My adventures have taken place in a great variety of aircraft, chosen to suit the trip at hand. In more recent times I have been fortunate enough to buy my own aircraft, a 1981 Cessna 182 R model, N9953H, and have been modifying it to make it even better suited for long distance, adventure type flights. I bought my first aircraft at the same time as the “Boaty McBoatface” story was playing out in the British media; hence, my aircraft is affectionately known as “Planey McPlaneface”.
When I bought N9953H it was already well set up for long distance exploring; an upgraded 270hp “PPonk” engine with JPI EDM830 engine monitor, 88 gallon fuel tanks (giving an endurance of nearly 8 hours), and a solid instrument setup including a 2-axis S-Tec 30 autopilot and a Garmin GNS430W GPS navigator.
Since acquiring it I have fine tuned it for my purposes with the addition of two Garmin G5 solid state Artificial Horizon and Directional Indicator instruments, allowing me to remove the older, less reliable vacuum powered gyroscopic instruments. The Garmin GTX330 transponder has been upgraded to a Garmin GTX345 ADS-B in/out transponder, and the old Garmin 496 GPS has been replaced with a modern touch-screen Garmin Aera 660. The Garmin GMA340 audio panel was replaced with a PS Engineering PMA450B, and the GNS430W replaced with an Avidyne IFD440.
Rounding off the modifications are a pair of auxiliary fuel tanks from Flint Aero. These provide another 23 gallons, giving the airplane a 10 hour endurance and range of more than 2,000km. Panel-mounted USB charging ports have been added to keep portable devices running on long flights or when out camping.
More recent modifications include Stene Aviation wing-tip LED landing lights.
The next planned upgrade is to replace the Avidyne IFD440 GPS with a new Avidyne IFD540, and install BAS 4-point shoulder harnesses for the pilot and copilot. The existing front seat harnesses will then be moved to the rear seats, so that all occupants have proper crash protection.