Sealand Aviation Blog

TRACE Engines: Taking the Beaver to Texas

5 Days travelling across America with a Beaver on a trailer... You know you've travelled a long way from home when people start asking what kind of plane you are towing.

Bill, Nancy and Capi, the Duck Tolling Retreiver, left Campbell River for Texas early on the July 1 weekend, after the crew put in long hours and late nights getting the Beaver ready for the installation of a TRACE OE600A engine in Midland Texas.  The wiring is in, the instruments are installed as far as possible,the interior is in, the tip tanks installed, etc etc.  All that is really left to do is the paint and the engine installation.

The Beaver, on the "shop gear" was on the trailer, the wings on top of the truck, and the wheel gear loaded in the back, along with the luggage, the dog food and the cooler for water.  The standard cab had enough room for Bill, Nancy, Capi and the electronics, the water bottles and water dish.  The temperature in Texas is about 100 degrees F.

The first stop was Ellensburg Washington. The town is famous for its rodeos. The motel room looked like it had seen a few rodeos, but was freshly painted. What we quickly discovered was that, with the tip tanks installed, there was not enough clearance between the wings and the fuselage to allow tight turns to the left.

Day 2 we headed for Billings Montana. We were running at about 65 mph, slow enough to check out the other traffic and their interesting tows, like the ultralight, and the glider, and the truck towing a trailer carrying a sizeable rock that appeared to be an asteroid. Then there was a car parked beside the road that was towing a cannon, presumably because it was the 4th of July weekend. 

Day 3 got us to just south of Denver, at 7000 feet, watching a thunderstorm build and break.

Day 4 took us to just North of Midland, travelling down from 5000 feet to 3000 feet in dust storms, intense heat and crosswinds. It was too hot to leave the dog in the car, the restaurants were closed because of the holiday, and the motel was somewhat lacking in everything but a big parking lot. But the pizza was good, the aircraft was safe, and it rained.

Day 5 we arrived triumphantly at TRACE Engines manufacturing facility in Midland, Texas.  We drove immediately to the paintshop to drop off everything but the fuselage, then went back to TRACE and unloaded the trailer.

Some of the crew at TRACE had never been close up and personal with a Beaver, and wasted no time in getting to know their way around.


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