I’ve just returned to BLM, NJ after a bit of an odyssey - a trip from home to Pittsburgh PA, Chicago IL, Oshkosh WI, Omaha NE, Denver CO, Douglas WY, Billings MT, Portland OR, Crescent City CA, San Francisco CA, San Diego CA, St. George UT, La Junta CO, Kansas City MO, Columbus OH, Wheeling WV and finally back home.
In all, the trip spanned three weeks, about 59 hours on the meter, of which better than 50 was in the air.
Some of the flights were in extremely hot conditions, prompting me to remove the landing light (N84MR is an SR20) in an attempt to improve cooling. If it made a difference, it wasn’t an obvious one. Keeping the nose low, speed up, and boost pump on, seemed to help the most. Oil temp often went to 220 anyway, and it was rare to see it lower than 190 even in LOP cruise.
On one leg, from SGU (St. George) to LHX (La Junta), I was cleared from 15,000 feet (as filed) to 16,000 (to take a “short cut” I had requested). The climb up to 15,000’ had me wondering whether I could REACH 16,000’ - it had taken me 12 minutes to climb the last 600 feet (i.e. 50 fpm). I did get to 16,000, although by the end of the climb, I was doing MAYBE 20 fpm. This was a comfortable altitude at which to cross that portion of the Rockies (except for the O2 stuck up my nose), but I was starting to wonder about the claimed service ceiling – until I did a density altitude calculation. With 30.25" HG in the Colesman window, and the OAT at 42F (5.5C), the D.A. was better than 18,000.