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Supercubbing to Sturgis, SD


Staff member
Northwest Arkansas
2001 Sturgis Week

Thursday, I left MKC about 9:30am in 197T on the 567KM route I had chosen to get to 49B. This route I chose on the way up was "conservative" in that I wanted to fly over a lot of airports since the weather was predicted to be marginal, and of course, I would be VFR. This route took me to my first
stop in Fremont, NE, and then up to Yankton, SD, where I took a hard left and headed west along I-90. I passed through a front right as I got to Fremont where I stop for gas. The wind was 20G35 at the airport, but the runways are pretty well aligned so taxing was fun, but otherwise uneventful. After Fremont, I flew at 6500 above a broken layer for most of the way to Yankton, where the broken layer dispersed, and upper layer appeared, and it rained a bit. Still had a 10K ceiling, so it was just a plane wash.

I had been averaging about 95mph on the ground up to Yankton, when I made
the left, I picked up about 10-15mph, which helps you keep up with the bikers on I-90. I stopped at a nice little airport in Chamberlain, SD for fuel and talked with the friendly spray pilot who ran the place. Even though Chamberlain is only about 3500', I started really noticing the performance difference and was glad I was not in a C-150. Now you folks from Alaska who are reading this have already written me off as a greenhorn, which is fair to say when I am anywhere above 1000' and any hill larger than a dirt clod.

The rest of the route to Sturgis was choppy and the change of scenery was interesting. The Sturgis airport I could see from about 40 miles out, which is something we are not used to here in Kansas City (visibility above 3 miles, that is). Just as I was coming in a banner towing spray pilot picked up a Ford banner in his Pawnee. It was really neat to see that operation up
close as the banner pickup is a near aerobatic maneuver. He was a great guy who
is working on a 150hp cub to pull the banners since the Pawnee is like being in
an oven on those 106 degree days up there. I logged 7.6 hours on the hobbs enroute to Sturgis, due to my conservative route.

The folks at 49B were fantastic. I camped right near the plane, as did several other folks, they would run us into town, bring donuts and make coffee in the morning, it was hospitality undeserved, but greatly appreciated. A number of folks came and went via plane for the bike rally, and it is a
great place to hang out.

The rally was pretty amazing. I must say I was prepared for excessive everything, but I was surprised at how well organized the whole event was, and how little problems I saw. There were, zillions of motorcycles and it is a miracle that I never saw an accident. The police are very low key, and just like to keep things moving along. I did take quite a bit of video, some of
it not suitable for small children...

Friday morning I walked into town from the airport (even though they would have given me a ride) which at almost 9 miles, counted for my exercise for a couple days. It was beautiful weather, and it helped clear my head from the night before at the Full Throttle Saloon where motorcycle noise and cigar smoke are alternately deafening and asphyxiating.

I attended the Allman brothers concert at the Buffalo Chip on Friday night.
I hitched a ride in a pickup truck from downtown to take me to the airport to drop off my camera. The airport is about 1.5 miles from the "Chip", so after the concert (another well run, well behaved event) I walked up the hill in the dark back to the airport. I chose to cut across a field which took off about 1/2 mile since I could seen the runway very clearly. Got back to the tent about 1:00am and found out I had some new neighbors who had landed about 1/2 hour before from Seattle. They talked until 2:30am and I enjoyed listening to their conversations which I could hear clearly. The next morning at 5:50 a 172RG fired up and took off, serving as an alarm clock for the rest of us camping. It was then that the Seattle folks looked out of their tents, saw all the other tents, and realized they were not the only ones at the airport. Several of us introduced ourselves with "Hi there, you must be the folks from Seattle in route to Kansas City" which we had garnered from their conversations. Needless to say, we all relished in their embarrassment for quite some time and rubbed it in as necessary.

I called "fright service" and for once in my life got the "all clear" on the route from Sturgis to KC. I called Dana and let her know I was heading out, this time via Mount Rushmore since it was only 20KM south of Sturgis. The maintenance guy at the FBO had told me about a guy who flew into 49B a lot
in a 182 who had a Honda 70 which he had cut in half so he could fit it in his airplane (this was after I told him about my walk to town). I expressed an interest in it, but had forgotten about it. I had JUST fired up the engine and was getting ready to taxi when the FBO guy came over and shut me down.
It seems the guy with the sawed off Honda 70 had just arrived and he knew I would want to see it... So, I shut down and helped this unusual guy unload the passport from his 182. This 182 had one seat - the pilots, it had NEVER been painted and looked like it flew through several of the wars as well as spent some time in the bottom of the ocean. We also unloaded a couple 50 gallon plastic gas cans which he carried around since he liked to be thrifty.

