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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by birdus, Jan 30, 2021.
Keep them coming!
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 8
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 9
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 10
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 11
Just saw this thread, apologies in advance for being late
For those of you using Lemon Pledge, be careful as it attracts bees. My CFI years ago was wondering why there were always bees near the plane at start up (he deathly allergic). I used water only (FBO wanted Pledge) after that and no more bees ...
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 12
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 13
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 14
A place to land no matter which way the wind blows !
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 15
Popped some popcorn and watching now. I didn't remember the radio failure from your thread. I've been waiting for 15 weeks now for the spinner to fall off.
I hope you're patient. That's still a ways out.
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 16
The idea was to fly to the airports with the 6 shortest runways in Washington:
— Camano Island (13W): 1,750
— First Air Field, Monroe (W16), runway 25: 1,587
— Cashmere-Dryden (8S2), runway 25: 1,656
— Woodland (W27), runway 14: 1,663
— Strom Field (39P), runway 25: 1,610
— Shady Acres (3B8), runway 34: 1,600
My plane had been out of comission for a long time and so I felt like I had to make up for lost time. Trying to hit all these runways in a day would be a great adventure, I figured. Not wanting to be earthbound any longer, I didn't change my plans due only to a little heat. I got up at 4AM and was in the air by 6.
One of two long legs, my first stop was Camano Island. It was a little difficult to even find the runway, but I circled a bit and located it. My pattern was tight and I was high. I slipped to lose some altitude on short final. I bounced the landing, but made some adjustments and the final touchdown was okay. Staying on the rudder pedals kept me on the pavement. Length wasn't an issue. As at every stop, I got out of the plane, stretched, had a snack, and shot some video and a picture or two.
Leg two, a pretty short hop over to Monroe, was pleasant. I even saw some hot air balloons along the way. Winds allowed me to land 25. As that is the shorter direction, that's what I wanted. That's the shorted public runway in the state. Piece of cake. Frankly, though, if you hit the numbers, just about anyone could land their plane there. Give it a try!
Leg three was another pretty short hop. I enjoyed flying up the Skykomish river and found Skykomish State Airport with ease. Surrounded by trees and mountains, it's impossible to miss. My plan was to take a close look at the runway and decide if I wanted to give it a shot. I decided I would go for it. My first approach was way high. A go around was the only option, by a long shot. I used that as an excuse to get a closer look at the departure end of the runway. Second time looked good. That approach from the east, though, is insane. I dropped in over the trees in a pretty aggressive slip, but I had the runway made. As I got close to the ground, I noticed the grass was longer than a putting green. Although it wasn't hot yet, it was warm. The west end of the runway does have trees and buildings, too. It wasn't optimal. Being a low-time pilot in a plane that's less than a rocket ship, I abandoned the idea. I'll go back again when it's cooler and try again. It probably would've worked out fine, but that's what I did. No regrets about that decision.
Next, on to Cashmere. Flying past the Stuart Range was awesome. So far, the air had been pretty smooth, for the most part. Once past Mt. Stuart, I hung a left and enjoyed coasting downhill all the way to Cashmere. Other than almost running over an ultralight over the town, the approach and landing were straightforward.
The departure was no problem, either. I made a right turnout (runway 25) and flew low over the Wenatchee River until getting to Wenatchee. I climbed up above pattern altitude and flew over the field to look at the windsock and decide which way to land. Pangborn Memorial's runway is slightly larger—7,000 ft x 150 ft. I made it. Phew! This was my first fuel stop. I also ate the half-PBJ that I had made that morning and polished off the Rainier cherries I'd brought with me. My Mt. Dew was getting warm, so I took one last swig and threw the rest away. Very sad.
The next leg was to be the most varied one of the day. It would also be pretty long and would end with an attempted landing at Tieton State, another new airport for me. I started out by flying low over the Columbia River, a real pleasure. I then flew up I-90 toward Ellensburg, hanging a left and flying low over the Yakima River Canyon. I'd flown over it on my second solo cross country last summer, but that was a few thousand feet up. The bends of the river through the canyon were much tighter than they'd appeared from high above, but it was a blast—except for a big downdraft at one point and some turbulence near the south end. I enjoyed seeing the rafters and folks enjoying the river on their innertubes. There are a few places I've flown over that really make me want to go back for a rafting trip or to rent a houseboat: Big Bend National Park (the Rio Grande River), Lake Powell, and now the Yakima River, Rimrock Lake, Swift Reservoir, Yale Lake, and Lake Merwin. Yesterday, I was really wishing I was in the water!
As I got to the neighborhood of Tieton State Airport, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. The terrain was much more rugged than I had imagined and my little Luscombe absolutely did NOT have an excess of power. I couldn't see the airstrip until I was almost on top of it. I decided that the obvious landing direction was from over the water. It's a MUCH easier approach. In more optimal conditions, I'd love to try it from the other direction, but not this time. Not an ice cube's chance in hell! I went for the easy approach. On long final, I verbally told myself I HAD to land. No go around. Definitely no go around. Rugged, rising terrain, high density altitude—absolutely had to set it down.
My approach was solid, but on short final I began getting rocked pretty hard with turbulence. I was giving huge inputs into the controls. Not really strange for the Luscombe, as big inputs don't always do much. I also had to add a pretty good dose of throttle. The wind was trying to throw me into the trees and the ground at various stages. With plenty of runway length and an uphill slope, however, I knew I had lots of time to get my bird down safely. I landed with room to spare. I parked in some shade and relaxed for a while. That had been a challenging leg, and I needed to rest and recharge.
