The head of Magnus Aircraft's US representative office chose an unconventional but adventurous way to deliver a Fusion 212 aircraft to its new owner some 6,000 km from the company's headquarters in Florida to Seattle, Washington. Instead of the traditional "wheeled" delivery, Andréka Doma delivered the Fusion on wings, a move that won praise even from the US industry, which is used to interstate flights.
6000 kilometres, 36 hours flown in 5 days. Across 11 states, 16 airport stops, 570 litres of aviation fuel.
The Magnus blog reports on the longest ferry flight in the brand's history in a two-part interview series.
Let's start at the beginning. How long have you been flying the Fusion?
I first became involved with Magnus Aircraft in 2015, when I started flying as a passenger. I quickly fell in love with both flying and the Fusion 212 aircraft. I finally started my PPL training in Texas in 2019 and received my US rating in December 2020. I am the first in Magnus Aircraft's history to complete my entire PPL training on a Fusion.
Previously, before your ominous ferry flight, what was your longest trip in the U.S.?
I already flew a Fusion 212 from Daytona Beach, Florida to Los Angeles, California last December. It took two days, so it was a twenty-two-hour long flight. It was my first such “marathon” flight, but - thanks to the increased interest in Fusion planes - I flew almost 500 hours last year on the many interstate flights (mostly cross-country flights). I arranged demo flights in Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Colorado several times.
And then a 6,000-kilometers flight that crosses the United States follows straight from that?
Not quite. The story begins with a gentleman from across the country telling me that he would very much like to buy a Fusion airplane. I have my own policy to personally deliver each plane and fly at least 5 hours with the new owner and his instructor to help him get to know the plane and get some experience with the new owner. This gave me the idea for the trip.
What was the customer's first reaction when you told him that his new plane would not arrive disassembled in a box, but that you would fly it for him?
He was not particularly surprised. In the USA, it's more commonplace to hop on a plane on one side of the country and fly over to the other side. I did six demo flights during the trip. Many of the customers I demoed with tipped their hats to the fact that, wow, to fly so much in such a small plane. Even in the US many people don't want to embark on such a journey.
Specifically, how long did it take you to prepare for the ferry flight? What phases did you put together when planning the flight?
In total, I spent just over a week planning. First of all, I looked at whether it was possible to fly over the mountains on the west side, or how to get around them. If you draw a straight line between Daytona Beach and Seattle, the easiest way is to fly practically northwest. On the other hand, with the Fusion, because it has an unpressurized cabin, it is virtually impossible to fly over such high ground, so I chose the southern route, where there is less terrain to contend with. The major milestones of the trip were Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and then Los Angeles, California. There I turned to north, and from there I flew almost along the coast. Later, I went a little further inland to the middle of the state, avoiding Seattle’s very busy airspace from the west, because I had to take the plane to the north of the city.
How did you plan the rest stops and layovers?
First, I usually put together the route, in which units I will fly the given distance, where I’m going to stop to refuel, where I will spend the night if necessary. I usually include other airports between each refueling points or breaks, so if something happens, I'd rather land there instead, or if I'm feeling a bit tired I'll stop a bit earlier than I planned. So even on the way, I may reschedule my journey slightly, as the situation requires.
Did such a rescheduling occur during the ferry flight?
Yes, I had to land in New Mexico to refuel, but the wind was so strong I said I won’t continue the flight that day. Especially when I saw the weather forecast that by the next dawn this wind will subside (calm down) and the flying conditions would be much better, so I said OK, unfortunately I would lose about 5-6 hours of flying today, but it was better to tie up here, have a rest and then leave the next morning.
Doma Andreka talks about cross-country flights, the busiest airspaces, the most exciting moments of the journey – such as the Hollywood Sign - and the arrival in the next part of the interview. Stay tuned!