Friday 1/22/21 was such a beautifully clear day, and what's even more unusual it was forecast to be so all week, that I felt compelled to take some time off on Friday to get some flying in.
It was mostly clear in most areas and the winds aloft were not terrible. The winds on the ground were a little high in some areas, but not too bad at home. I started by going out to Darrington and looping out to Concrete and then back to the south and out to Port Angeles.
The other reason for wanting to make the trip was to try out a new video camera. I had been having issues with my GoPro Hero 7 Black and decided to Upgrade to a Here 8 Black. The 7 was getting to the point that it either wouldn't record through the whole flight or that after about an hour or so it seemed that the image stabilization went off line, the video got very shaky.
The main drawback to these cameras is there incredibly poor battery life. The way that I got around that was to mount a camera power supply under the wing tip mounted to the tip rib. In order to be able to plug it in though, you have to remove the side door, which also retains the battery. On the 7 there were 2 doors and you could plug in external power and still have the battery retained.
The other thing I don't like about the newer GoPros is the flaky retractable mounting ears they have on the bottom of the case. I feared they would break off and drop the camera. I opted for an aftermarket aluminum housing to mount the camera in. The added benefit is that it has a door on the side to replace the side door on the camera allowing the battery to be held in and external power to be applied. It is bigger and heavier than needed, but it does the trick.
I put some electrical tape over the battery and SD card openings because there still would be a path for moisture to get in which would probably ruin the camera.
The good news is that on 2 flights over the weekend of just short of 2 hours each the camera remained on and the image stabilization remained active for the whole flight.
The track log can be found here.
The photos I took can be found here.
The video can be found here. For reasons I don't understand, the video is kinda jerky in the turns.
Heading east toward Darrington I found a few spots with some bumps, but over all it wasn't too bad. I flew over the land slide area in Oso and it is still amazing to see that whole hillside laying down in the valley. The airport in Darrington is still there, but it sure doesn't look like it sees a lot of activity.
Heading north from Darrington it started getting a little bumpier, bit not too bad. It did get worse, however, as I got closer to Concrete and from there to the opening of the valley. It was worth it though for some really awesome views of Mt. Baker and Baker Lake. I was surprised at how many other airplanes were in that area. Often making that trip I don't see any, but today between Concrete and Skagit there were at least 5.
From there I headed back south and then west toward Pt. Angeles. Coming back from Pt. Angeles I was surprised to see a target on the iPad with a call sign of BOE867. It turned out to be a 777 heading back into Paine. That isn't surprising in itself, but he only passed 2.5 miles to the north of me and 1,000' above me going only about 100 knots faster than me (it seemed much slower), so he passed at a speed that allowed for a good look at it. He passed close enough to get a good look, but unfortunately, not to get a good picture.
Ten miles out from Arlington I checked the weather and the wind was from 300 at 9 knots. As such, I didn't really expect any real difficulty in landing, but I guess I should have because I really muffed it. I had the right wing down and was tracking straight and looking like it would be a good landing, but at the very end I hit harder than would have been preferable. I meant to just add a little back pressure to keep the nose up, but for some reason I jerked the stick back. Now the nose was way too high. I was planning to add just a touch of power to get it all back under control but instead of just a touch of power I added a lot.
At this point I still had a little more than half of the runway and could have recovered, but I decided to exercise the better part of valor and go around and try again. The second attempt was better, but still not as good as I would have liked. It doesn't look as bad in the video as felt to me at the time. In the end no metal was bent and no blood was shed, so it was a good day.
Saturday 1/23/21 was also a good day. There were a lot of clouds to the south and west, but north and east were clear. I probably should have gone east, it looked like a good day to go across the mountains but I decided to go out to Hoquiam and then to Chehalis and back.
There was increasing cloud cover the farther I went. By the time I got to Hoquiam it was completely overcast. Hoquiam was 3,700 overcast, so it would have been doable if there had been any reason to go there.
From there I headed east toward Satsop and Elma, then to Chehalis. I was surprised to see several cars at the airport in Elma. There was one coming out from the airport and 2 going in.
Just this morning we talked about how the restaurant at the golf course in Chehalis was closed. It would have been too cold to sit outside on the deck and even though they could probably get by under the new guidelines with the big doors open and air flowing through that would have made it really cold inside too. It was a moot point since even if they had been open Chehalis was 500 overcast and we couldn't have gotten in anyway.
Today I tried a trick I thought might help eliminate or reduce the glare from the canopy when taking pictures. I put a filter on the camera. These filters are often advertised to eliminate the prop from the picture. Sometimes they can help with glare also. It didn't really help with the glare out the sides, but it did do a pretty good job of making the prop disappear.
Fortunately getting back into Arlington today was a lot less of an ordeal than it was yesterday. There were a lot of airplanes but I was able to sequence myself in the flow without any difficulty. There were 6 airplanes in the run up area waiting to take off and another 4 or 5 in the pattern.
I'm glad I left when I did which was just about noon. At that time there wasn't anyone else around and I didn't have to wait for anything.
Track log here.