Aviation is experiencing a backcountry boom. Bush flying has become increasingly popular as more pilots are equipping themselves and their aircraft for remote aviation adventures. Garmin ambassador and STOL (short takeoff and landing) competitor Trent Palmer is one of the many reasons backcountry aviation has become so popular. He gave us insights into his patriotically-painted Kitfox, his trip to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, and his upcoming aviation adventures.
“We spent six days getting here. We went from Reno, Nevada, all the way into Rawlins, Wyoming — more than 700 miles with some slow planes … the next day was into Lincoln, Nebraska, a hot one and long one. Then from there we went to Madison, Wisconsin, and hung out there for an extra day for the Rock the Ramp party,” Palmer said. “We then popped over to the Wisconsin Dells … and from there we flew past Oshkosh over to New Holstein for the Super Cub fly-in. A bunch of the guys we were with did the STOL demo, and then we went right into Oshkosh.”
Last October, Trent upgraded his Kitfox—nicknamed FreedomFox—with a Rotax 915is engine, an MT propeller, and our G3X Touch flight display, G3X autopilot for experimental aircraft and GMC 507 autopilot mode controller. He also uses several VIRB Ultra 30 action cameras to capture his backcountry adventures.
“I’ve never had an autopilot and I never thought I would like an autopilot, but having everything in one unit right in front of me is the nicest thing ever. Being able to hit the autopilot, wings level, is the best thing since sliced bread as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I’m also running a forward-facing camera, so I’m using the external video input, and every time I’m taxiing, I’m taxiing through the G3X Touch essentially as if it was a backup camera.”
Those VIRBs attached to the FreedomFox aren’t just for taxiing either, they’re an essential part of any video or photo production.
“On this trip I had three Garmin VIRBs; one set up as a master, which was linked to the G3X Touch, the other ones were all slaves, so I would trigger both videos and photos through the G3X Touch,” he added.
So, what’s next for Trent?
“The wife and I are working on building a house on our property that has an airstrip on it, then we have the STOL Drag Races at the Reno Air Races that I’ll be competing in. Then after that I’ve got the High Sierra Fly-In in October.”