RV-8 and the Crater Lake
Saturday 5/29/21 turned out to be almost exactly as forecast, except maybe a little better. How often does that happen?
Thursday night Carl sent me an email asking f I would be interested in taking a trip to Crater Lake on Saturday if the weather cooperated. I said sure, not really expecting the weather to cooperate. It is something we had been wanting to do for years, but it isn't that often that conditions are favorable over such a large distance. The total trip was about 650 miles. The plan was to fly from Arlington to Albany Oregon for lunch and gas, then fly around the lake, back to Albany for gas and a pit stop, then home.
The weather actually did cooperate. There were virtually no clouds anywhere along the route, the winds aloft were relatively light, and the temperatures were moderate (Albany got to about 78 degrees as we left).
The leg from Arlington to Albany was relatively uneventful and, even though we had a slight head wind, we arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. In fact, the restaurant had only opened about 10 minutes before we got there.
As we were walking back to the planes, we saw a couple that had come in in a polished RV-7 and we stopped to chat with them for a few minutes. After that we taxied across the runway to the fuel island to top off. Fortunately it was on the way to the take off end of the runway anyway.
About 1:15 we took off headed for the lake. The terrain around the lake is around 9,000' so we started of at 9,500 intending to go higher as we got there. It was a bit bumpy at 9,500' so we went up to 11,500'. It was smoother there. I also noted that at 11,500' the Outside Air Temperature (OAT) was 38 degrees. Because of that, I was surprised to see as much snow as we did.
As we approached the rim we thought the lake would be just beyond the peaks. Turned out, it was surrounded by the peaks. The first thing we both noticed was that it was much larger than we expected.
It is truly a beautiful area and the photos and video I took don't come close to capturing the grandeur of the area. A friend had told me there was a lodge there, but I had no idea it was such a large lodge. There are roads going almost all the way around the crater. It would easily be possible to occupy ones self for a couple of days there at least.
When we got there we were the only airplanes in the vicinity. When we were about halfway through our first orbit of the lake I noted 3 mores planes coming in. With the mild turbulence making picture taking difficult and the fact that there were now other airplanes in the area we decided to head out after just one orbit.
It was a bit bumpier heading out so we went to 12,500' for the first part of the trip back. It was very smooth at that altitude and it was a pleasant trip back.
We could have made it home with the fuel we had remaining, but that would have been another hour and forty five minutes at least. We were ready for a break and a pit stop, and it never hurts to have more fuel on board (unless you're on fire).
The length of this trip was a little more than my cameras could bear and by the time we got back to Albany both of them had crapped out. The wing camera battery died just after I landed. I had extra batteries to bring, but they had been sitting so long they were dead (did someone say lack of planning?). The other camera would not stay on. There was plenty of room on the SD card and plenty of battery power left, but every time I turned it on, it turned itself right off. That is why the video ends at Albany. On the other hand, not much happened on the way home and it looked just like the way down, but in the other direction.
We took off for home a little after 4:00 and I landed a little after 5:30. We had a head wind down to Albany, we had a head wind to Crater Lake from Albany at 9,500' and 11,500', and we had a headwind from Crater Lake back to Albany at 12,500'. I was hoping we would finally get a tail wind going home and we did, though is wasn't that strong a tail wind, though it was enough to give me ground speeds of about 199 MPH most of the way back.
It was a very enjoyable trip though it was a long day. It was 5.3 hrs on the Hobbs, 4.7 hours on the tach and about 8 hours on the clock. I would like to do it again sometime, maybe in the winter with more snow on everything. Now, if there was a runway near the lodge...
Arlington to Albany track here.
Albany to Crater Lake and back track here.
Albany back to Arlington track here.
Still photos are here.
Video is here.