RV-8 and the 5 Weeks Since I Last Flew
It has been a wet and depressing winter here in the Northwest. Between rain and snow (at least you don't have to shovel rain) there have been very few relatively clear days and none on weekends lately. That all ended on Saturday 2/27/21. It wasn't a great day, but it wasn't a bad day either and I really needed to get some air under the wheels.
I had spent the past couple of weekends, hindered somewhat by a snowstorm bringing things to a near halt, swapping out my old Duckworks landing and taxi lights with new Flyleds LED lights. That adventure is detailed here. I've been wanting to try them out and since I wasn't hit by anyone I can conclude that they work, of course, it was daylight and the lights may have had nothing to do with it.
As I taxied out shortly after noon I saw an airplane in the 16 run up area. People had been using 34 all morning, but the wind was definitely from the south, though not by much. The published preferred no wind runway for Arlington is 34 with "no wind" being defined as less than five knots.
I started taxiing toward 16 not wanting to argue (I don't care which runway we use, just pick one). As I was taxiing north, Carl was out for his walk and could see me coming and texted that the lights were "very visible".
I looked out and there were still 2 airplanes in the pattern for 34 so I turned around to use 34. The airplane that had been waiting at 16 did eventually taxi down to that end as well.
I had planned to see if I could get out to Forks, even though I had already had lunch and wouldn't be landing. There was a layer of clouds with bases at about 3,000' and tops around 4,500' with large holes over most of the water so I climbed on top. At 6,500' the outside air temperature was between 26 and 28 degrees. While colder than I care for, it isn't really a problem except that the oil never got above 170 degrees and the cylinder heads barely saw 285 degrees.
There were no low clouds around the Olympics, but there was a higher hazy layer that was rather indistinct. It was hard to tell exactly where the base was.
Further west there was more snow on the lower hills. With all the trees it didn't look like that much, but when treeless patches showed through it was obvious there was a pretty good amount of snow there. It was also interesting to see that the snow line was a very distinct line where the snow ended.
There were more low clouds to the west and south of the Olympics. From where I was I couldn't see the coast and it looked like the upper cloud layer and lower cloud layer merged together at some point in the distance. Since a cloud layer like this can make it very easy to suddenly find one's self in a cloud, I decided I should probably head home.
I didn't want to land at Forks since the forecast was calling for some dramatic lowering of the ceiling after about 2:00 and it was after 1:00 and the upper layer was definitely coming down. At the time, the lower layer still had at least 3,000' bases and I could probably get out by staying low, I opted not to.
By the time I got to be about 10 miles west of Pt. Townsend, the lower cloud layer that I had climbed above out bound seemed to be closer to the upper layer. I was at 5,500' and would have to climb to 7,500' to clear that cloud layer and it didn't look like I could do that and stay below the upper layer, so I had to go underneath. It turned out to be pretty bumpy underneath and I slowed down considerably until it calmed down a bit east of Admiralty Inlet.
As I had noticed on my way by Pt. Townsend outbound there were a tremendous amount of sailboats in the bay just outside of Pt. Townsend.
Carl did some Google-fu and determined that it was a preseason regatta. Kind of a cold day with little wind, but whatever floats your boat (pun intended).
There were large amounts of airplanes everywhere and I worried a little about being able to get back in at Arlington. I passed one guy a couple of miles west of Lake Goodwin and didn't see anything else in front of me. As I got close, I heard a guy in a Skycatcher taking off with the intention to stay in the pattern.
As I entered the 45 over Twin Lakes I saw him just turning crosswind. I asked if he minded if I jump in front of him and he agreed. I kept the speed up a little more than usual but that probably wasn't necessary.
I managed to pull off a good landing and there were even people there to see it. There were 2 airplanes in the run up area, including one of these.