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Old 06-09-2019, 02:09 AM
ArlingtonRV ArlingtonRV is online now
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Marysville, WA
Posts: 574
Default RV-8 and the 6/8 Lunch

With all the rain we got yesterday I was skeptical that it would clear up enough to fly today, but it turned out to be pretty not bad. I don't think it was bad enough to keep anyone on the ground, there were airplanes everywhere.

In order to fly above the clouds where the air is smooth(er) we had to deviate a little further west than usual to remain clear of the Class B airspace, as opposed to going under it as far as Bremerton. In order to stay clear of the clouds we were at 6,500'. The exciting part about that, northwest of Bremerton, is that is where many large jets enter the Class B headed for SeaTac.

I had a 767 or 777, I'm not sure which, descending on a path in front of me (at least 3 miles away). He started above my altitude moving from my right to my left and descending. I learned my lesson the hard way about wake turbulence and didn't want to go through that again, so I turned to the west to parallel his course, in the opposite direction, and climbed until I got above his altitude so I would go above his wake instead of under (through?) it. That took me to almost 9,000'.

Once I was sure I was clear I turned back to the south and started back down. I was going to go back to 6,500' until Bremerton and then to 7,500', but I was close enough and on a proper heading so I just stayed at 7,500.

There was some concern about finding holes nearer to Chehalis and I almost went below the clouds north of Olympia, but figured it would be really bumpy down there and wanted to put that off as long as possible. We did find some sizeable holes to go through south of Olympia and it was not as bumpy as I expected underneath.

The wind at the ground was doing weird things and wouldn't stay in any one direction for very long so there was some debate over which runway to use (at both destinations). We left Arlington on 16, but when we got to Chehalis the wind sock seemed to favor 34, but there was a Cherokee shooting touch-and-goes on 16, so we fell in line. After landing it was pretty evident that 16 was the better choice.

In order to enter the pattern at Chehalis I went a good bit to the southwest in an effort to let things calm down over the airport and create enough space. As I turned back toward the airport I saw something in the distance that I at first thought was Carl, but it wasn't red and it was headed in the wrong direction. Next I thought it was some kid's balloon that had run away (that happens). Suddenly I realized it was a Bald Eagle coming right at me at warp speed and it looked like he wanted to engage! What had caught my eye was the white on his head. I broke high right and fortunately we missed.

No sooner had I escaped the Eagle than there was a Cessna coming right at me (well, OK, not right at me, but clearly in my flight path), so I had evade him as well. I earned my lunch today, I'll tell ya.

I somehow managed to fail at getting the camera turned on for the return trip, I really thought I turned it on, but the video evidence would indicate otherwise. That is why there is only one leg of the trip on the video.

Coming back the clouds had raised even higher, so I started off heading home at 8,500'. I meandered around a bit, not being in too big a hurry to get home and found myself a few miles to the southwest of Shelton. I had a target on the iPad and suddenly remembered that they had been dropping meat bombs (parachutists) on Shelton. I didn't want to fly right over the airport so I gave it a wide berth. This brought me over the Hood Canal.

Here the clouds were even higher (bunching up over the Olympics) and as I made a turn to take me on a heading east of 360 I climbed to 9,500. As I got close to Bangor I had to go to 11,500 for proper cloud clearance. From here, I was playing tag with Alaska jets going into SeaTac. I had one pass in front of me (at something like 4 miles distant and 2,000' below, but still close enough to see). Not long after there was one above and behind me as well.

Getting back to Arlington the wind was once again not able to make up its mind. I listened to the AWOS a number of times and it kept shifting from 260 @ 7 to 230 @7 to 210 @7, back to 260 @7. I was considering landing on 29 to split the difference, but settled on 34, since it was the most convenient for me. But, wouldn't you know, as soon as I turned final the wind sock was running away from me, indicating a wind from the south (or behind me). Sure, I could have gone around and tried something else, but where's the challenge in that? I pressed on and made a passable, though not my best, landing (there was no one else in the pattern at this moment, I know, I was shocked too).

As I was rolling out I looked at the wind sock and it definitely favored 16. As I was clearing the runway Carl called in that he was entering the pattern for 16. I replied that that was a good idea. I pulled up to the gas pump and saw him land and wouldn't you know, he had a tail wind too!

Fortunately the wind wasn't so bad that it posed any real threat, but it did keep you guessing.
Steve Rush
Arlington, WA
ArlingtonRV on YouTube
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