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  • Steve

RV-8 and the Scappoose Trip

Saturday 6/24/23 was a rather typical early summer day in the Northwest. That means, clouds in the morning and sun in the afternoon. The only real question is, when will the clouds give way to the sun. The earlier it happens the warmer it will be and the later, the cooler. Sometimes the clouds are rather local and other times they cover the whole region.

We were planning to head down to Scappoose, Oregon to try out a place called Walt's Farm to Table. It is in a building that, years ago, was a Bed and Breakfast that had a restaurant open to the public. Carl had been there a few times, but they closed several years ago.

We learned that Walt's opened in January of 2022 and they will be closing at the end of July 2023. The person that owns the building doesn't want to renew their lease. They are looking for another facility, but it almost certainly won't be within walking distance of the airport.

The last time I had been to Scappoose was in 2014 for the Northwest Antique Airplane Club's (NWAAC) Fly-in. The NWAAC Fly-In used to be a really big deal when they had it at Evergreen Field in Vancouver, WA. When Evergreen closed, the club tried a few different venues for the fly-in, with Scappoose hosting it a few years. In 2014, there weren't that many antiques there, in fact, there were more experimentals than there were antiques. The pictures that I took there can be seen here.

One of the few antiques at the 2014 NWAAC Fly-In.

Today the clouds were scheduled to burn off right around noon. As we sat around waiting for weather, it was obvious that it was already clear further south. Scappoose was clear in the morning when I first checked, but pretty much everything north of the Columbia River was covered in clouds.

We decided to head out at 11:30. Since the restaurant closes at 2:00, we can't wait too late. At the time we left, Arlington was still 2,200' broken, but we hoped to be able to get above the clouds relatively early on.

It doesn't happen very often, but today I just happened to be ready to go early and I took off before Carl had even started his engine. As I headed southwest, I was looking for some signs of clearing further on, or a hole big enough to climb through. As it turned out, not too far southwest of the Tulalip Casino, there were some good sized holes appearing in the clouds, so I took advantage of them to get on top.

Once above the clouds, I could see that there was a lot of clearing east of the Puget Sound, but it was still very cloudy to the west of the sound. Paine Field was clear as was the water to the north of the airport. Since getting on top wasn't a problem, the next item of concern was all of the clouds to the southwest.

I heard some other guys on the radio talking about weather at various destinations. They saw that Jefferson County was fogged in, which it was, I could see that from where I was. They said that it was clear at Olympia and they finally settled on Tacoma Narrows, which was also clear.

By that time, I could see some of the hills farther to the south and it looked like the clouds didn't go on as far as they first appeared to. As it turns out, the clouds ended right about Bremerton. I couldn't see the airport as I made the turn, but I could see pretty much everything else south of there.

I was a little surprised at how warm the air was. At 4,500' heading toward Bremerton, it was 65 degrees (probably a couple of degrees less due to inaccuracies in my OAT probe). At 5,500' it had gone down to about 60 degrees and continued to drop a couple of degrees the farther south we went. I would have expected the exact opposite.

The air remained mostly smooth for the entire flight down.

As I approached Scappoose, I was surprised to not see or hear any other traffic. Usually, I just kind of use whatever runway everyone else is using and not worry about it, but there was no one about, so I had to make the decision. For the past several minutes, the weather at Scappoose was calling winds variable at 4. I always hate that, because even though it is variable, it usually favors one direction or another.

I had considered flying over the airport to get a look at the wind sock, but then I figured that 4 knots shouldn't really be a problem regardless of what direction it was coming from, so I planned, and announced, a straight in to runway 15. I kept watching and listening for other traffic and if anyone else was going to be in front of me, I would have broken off and flown a regular pattern, but there was no one, so I kept going. It stayed clear until Carl was able to land, also straight in.

We parked on the Oregon Aero side of the runway since that is the side that the restaurant was on. It was a short, pleasant walk to get there. We were a little concerned that we may have trouble getting a table, but there was a group that left just as we got there, so there was plenty of space.

The menu is rather limited, but the food was good and the service fast and friendly. We would consider putting this on into the regular rotation, but since they will close at the end of next month, that won't really be a possibility. We will try to get there once more before they close.

We headed home about 2:30 and the return trip was quite uneventful. There wasn't a lot of traffic when we got back to Arlington, and we were even able to both get gas before putting the airplanes away.

All in all, it was a very nice trip that I am glad we got to take.

The outbound track log can be seen here.

The return track log can be seen here.

The video can be seen here.

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Jun 27, 2023


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