Just another lunch at Chehalis
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Saturday, December 15th was a day better than anticipated. We had just come off of a long week of rain and low clouds and though no further precipitation was forecast, there were supposed to be a lot of clouds. In addition, there had been a pretty hefty, but fortunately relatively brief and weak, windstorm the night before. All this made me think for most of the week that flying would be out of the question today.
When I first checked weather in the morning the wind at Arlington was 160 at 12, but was forecast to drop to about 6 later in the afternoon.
When I left the house all was calm, but shortly after I got to the airport the wind was shifting to the East and stiffening. By about 10:30 it was from 080 at 9.
Due to the wind direction, which is quite unusual around here, the majority of people were using runway 11. I needed gas and the gas pump is at almost the farthest corner of the airport from runway 11. I didn't really want to taxi all the way over there in order to take off and was hoping to use runway 16. The problem with that plan is that the pattern for runway 11, cuts across the departure end of runway 16.
I waited in the run up area for runway 16 looking for a break in the traffic to take off. The first choice was to take off and climb as quickly as possible to get above pattern altitude as soon as possible. I had thought about taking off and turning a short crosswind to avoid the pattern for runway 11, but that would have me going over a bunch of houses at full power.
Another option would be to make an early climbing left turn to the East and circle around that way. That would have me in the glider pattern, but there was only one glider flying at the moment and it had just landed.
As it turned out, I took off at 11:34 and was able to climb quickly. I turned left about 45 degrees to parallel the pattern for runway 11 since there were two more airplanes entering on the 45. As I climbed through 2,000' I turned back west and on course for Bremerton.
I wanted to try making the leg to Bremerton at the usual 4,500', but there were some low clouds that made that impractical. I descended back to 3,000' and stayed there until I got to Bremerton. Due to the winds aloft forecast I expected it to be pretty bumpy heading down (wind out of the South at around 35 MPH). It was a little bumpy over Whidbey Island, but by the time I got to the far side of Admiralty Inlet it was much smoother.
I also had a hard time seeing much past Bremerton with all the clouds, but by the time I got there the visibility was really good. The majority of the clouds were at 9,000' or better. With the wind out of the South my ground speed was about 155 MPH, which is significantly slower than usual. I normally see, depending on wind and altitude, of course, between 175 and 185 MPH.
Fortunately the wind at and close to the ground was considerably calmer. As we approached Chehalis they were calling the wind at 140 at 6 (I think). That meant using runway 16. Carl was about 15 minutes ahead of me and as I was determining how to approach I heard a flight of 5 RVs headed for the same airport. It wasn't really a problem because they were far enough ahead that they would have been on the ground by the time I got there.
I stayed to the East of the airport to enter on a crosswind for runway 16. About the time I got onto downwind another RV-8 called in behind me.
There was a Cherokee in front of me and another RV behind me. I pulled off a pretty good landing and got off the runway as soon as I could, because I feared that the RV behind me might be pretty close, which he was.
We walked over to the golf course for lunch. It is a short walk across the street from the airport. It is a convenient place, but the food isn't that great nor is the menu particularly imaginitive.
After lunch we took off for home just before 2:00. As expected, we now had a good tail wind going home. I maxed out at a ground speed of 222 MPH which is the highest I have ever seen.
By the time we got home the wind was still out of the Southeast, but at only about 5. We landed on runway 16 and marked the end of another fun lunch trip.
The ground track can be seen here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1OIUlQXygBn5sk3p9ERJg_5yNG_SCWzI5&usp=sharing
The video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/JQq50WORliY