up another Lambada which had an instrument upgrade performed by Sebastian Communications. This presented an opportunity for Joe to buzz the end of the runway on his way back to Melbourne. Click on photo to enlarge, and save if you like. This first shot would probably make a pretty good background for your computer!

Typical climb rate after takeoff with 2 people and half fuel. Note the variometer on the lower left indicating over 12 knots (1200fpm) at the normal climb speed of 60 knots. This is also a good look at the PFD page on the Grand Rapids EFIS.

Kathy Lee talks with Georgia Bostik in the Urban Air Command Center.

Upon arrival back in Melbourne, Joe and Jim went back to work. Current "wrench projects" include finishing the lights and ELT installation on the Samba and final prep work on the Lambada before it heads to Costa Rica.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Colorado Trip

Joe and I left at dawn out of Melbourne, to deliver N22UA to Jamie Jacobson in Crawford, Colorado. Joe flew our demo plane, and I flew Jamie's. We started with a great tailwind caused by Hurricane Ike, and surfed it all the way to Kansas. Our first stop was Drake, Arkansas after 850nm in 6.7hrs.

We then hit some dirty weather which kept us from making Denver in one day, and ended up in Ulysses, KS. We met some great folks, and flew with them the next morning before pushing on to Boulder. Several pilots were able to sample some nice soaring along the foothills, and Joe flew with record holder Larry Tudor along the spine of the Rockies.

Next stop was Salida, where we stayed with JZ and Amy. The next day was fabulous, with a cloudstreet running south along the Sangre de Cristos to the Great Sand Dunes park.

Jeff Shingleton and Don Boardman met us in Crawford after a trip in Jeff's plane from New York. The 3 Lambadas soared up a mountainside together, then made a formation pass over the Crawford airport.

New owner Jamie soared his new plane to 15,000msl, flew to Montrose on a glide, then motored to Grand Junction, Grand Mesa, and home to Paonia.

We circled Joe Cocker's English estate buried in the mountains of Colorado.

After Crawford, it was on to Telluride to visit some good friends and sample more excellent soaring conditions.

Local ace Jeff Campbell flew circles around the virga with strong cloudsuck on the edges of the clouds.

Jeff didn't like the looks of the rain and snow, but the Garmin showed acceptable conditions back over the Telluride airport.
Our Lambadas were comfy under the wing of a Gulfstream, just like ducklings against their mom.

Independence Pass, leading to Aspen.

We landed at Leadville, 9,800msl with a density altitude of 11,800msl.

The 3 of us also visited Eagle, Steamboat, Durango, and all of the mountains in between. We didn't go around the mountains, we went straight over them in our U2 Lambadas. Climb rates using the engine were 500fpm at 17,000'msl. The Lambada is built for Colorado!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Four Lambadas converged on Oshkosh from Melburne, San Antonio, and Albany. All told, our round-trip flights covered 5100nm. We were too busy selling Lambadas to take many pictures, but here are a few highlights.

We ran into the Red Baron (Terry Presley) in Tennessee.

Joe and Jim shared a few hundred miles as a flight of two.

Terrible weather on the way home forced a quick stop in Georgia. Thankfully, the aviation community is always ready to help.

Melbourne to Mexico

I left on June 28,2008 to help proud new owner Jorge Gomez Espana ferry his new Lambada to Chapala, Mexico. The first leg was to Rogers, Arkansas which required some routing around cumulonimbus twice during the day. The Garmin 496 with FM weather was indispensable. Total distance for the day was 850nm. The next day was an easy 470nm run to San Antonio, where Jorge met me for the remainder of the trip.

From San Antonio, we flew to Laredo, TX to file our required VFR flight plan across the border to Nuevo Laredo, a total distance of 10nm. This has to be the shortest flight plan I have ever filed! The Laredo, TX tower controller came down to talk with us for 2 hours about the Lambada. Not an unusual occurrence.

Crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico

Jorge arrives in Nuevo Laredo for 3 hours of paperwork.

There are plenty of big mountains in Mexico.

The news media quickly spotted an unusual plane in Saltillo, Mexico, and had to interview the pilot. Jorge is a natural show-boater.

The short flight from Guadalajara to Lake Chapala brought us into some great engine off ridge soaring. We gave rides to six people, with consistent ridge soaring over town.

Chapala airport, new home of N154UA.

Chapala Flying Club welcomes it's new member

Jorge's hometown of Tapalpa, where he plans to build a new airstrip.

Total mileage, 2000nm.

Atlantic to the Pacific in the Lambada

March 28, 2008. Departed Melbourne, FL bound for Reno, NV to deliver N109UA to Bob Johnson. With several stops along the way to see customers, the total distance flown was 2450 nm to Half-Moon Bay on the Pacific Ocean to make it a true coast to coast flight!

First stop at Wallaby Ranch
VFR on top over New Orleans at 8,500'

Interesting nose art in Houston on a Strikemaster

On April 1, departed Lubbock at 8:30, flew low level (under 3000'agl) to escape the upper level west winds, to arrive in Farmington, NM at noon. 3.5 hours, 374nm. Ate lunch, and gassed up (last fuel stop was outside of Houston) and departed for Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, and the deserts and valleys of Nevada, landing in Ely, NV at 6pm. 4 hours, 394nm.Total for the day, 778nm, 7.5 hours.

Lake Powell
Bryce Canyon

Mountains of Nevada

A frosty canopy at sunrise in Ely, NV

Half Moon Bay, Pacific Ocean! (We did a touch and go)

We circled the Golden Gate, San Francisco, then back to Carson City, NV.

What a trip!!!

P.S. To top things off, we contacted the Minden wave at 9,000', shut down the engine, and soared to 15,000' over Lake Tahoe. Doesn't get any better than that!