RV-8 and the Blustery Day
Saturday 3/13/21 was a nice day at the end of a 5 day stretch of nice weather. It had been dry and mostly sunny all week. Of course, dry sunny days in the middle of the week do me no good and we were originally scheduled to have rain on Saturday so I thought I would miss out entirely, but the weather gods were kind and Saturday was mostly clear, just some very high clouds to tone down the sun. It was also the warmest day so far this year topping out at about 60 degrees.
Naturally, there had to be more to the story. While it was clear, it was pretty windy on the wet side of the mountains. The wind was mostly from the south(ish) at 20 or more knots. It was even stronger further west and as you went up in altitude. That made Forks an untenable destination as it would have been pretty bumpy the whole way and even winds on the ground were a little finicky.
The winds aloft on the dry side of the mountains were practically non existent, less than 5 knots all the way to 9,000'. That would have made a good day to go over there, but the strong winds on this side would have made the trip over the mountains quite bumpy and a little unpredictable.
We finally settled on Chehalis. Since the wind was out of the south, though strong, the air should be smooth, and it was. On the leg from Arlington to Bremerton the headwind was about 40 knots, which makes sense since I had a ground speed of 150 MPH. Again, though a strong wind there were very few bumps.
The first thing that was startling was the sheer number of airplanes everywhere. There seemed to be more out than I had encountered before. Apparently, the economic down turn isn't hurting GA, at least not operationally, at all.
When we got to Chehalis it was busier than I had ever seen before. There were at least 5 airplanes in the pattern with a couple more, myself included, inbound. When we landed there were 4 airplanes (3 RVs and a Cirrus) at the gas pumps. As we walked by another (172) pulled up as well. The whole time we were there there were multiple airplanes at the pumps. I just looked up the price and it is showing as $4.26 a gallon, compared to Arlington's newly hiked $5.37 a gallon, that's a pretty good deal.
It was nice to have the restaurant at the golf course open again and it was even nicer that we were the only ones in the dining room at the time.
Heading home we wanted to spend a little more time flying and with the wind previously mentioned we would have been home in no time so we headed out the coast to look around. Once we got out to Gray's Harbor we did a little maneuvering so Carl could look at my new lights head on. He said they were very visible and a definite improvement from the old ones.
As expected, on the way home I saw ground speeds in the 220 MPH range. That sure made getting back quick. There were a lot of airplanes in the pattern at Arlington as we approached, but I totally lucked out and managed to come in during a relative dead period. Carl was about a mile in front of me and there was no one behind me at the time.
I had some more camera problems today, though the worst was my fault. When I left Arlington I forgot to turn on the position lights, which also powers the wingtip mounted power supply for the wing tip camera. The battery died shortly after I passed Olympia. The inside camera also dropped off line a few times during the flight, but fortunately it was functional when the other one died. On the way home I remembered to energize the power supply, so the wing camera worked for the entire return trip.
All in all it was a very pleasant flight and a good to to aviate, which is probably why so many people were doing it.
The outbound grand track is here.
The homeward ground track is here.
The video is here.