PAPG to KPCS June 12, 2021
Not many photos to share on this section. Was busy flying.
Take off was before the sun crested the eastern skyline. Morning dew was everywhere and rather heavy. Cool crisp morning requiring a jacket.
From flying the night before and the temp was 22° F, decided to wear warmer clothing for the flight down the British Columbia Coastal Mountains. Flight was going to be at 11,500ft cruising altitude.
T-shirt, long sleeve button down, and a light weight jacket should keep me warm, don’t want to run the cabin heater because of the King Crab Legs.
Soon after take off and about 75-miles southeast of Petersburg, noticed some scatter clouds ahead. Okay, no issue they were forecast but supposed to be later in the day. I’m well above their tops and should be able to stay that way.
Almost 700-miles on continuous mountains, no roads and very few airstrips. Today’s flight was going to be different. Planned to land at Sandpoint, Idaho [KSZT]. This means crossing the Coastal Mountains and eventually flying over interior British Columbia. Quesnel, Williams Lake, Kamloops> areas.
Approaching the border of Canada and Alaska, I called Anchorage and asked for flight following. This is a big help when crossing the border, even if doing an over flight trip, not landing in Canada.
Crossed the border and continued on. Few clouds soon turned into scattered. The tops well below my path.
Approaching the half way point of the route, the clouds soon became worse than forecast. Soon a decision had to be made: Descend or try to out climb the fast rising clouds. Outside temp was well above forecast at this level. In Canada if you go above 13,500ft you need to be on an IFR Flight Plan. My RV-6 is VFR. In the several cockpit photos during this trip, you’ll notice what instruments I do have.
My location was very near the valley and lower lands of the interior Canada.
My decision was easy, descend and check the lower levels. Nice big open area to descend through and the RV and I were below the bases.
The bumps began.
Been out of radio contact for a while, re-established contact with Vancover. Then I called for a weather check with Kamloops.
Talk about accurate forecasters, the Kamloops crew on every flight have been 100%.
One time I delayed in Petersburg because the lady forecaster said that day would be bad for Convection. We don’t get much Convection in Alaska.
The call was made. Bad news: Sand Point was overcast and raining. Not what was forecast. Time to change flight plan. Omak, Washington [KOMK] was open.
Revised flight plan.
New route: back towards the mountains. Rather be above them, BUT, clouds in the way.
Look some valleys heading in my direction.
I have a printed USA VFR Wall Chart and also the Alaska VFR Wall Chart made into small booklets that open as map books. They saved my bacon on this trip.
The Alaska version has the whole coastal British Columbia section to Orcas Island as an inset. Could wish for a better scale, but I was able to decide my route. Yes, the GPS and iPad had navigation stuff, but I’m old school and when I get into issue revert to the old ways. I know maps and can read easier than a screen.
Plus you can mark and follow your progress without a bunch of typing. Lot easier to draw a line and follow when under increased workload.
Bumpy would be an understatement. Lots of deviations due to base and tops of mountains.
Mountains and Valleys with clouds:
Finally time to call Seattle and cross the border. The next call was Seattle radio for weather. Pendleton, OR was open as was all of Washington state except for the coast.
Changed plan to KPDT, Pendleton, OR. Fuel prices cheaper than WA. Range from PAPG to KPDT was right at 1011 s. miles well within my range.
At 9500ft it was bumpy. Hot and bumpy. An air show at Mosses Lake just ended, okay to fly past without any deviations.
A huge dust devil to the right. At the very top, at my level was a glider thermalling.
Soon the bumps and the heat began to take a toll around the 6.5 hour mark. Kept water in my makeshift cooler, but I drank those hours ago. Upset stomach from coffee and non-conventional breakfast added issues with the heat.
Had been sweating for some time. Then it quit. Began to get light headed. I've had some really good Wilderness First Responders classes and I knew this was bad! Thought process was continue to KPDT but decided to divert and get on the ground at Pasco, WA [KPSC].
Called and made the change, quick turn the west and I was soon in the pattern. When calling entering downwind the tower said I was #2 after a regional jet on a 9-mile final.
Oh boy, hot bumpy wasn’t going to end. Then the tower asked if I wanted to land in front of the jet. Was just approaching the point in a RV-6 where you do your before landing checks.
Yes, I would take that option. Landed, asked for transit parking. Super close already pointed at it while taxing off the main.
Parked jumped out and began shedding clothing, it was over 100° F. Big shock to my system.
Dug through some survival bags, got more water out and drank and poured over my head.
After cooling off, got a hotel for the day and air conditioned myself back to normal. Was planning continuing to Idaho. Not going to happen after the shock of the heat I was going to be dealing with.
Oh, the King Crab? No, way to leave out in that heat. Took to the hotel room, placed in bath tub and raided the ice machine to pile ice around it. Only one more day till it would be in a freezer-if it hasn’t thawed.