A 13-hour Non-stop Flight
by Kris Maynard
A few months ago, the National Aeronautic Association Contest & Records Board (of which I am a member) began discussions regarding a new future category of aviation records for efficiency. Records would be established for fuel efficiency as determined by the weight of fuel consumed per kilometer over the required triangular course. The course must be flown non-stop and non-refueled.
I am not certain of when, or if, this new record category might be released, but it got me to thinking and wondering if my Husky would be up to the fairly demanding task. The proposed minimum course length for the Husky weight class is 739 sm and, since it has to be flown over a triangular course, at least part of the distance would likely be into some headwind component. It didn’t look to me that I could comfortably make that distance with VFR reserves utilizing my normal cruise settings, so I began to experiment with a variety of power settings and conducted several three- and four-hour test flights.
The results of those test flights revealed a low fuel consumption power setting of 17” Hg and 1775 RPM, resulting in a fuel burn of less than 4 GPH. The obvious concern in operating the Lycoming O-360 at this setting for an extended time period is high CHT, EGT and Oil temperatures. My four-hour flights indicated fairly stable temperatures — well within a safe operating range — but I had no idea what would happen when I operated at that range for more than three times longer than my test.
Last Friday, July 13th, I flew a conforming triangle course (Indianapolis to Dubuque, IA to Kirksville, MO and return to Indianapolis) and was able to surpass the minimum distance. I was able to complete the course in nine hours exactly, and then flew for another four hours before stopping for fuel.
Altogether my flight lasted 13 hours, 2 minutes and 15 seconds non-stop and non-refueled. Aboard my Husky was an FAI-certified, GPS-based, tamper-proof flight recorder. I have irrefutable evidence of this duration flight! (Just in case there are doubters!)
The engine temperatures were logged throughout the flight and remained stable in the expected safe range throughout the flight.
I cannot adequately express how well this aircraft handled this task. The airplane not only flew the challenging task distance, but surpassed it by more than 60% and flew another four hours. The aircraft sipped fuel very efficiently, covering 5.98 km for every pound of fuel consumed. Once these records start being established, you will realize what a wonderful number that is.
It amazed even me, and I had come to believe that it could be done. I’ve owned my Husky for nine years. I hold four World Speed Records in the Husky, including the United States Transcontinental Speed Record (East to West), and I am still learning the aircraft’s amazing talents. Thank you for building such a high-quality airplane.
I wouldn’t want to jump in the Husky and do another 13 hour flight right away, but it is nice to know I could.
Read more on Kris' flight...