My wife and I recently returned from a "nearly" Coast to Coast trip in our RV-8. We began our trip at our home airport KAJR, Habersham County Airport near Cornelia, GA. making four intermediate stops. The first was Montecello, AR. then on to Brownwood, TX. where we spent the night due to a delayed start.
The next morning we continued on from Brownwood to Santa Theresa, NM. for fuel then to Blythe, CA. then on to KLVK, Livermore, CA. by detouring around the West side of Edwards, AFB, CA.
I was using Flight Following from Blythe to Livermore (Our Destination) cruising along at 10,500ft when Bakersfield Approach asked my altitude. They were showing me at 3500 and asked me to reset my transponder. That didn't help, so I had to turn off Mode C to avoid confusing them.
Long story short, we ended up safely at Livermore.
If you haven't read the story in Sport Aviation by Lauren Paine about the EAA (and RV) guys at KLVK, please dig it up and read it. It will give you some background on the guys!
They are truely some of the greatest people that I have met in aviation. A couple of the guys mentioned in the article steered me to "JR" at Precision Static Testing to see what had happened to my transponder.
I talked to Carolina in the office and found out it was a busy week for JR, but we finally met up at the airplane about 6:30 on a Fri. afternoon. He got out his test set and determined that the transponder was toast.
He had a nearly new spare KT-76A at his hangar. He installed it and it worked great and using his equipment, determined that the encoder was working perfectly.
As I was trying to figure out what to do, JR said "why don't you fly back to Georgia with this one and UPS it back to me when you get home?"
When I recovered from my speechless state, I said that I probably could fly back without a transponder by staying out of busy airspace. He insisted that I take it and ship it back when I got home.
When he finished the checkout, I tried to pay him for coming out and for all the work he did, but he wouldn't take any money. His story was; "I used to ferry aircraft for a living. I've been stuck on the road many times and it's no fun. Just ship it back to me when you get home."
Folks, you don't meet many people like JR. If you ever need Static Testing in the Bay Area, call Carolina or JR at Precision Static Testing. He will travel within reason to your airport to do the work. Phone 925-449-5904.
The visit with my son was good. The only remarkable thing on the return trip was flying over the Sierras from Livermore to Kingman, AZ. at 17,500ft
and visiting my daughters in Austin, (Lockhart) TX.
ps. Wish I was computer literate enough to attatch photos.