After the tricky landing, I was somewhat concerned about the departure. There were a couple potential problems. Density altitude was on the high side, and grass would offer extra rolling resistance. I was also worried about that turbulence. On the plus side, I'd be taking off downhill, 2,500 feet was pretty lengthy, and I really only just had to have my wheels off the grass by the time I got to the lake. I back taxied well beyond the end of the runway and let 'er rip. That ground was quite rough, but I really wanted all the space I could get. It was a wild ride, but I got off the ground with room to spare. Taking off over the lake was exciting, and thankfully that excitement wasn't due to turbulence.
Partially because of the heat, but mostly because of the turbulence that I'd experienced before, I decided that, upon taking off from Tieton State, I would start climbing and would just continue climbing. Turns out that was a good decision because I had to get around Goat Rocks Wilderness. As I approached that incredibly rugged terrain, I was getting bounced around some. Between the bumps and having to get past that brutal terrain, I really wasn't having a good time. I would be glad to be past that ridgeline. I turned slightly south and opted not to go right over the center of the mountains, but over a saddle covered with fir trees. I had plenty of clearance and, after getting on the other side, I felt quite relieved. The view out my right window was awesome, Mt. Rainier providing a stunning backdrop to the already-awesome mountains right off my wing.
At around 8,000 feet, I was very comfortable, almost too cool. Loving to fly low over lakes and rivers, however, got the better of me. I descended thousands of feet and flew over Swift Reservoir, Yale Lake, and Lake Merwin. It was fun, but it was frickin' hot!
Part 2 in next post...
Having landed at Woodland before a few times, I wasn't worried. Well, maybe a little about departing, but not enough to keep me from landing there. There happens to be a giant tree there and I parked in its shade. It may have been better than being in direct sunlight, but it was still frickin' hot! Wind and departure path dictated I take off 32. I just didn't want to be another Mooney. I got off with room to spare.
At that point, there was only one thing on my mind—climbing as fast as I could. Climbing to an altitude where I wouldn't be miserable anymore. I didn't care about the joy of flying low over a river (which had been the plan). All I cared about was stopping the roasting. I climbed up to 4,600 and headed towards Curtis for the fly-in. I was looking forward to relaxing for a few hours and waiting for the temperatures to drop before I finished my day. I got there about 3PM. I met some nice people, ate some good food, drank lots of lemonade with lots of ice in it, rested—and roasted.
I figured I'd stay until around 7 when the temperatures were more comfortable and my plane would perform better for departure. My phone told me that it wouldn't get much below 99 until around dark. Fudgecicle! I got the lowdown on the departure from a local. You couldn't see it, but apparently there was a gap in the trees you could fly through and you only had to be high enough to clear a fence. I have to admit I was worried. I was low on fuel, so at least I had that going for me—I was light. I back taxied to the north and got my wits about me. The plane was ready to go and I was as ready as I'd ever be. I made sure the carb heat was pushed in all the way, firewalled the throttle and turned the lock knob. I pushed the stick full forward since I really wanted maximum thrust and minimum drag. Really. Somewhat surprisingly, I was off by probably the half-way point of the 2,135-foot grass strip. That was a pleasant surprise! I didn't even need to aim for the gap. I banked left and went right over the tops of the tall fir trees.
I made a bee-line for Toledo to top up the tanks, in preparation for hitting the last couple airports of the day. It was about 6:30. After filling up, I started my engine. Oil pressure was really low—even lower than I'd expect on a hot day. I should've caught this before taking off from Curtis, but maybe I was distracted by what I thought would be a scary departure. Using a bit of self-discipline, I turned off the engine, undid my seat belt, took off my headset, climbed back out of the plane, retrieved my stubby, slotted screwdriver, unlatched the cowling, got a couple paper towels, removed the dipstick, and checked the oil level. I'd burned two quarts of oil so far on the trip! It wasn't even reading on the dipstick. Yes, I am aware that could've made the departure from Curtis even more exciting. I had one quart with me. I emptied it into the C-85's oil tank. At least now it was touching the dipstick!
Although I'd wanted to hit all 6 of the short runways in a day, I was tired, it was hot, and I was now thinking about my oil. Oh, yeah. And I'd lost a camera off my left wing (fudgecicle!!!), and a filter off another camera. The adhesives I use to keep those mounted had melted. AND a few of my memory cards had just been depleted! I'm a video/photo nut, and I really wanted to get footage of all my short-runway landings. The universe was conspiring against me. I decided it wasn't critical that I hit all the runways in a single day. I would regroup and hit the last couple runways on another day. I'd actually already landed at Morton, but would come back again with my current video setup.
So, I set a course direct to Thun field. The final leg of the day was uneventful. Although the sun was getting low in the sky, when I opened the door of my car, it was as though I'd opened the door of an oven. After leaving the doors open for a bit, I started the engine and turned on the AC. I was happy to be home. I spent a while moving all my junk from the plane to the car, and buttoning up the plane. Getting into the air conditioned car was nice. Kinda like flying several thousand feet up!
And so, while I didn't accomplish what I'd set out to do—landing at those 6 airports, the ones with the shortest runways in Washington State—I'd had a great adventure. I landed at 5 new airports (Camano Island, First Field, Cashmere, Tieton State, and Curtis), flew over challenging terrain, had my airmanship stretched some, and had my decision-making exercised. And to top it all off, I didn't kill myself or break my plane. Bonus!
What a beautiful state, and gorgeous photos.
Shortest public use airport in IL is 2000', but with no trees, mountains or lakes, it's easier just make it the length you want.
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 17
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 18
Awesome, Jay. Thanks. Keep them coming.
Luscombe Road Trip 2020 | Part 19