We put the Honda together and he zoomed around the lot. Now I will say for the record that you need something like a 180 or 182 to carry this little motorcycle as it weighs in around 100 pounds. Not to mention the fact that unless you have the stretcher carrying option, you are unlikely to get it
into a supercub. Interesting none the less.

Finally in the air, I head out over Mount Rushmore which frankly from 7000, we a little underwhelming. I got a video shot of it and headed back to the south east. The next part of my trip (about 300KM) took me over the least inhabited territory I have ever flown over. When you hit the "nearest" button on your GPS and it shows 75KM, you know you are out there. Again, you folks in
Alaska are laughing, no doubt. The good news was, I could have landed literally anywhere - usually within 20 or 30 miles of a farmhouse, so it was not a survival issue.

I only made one fuel stop on the way back in Broken Bow Nebraska, ate a Snickers bar and a Pepsi and was back on my way. I stopped in Falls City NE to call my wife and let her know I would be home soon, but since I still had lots of gas, I didn't refuel. The stretch was worth the stop and those of
you who have spent 6 or 7 hours in a Supercub know what I am talking about.

Pulled into KC about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon after exactly 6 hours on the Hobbs with the help of a light tailwind and a direct route across the open country. It was a great trip and I would sure do it again. I would recommend the trip to anyone thinking of going to the rally, it is a curiosity one
must experience at least once...


P.S. This experience has left me thinking we should organize an annual sturgis fly in..

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: steve on 2002-01-21 20:52 ]</font>
Sturgis Run

I'm new here, and though I've flown solo to a few faraway destinations the idea of a gaggle of cubs headed to Sturgis is appealing. I don't know if I'll ever get to AK, but my butt can surely handle Sturgis..Keep me posted for next year..Jeff
May need to use Spearfish for future trips to Sturgis

I flew through the Dakotas this summer (July, 2002) and passed over Sturgis. The airport was closed, and it appeared to be a permanent closure. Spearfish is nearby, and the folks there gave me good service.
Must have been the smoke . . .

The morning I passed Sturgis it was MVFR due to forest fires south of the area, so I'm not surprised that I missed the new airport. Guess I was fixated on trying to figure out what the workers were doing at the closed airport.
Hi SJ -- That was me in the Cessna 310P from Seattle at Sturgis 2001 heading to KC ! Fun to run across this decades later, now planning to cub in pa11 from pdx to sturgis rally.
Hi SJ -- That was me in the Cessna 310P from Seattle at Sturgis 2001 heading to KC ! Fun to run across this decades later, now planning to cub in pa11 from pdx to sturgis rally.

That's awesome! Next time I will take a bigger airplane and an ebike or moped. Too much walking! (and I'm too old for a one wheel).

I have a crazy video from this event somewhere. Mostly it shows how much better video technology is today... :lol:

30lb folding electric scooter - turboant is only $380 and is totally cubbable. ;-)

Wouldn't spearfish and Ray Jilek be a good place for a fly-in? You know, kinda like the Missouri Breaks kick-off. NBAW.
30lb folding electric scooter - turboant is only $380 and is totally cubbable. ;-)

Wouldn't spearfish and Ray Jilek be a good place for a fly-in? You know, kinda like the Missouri Breaks kick-off. NBAW.

They have had a lot of fly ins at Spearfish, it's a great spot. I'd sure go! Maybe we could rent a bunch of Honda Supercubs and make our way over to Sturgis from there. Get some matching hats, maybe learn a formation routine, etc.... :)
Cubbing to Sturgis Rally 2022 planning.

Anybody here flying to Sturgis Rally this 2022 year?

This year I'm planning PDX/KVUO to Sturgis on Aug 4 & 5 in my PA11 and tenting under the wing at the Sturgis airport Friday and Saturday nights. Tenting under the wing near Twin Falls on a southern route looks about right.

Does anyone here know if the airport office will be available to pilots to charge laptops, charge onewheels, water, flight plan, etc.? My PA11 C90 has no electrical system to plug into to charge anything. I'll plan to contact the airport manager also.

I was last there in 2001 for rally with a C310 as a stopover SEA/KPAE to KC, and it was an awesome visit.

Thank you all. Blue skies and adventure! --brad
I bet you could find an outside outlet and water about at any strip, I have anyways. All part of the fun!
I love stopping to overnight at Buhl (U03). The man at the fob there has always gone way beyond to be accommodating. Even moving aircraft out of his shop to keep mine in and warm overnight (January) and let me preflight with lights for an early departure.

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