Fly-out to Big Sandy Regional Airport, KY (KSJS) July 16th, 2016
By David Ames
My transportation to the Helicycle Fly-In at Big Sandy Regional Airport in Kentucky was a Mooney 252 TSE Model M20K. This aircraft has a Continential TSIO360-MB motor producing 210HP. It cruises around 160 knots (about 184 mph) at around 5000'.
It has a varible pitch prop, full engine monitoring system, redundent Garmin glass panels, auto pilot, GPS. Because the Mooney's have a habit of coming into a landing fast, it has built in air brakes in the top of the wings that deploy with a toggle switch. Our flying time to Big Sandy was around 1.5 hrs. with a 8-12 knot head wind. Coming back our ground speed was over 200 mph. Jim Rigoulot, the owner of the Mooney and a flying Helicycle, flys out of Fredericksburg. He picked my up at Winchester. After taking off he set up the auto pilot and hit the direct key and never touched the controls again till we were about 20 miles from Big Sandy.
Jim Rigoulot's Mooney 252 TSE
There were three flying Helicycles when Jim and I arrived. Saturday was the last day of the Fly-In and I believe one other Helicyle had already left. The Fly-In has been going on since Thursday.
Three Flying Helicycles at the Big Sandy Regional Airport
1st one is called Twittie Bird and he flies in from Cincinati non-stop
2nd Helicycle belongs to the gentleman who puts on the event, nicknamed 'Huggie'
3rd Helicycle on the right is from a gentleman in Michigan, he trailers it down to Kentucky
One constant participant every year I have been going to this fly-in is the Bell UH-1B Huey. It was built in 1962 and saw a large number of combat hours in Vietnam. It has been rolled over three times so no telling how many of the parts on it are still original. After Vietnam, it was put into service as a crop duster and then the present owner bought and restored it to its original Army Vietnam color scheme.
Bell Huey at Big Sandy Fly-In
The end of the Fly-In always has to have the official cake. Huggie's friend always produces a spectacular cake with all the appropriate eatable pictures from the meet.
Official Fly-In Cake
Flight back was uneventful except for some interesting weather in the Winchester area on Saturday afternoon. We called FAA information in Elkins and they said by the time we got to Winchester it would probably be OK, but Jim put in an alternate airport into the auto pilot just in case VFR conditions didn't exist. We landed at Winchester and it wasn't even sprinkling. Nice way to fly to Big Sandy. 1.5 hrs flying vs. 6.5 hrs driving (NO COMPARISON!!)