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Flew to Italy / First Flat Tire

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Ok, I really didn't exactly fly to Italy, but it was 7.5 hours of flying today, and did blow out a tube on landing.  This post is pure flying report, enjoy!

My employer is based N of Chicago, we have a company summer picnic annually (a Fri-Sat extravaganza including spouses that is three+ parties over two days), enter C-19 and that's out the window.  The owner is working it as virtual event, and will showcase the talent of each employee, about 70 people.  If he was not the successful business owner he is, I swear he'd be a late night TV show host, funniest guy around.  He came up with idea we "fly" around the world visiting our employees, IL, WI, east coast US, UK, Italy, Singapore, west coast US, then back to IL, with comical refueling stops and such along the way.

So with GoPro and cell phones loaded, we hit the sky and flew around several of my co workers homes shooting video and commentary in the IL and WI area up to Milwaukee.  Our fuel stop in Waukesha the fuel guy was gracious to talk with an Italian accent in our "interview" with him, out over Lake MI "crossing the Atlantic" footage, and so much banter such as "where's the bathroom", "ordering meal service", wrong turn to Africa, lots of take off and landing footage and shots for green screen - he's taking this in so many hysterical directions including us putting on real deal flight suits on the tarmac doing the walk from plane and slapping hands like Goose and Maverick in TopGun for the ending credits.  And that's just the short list.

As far as my flight to/from Chicago land, the forecast was decent up to launch this morning, then convective starting popping beyond what I expected.  Working optimum winds aloft I flew ~ 4.5k over with dog leg on lower Lake MI making ~ 50 mile crossing.  With ~130k GS that equates to about :15 of time with wet ditching prospect.  And my ditch kit of lift vest / raft / GPS / com radio was ready for bail out.

Return back flew direct with 80 mile crossing and no tailwind, maybe 110k GS at 7.5k, lower was headwind.  This is where I'm really appreciating ADS-B weather, the new EFIS, Ipad, and the performance / endurance of the CT.  Stayed in solid VFR and was able skirt a few showers with only a few drops hitting the plane all day.  I'm still learning to match what I see on screen to what is out the window, so thought I'd share a few pictures of both for data points.  I have no desire to fly IFR or push weather, but also see days like this where it becomes worse and closer than expected, and good to have the experience and comfort level.  Ultimately I had solid divert options and frequent airports to duck into along the way.

Landing had the sensation that my strip was rougher than normal, and by the time I was thinking of brakes I knew right tire was flat.  A walk to hanger for jack and tools confirmed tube was leaking but an air up would buy me the needed two minutes of taxi time.  Thank God I was at home and not in the middle of all the days activates with weather bearing down on situation.  This tube was original to plane prior to my ownership and looks like its a cheap one based on valve stem and cap appearance.

Here's some pic's:

Chicago crossing over:


Pic of ADS-B near Lansing:


Corresponding view of weather:


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