5 in the Sky — General Aviation News – General Aviation News | Dauktion

The AirVan at one of the stops during the epic “Edventure”.

The Porter family from Vancouver, Canada – father Ian, mother Michelle, 23-year-old Samantha, 18-year-old Sydney and 15-year-old Christopher – have embarked on an adventure.

In June 2022, the family boarded a single-engine airplane called “Moose” and set off to see the world.

The Porter family’s “expedition,” as eldest daughter Samantha calls it, is not a typical general aviation circumnavigation, but takes a scenic route.

While most general aviation circumnavigators try to circumnavigate the globe as quickly as possible, the Porter family, who call themselves 5 in the Sky, have planned 14 months for their journey.

They first flew north from their home base in Vancouver, then over the far northern reaches of their country before turning south again in Newfoundland to pick up EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 in Wisconsin. Then it was off to Florida.

Christopher, Samantha and Sydney at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022.

They will spend the rest of this year working their way south and circumnavigating South America before turning north again, traversing the middle of the United States and arriving back in Canada next summer for the “warm” season of the North Atlantic cross . Then they work their way through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and finally fly back home via the Bering Sea and Alaska.

But that’s just the rough draft. The exact itinerary is an organic, flexible thing, controlled to some degree by the weather as they fly VFR and fuel prices, as well as the cost of accommodation.

More importantly, they are open to discovering interesting detours. For the 5 in the Sky, it’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Plans for the epic flight began before the youngest of the siblings was born, although parents Ian and Michelle didn’t know they were planning it at the time.

It started simply with a decision about their children’s education. The parents decided not to send their children to private schools but to public schools and to use the money saved for some kind of future educational adventure for the family.

“We’ve generally been living below our means, driving older cars etc and always telling the kids that the money saved by not throwing the latest and greatest gadget will eventually go towards their education or similar support. ” Says Jan.

In fact, they originally dubbed the trip “Family Edventure.” Ian says the idea of ​​making the Edventure a global aerial circumnavigation originally came to him, inspired by his service as co-pilot on a charity fundraiser flight in Chile and Argentina and as pilot on another charity flight in Canada and Alaska.

“During the flights, I felt like I could spend more time at the places we stopped and also share the experience with family,” he says.

He adds that his wife, Michelle, “wasn’t surprised” when he suggested the idea, “as I’m always coming up with a new plan.”

The parents then “chatted with the kids, and after answering questions and discussing, they all stood aside.”

That’s Canadian for on board.

That year, the children’s ages and educational backgrounds sort of coincided, and it was time to launch Edventure.

Middle child Sydney had just graduated from high school and will delay starting college for a year.

The youngest child, Christoper, is still in high school but thanks to COVID has the opportunity to stay in school on the go via Zoom. He says he’s pretty confident he’ll learn more about the world flying around it in 14 months than he would learn about it in the same amount of time in a classroom.

Eldest daughter Samantha is missing out on summer internship opportunities and briefly put her senior year at the University of British Columbia on hold, but admits it’s a small price to pay for the trip.

SOS in a good sense

Realizing they were doing something that would draw attention — they could be the first whole family to fly around the world together in a single-engine airplane — the family realized they had an opportunity to benefit more than just themselves , and decided to connect with a charity to raise money and raise awareness.

The family chose SOS Children’s Villages, an Austria-based non-profit organization focused on providing humanitarian and developmental assistance to children in need worldwide.

Though the nonprofit has been around since World War II, it’s “not a well-known charity” in Canada and the US, says Ian, who adds that he hopes their “big family adventure” can help raise awareness of the charity as well as money collect to support his operations.

A camera on the wing captures the 5 in flight in the sky.

Unlike many plane stunt fundraisers where the majority of the donations fund the flight and a small percentage goes to the charity, 5 in the Sky donates 100% of the funds raised to SOS. (Not that they’d turn down any corporate sponsor who wants to help them with gas and oil for the flight.) They’re hoping to raise a cool $1 million for SOS in the process. They’ve grossed about $20,000 so far, and the journey has only just begun.

The fly

According to Ian, they’ve already seen some amazing sights.

“We flew in the middle of the night under the brilliant arctic midnight sun, saw polar bears and beluga whales and flew over the icebergs in Iceberg Alley in Newfoundland,” he says.

And the children are already making little discoveries about how people live in different countries. Sydney was dismayed to discover that her favorite snack, ketchup chips, is unknown in the US and that Skittles aren’t filled with chocolate here.

Flight duties are shared by Ian, Samantha and Sydney.

Flying duties are shared by Ian, Samantha and Sydney, who all hold private pilot certificates, although insurance requirements only allow the daughters to fly as right-hand seat pilots and only while their father is in the left-hand seat.

The seat layout in the Moose – a 2013 Australian-made Gippsaero GA8 AirVan – is 2+2 with the fifth seat in the aft cone of the cabin. This “sniper” slot is home to Christoper, who says he doesn’t mind sitting in the back as that’s where he gets the most legroom.

The family on the plane.

Although the AirVan is Australia’s answer to the caravan, there’s still a limit to what you can take when you have five people on board. As such, each family member is limited to 20 pounds of personal gear, including clothing, shoes, toiletries, personal items and the bag itself. The kids say they sometimes trade pounds with each other to make things work.

In a cargo pod on Moose’s belly, the family share some gear, including photography gear, a drone, minimal camping gear, computers, tools, and a survival kit and raft.

Also crammed into the capsule are two backup aircraft: ultralight paragliders. Ian is an avid paraglider and certified paragliding instructor. In the Yukon, under the midnight sun, he says he’s flown one of the paragliders “that took off one day and landed the next!”

The AirVan underwent a full annual inspection just prior to the launch of 5 in the Sky, but on a 14-month voyage, one more is needed before circumnavigating the world. Current plans call for getting one in the US or Canada next spring when they return to that part of the continent before crossing the Atlantic.

Moose has already had two oil changes, one in Quebec before reaching AirVenture and a second in Florida the week after AirVenture. The 5 have spare oil filters with them and are planning the next oil change in Argentina or Chile.

nutrition of the family

Family members agreed that food and lodging are the “biggest logistical challenge” of their expedition. They have spent nights in terminals and others in hotel rooms where someone has lost out and slept on the floor. They don’t have the capacity for a full cooking set, so one day the family ate trail mix and drank water. For all three meals.

Ian adds that outside the US, getting from the airport to the nearest city is difficult. He calls US airports “beautifully equipped” and is particularly pleased with our tradition of crew cars at many airports.

“We’ve also been housed a couple of times and have enjoyed staying with people in their homes, with laundry facilities and home-cooked meals, although that makes it a lot harder to keep going,” he says.

If you would like to donate to SOS Relief, there is a link on the family’s website at 5intheSky.com. If you want to know where the 5 in the Sky are right now, click on the tracker link to see where they are in real time in the world.

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