Photo by Randy
Walt Snyder (left) explains the configuration of his cross-country
Quicksilver to Bill Kortens and Jsun Laliberte.
August 1, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
- Flying from California here to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 in a
small plane would be adventure enough for almost anyone.
Now imagine making the trip in what amounts to
an open seat hanging suspended beneath a wing—no floor, no walls, no
“It’s just like sitting on your porch
swing,” Walt Snyder said.
And for this pilot from Newport Beach,
California, this style of long distance travel is old hat.
AirVenture 2009 marks Snyder’s third time on
the very same adventure.
The Sport 2S is a completely open,
strut-braced sport airplane. Shortly after completing his Quicksilver
Sport 2S in 2007, he set out for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Other than some additional fuel capacity and
some control panel changes, the Quicksilver is completely stock.
Not quite ready to go home after the 2007
convention, Snyder continued his trip eastbound and flew on to Maryland.
After flying 5,700 miles and visiting 75 airports, he was back at his
But Snyder was only getting started.
In 2008 he flew to Florida for the Sun ’n
Fun Fly-In, continuing south to the Florida Keys—and then starting the
trip back to AirVenture Oshkosh 2008.
After Oshkosh 2008 he again continued east
with a visit to New York and a flight around the Statue of Liberty.
Snyder did plan a special course for his
return flight from New York.
“I wanted to go through Colorado and land at
Leadville Airport, which is at 9,997 feet,” he said.
“On a plane like this you have so many
people saying that you can’t fly above 2,000 feet or that you can’t
fly any more than 75 miles from a point,” Snyder went on to say. “I
thought that would prove that yes you can; you can do it.”
Snyder doesn’t plan to take that route
“The [Quicksilver] went to 12,500 feet, and
there wasn’t any problem with that,” he recalled, “but it was pretty
turbulent for a plane like this in some of the passes I went through.”
“If I had to do it again I would, but I do
this for enjoyment, and I don’t like being that tense in an airplane
like this for 30 or 40 minutes.”
True to tradition, Snyder again plans to
continue on to New York after the 2009 convention ends Sunday.
In the 600 hours and 18,000 miles he has
logged in the plane, Snyder never has had a problem with the Quick’s
The only issue has been weather. Snyder shared
one weather experience about the trip home in 2008: “Going across the
Arizona desert coming home from Sun ’n Fun the head winds were just too
“I was down to 20 or 22 miles per hour
(across the ground). “I knew I couldn’t make the next fuel stop, so I
put it down on the desert, rolled out my sleeping bag, to wait it out.
“I knew it would be dead calm in the
Ultimately the sleeping bag was not necessary,
thanks to a friendly native who watched Snyder land and invited him in for
When asked what adventure might be next Snyder
said, “After this trip I think I’ve done everything I wanted to do
with this airplane.
“In terms of long cross-countries this might
be the last one.”
Snyder’s Quicksilver is on display at the
Quicksilver booth in the Ultralight area.