Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you get bored? Do you nap?
I have not napped, nor felt the need to sleep. Although tired during the last 3 or 4 hours of the 15 and 16 hour legs, I kept busy with instrument checks, position reports, calculating ETA and winds, and reviewing arrival procedures. I'd eat some chocolate and candy during those last hours to build up my blood sugar and keep me awake. I didn't drink coffee, because I hated to use the potty. I did notice a slowing of the mental processes as I was doing the calculations and because of that was especially careful doing all the checks and gas tank switching. As the approach time grew closer, I plugged the approach into the GPS and double checked the charts and instrument settings. Usually at this time, adreneline would kick in and I didn't feel tired any more. After landing, I would feel exhausted; but not in the last half hour of the flight.
2. Why are you flying "backwards" around the world -- westbound?
This question is answered in the Preparation page. The prevailing winds across the Pacific are northeast. Therefore, for the longest legs, over 2250 nautical miles from California to Hawaii and Hawaii to American Samoa, you are most likely to have a tailwind when traveling westbound. I had tailwinds on both legs. In addition, you are gaining an hour or two on each leg, so the daytime is increased, reducing the nightime flying. The shortend of this decision is headwinds across the North Atlantic; however, the legs are shorter, between 500 and 700 nautical miles each.
3. What do you eat and how do you go to the potty are the two most asked questions.
Food: I usually prepare a sandwich, cookies, apples and some sweets/candy for the last hour. Because there is no physical exercise, I don't need to eat much. I spread out the eating and usually take short snacks. I take over a litre/quart of water and usually drink most of it, especially when it's hot.
The potty story is on the Women's page, near the bottom.
4. What is the most memorable part of the trip? What is you enjoy the most?
The openness and helpfulness of the flying and pilot community. People I didn't even know have emailed me with information, advise and have offered to put me up in their homes when I arrive in their country and city. They've helped me with flight planning, local information and with customs and obtaining avgas. The flying and visiting different countries has been interesting, but meeting so many wonderful and helpful people has been heartwarming. After all the bad news we see on television and in the newspapers every day, it's been rewarding to see so much spontaneous help all around the world. I thank all those who have helped me and those who have emailed with words of encouragement. You've helped me more than you will ever know.
5. How much IFR flying did you have to do?
Practically every leg was filed IFR, but I only had clouds on each crossing of the equator, between American Samoa and New Zealand, over Tanzania and Kenya, in Switzerland and France on 2 days, and that's about it. I had months of sunny weather. I'm sure there will be more crossing the North Atlantic, but overall, the weather has been very good.
I'm happy to hear from you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org any ideas, suggestions or flight tips. Thanks.