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  • Steve

RV-8 and the Solo Forks Run

Saturday 7/29/23 was a nice day all around. Not too hot, not too windy, but there was a rather persistent marine layer. Since I was on my own, I opted to try to get into Forks. ForeFlight told me that it was clear at Pt. Angeles, and that there were some clouds around Quillayute, which may or may not mean clouds at Forks. There were also a large group of clouds to the west of Arlington.

I departed about 11:00 and got stuck behind a C-150 on the runway. I was in the run up area and he came down and stopped in the taxi way and sat there. There was a guy in a Cherokee who asked if either of us were ready to go and I was close, but not quite there, and the 152 guy (two guys actually) were doing something. As soon as the Cherokee was gone I taxied out to the taxiway that the 152 guy was blocking and asked if he was ready to go. I could have just gone, it's not like he could catch me. He said he was ready to go so I didn't push it and waited.

I owned a C-150 for about nine years, about 13 years ago. I had forgotten what a dog it was performance wise, particularly with two people in it. I pulled onto the runway shortly after he broke ground and side stepped to the right, but there would have been no conflict. Before I even got to him I was already well above him and climbing.

In my 150 I never wanted to pull in front of anyone because everyone was faster, except my friend with his J-3, and I am paranoid that someone behind me won't see me, most likely because he isn't looking, so I would always let other people go first.

Not too far north of the airport I was confronted with the cloud layer. Fortunately it was just far enough away that I was able to climb above it without circling.

As I got myself on course, it quickly became evident that the bank of clouds I had seen extended for a pretty large distance. I began to question if I wanted to do this, but then I remembered that it was clear over Pt. Angeles and as I looked around, I could see the edge of the clouds to the north, probably no more than about 5 miles away, so I figured it would be OK.

With a low cloud layer below me and a high, thin layer above me and some interesting cloud formations over the Olympics, it made for a picturesque trip.

The clouds were doing interesting things today.

As expected, as I neared Sequim the clouds began to part and not much further they were gone entirely.

As I neared Pt. Angeles, I could see that there was a layer of clouds on the south side of the hills and west of the Olympics. I didn't think it was clear to the west, but the cloud layer looked relatively high so I thought I could use the notch in the hills that we sometimes use when the clouds are too low to get in over Lake Crescent.

I looked up the ADS-B weather for Quillayute and they were calling for a few clouds at 2,900', overcast at 3,900'. That should give me plenty of room, so I will try going over Lake Crescent and follow Highway 101 all the way. First though, I had to lose some altitude. I was at 6,500' and had to get below 3,500'.

Descending to get below the cloud layer.

Over Pt. Angeles I headed for Lake Crescent and headed down at the same time. I figured that once I got down there between the hills and below the clouds that it would get pretty bumpy. I wasn't wrong.

The rest of the way in was bumpy, but not too bad. Since I was all by my onesy savvy, I had to fly over the airport to check the wind sock. I did so at pattern altitude since there was no one else around anywhere. I saw the pole the sock was mounted on, but it was hard to see the sock itself. It looked like it favored runway 22 so I entered a pattern to land on 22. Once I turned final, it became clear why I had a hard time seeing the wind sock when I flew over. It was hanging almost totally limp.

You'd think that with favorable winds I would have no problem making a good landing. Well, you'd think wrong. I still managed to botch the landing. Fortunately, there was no trouble finding parking and the walk to the restaurant was pleasant.

I ordered my usual, the chicken bacon ranch wrap with their unique fries. I have never really been able to adequately describe what their fries are like so, since a picture is allegedly worth a thousand words (give or take), I will save 500 or so words and add a picture. I've never really been one for taking pictures of my food, but these are different enough that I thought it might be worth it.

I haven't seen fries like these anywhere else.

As I was walking back to the airplane, I saw a Remos at the end of the taxiway. At first, I thought maybe he was having some problem so I walked over to see if I could help, but he just pushed it off of the taxiway onto the grass. He left it kinda right behind where I normally do my run up. I thought that wasn't a very good place to park, but I didn't say anything.

Not the best place to park.

It was a couple from Shelton that had flown up the coast to get there. We talked for a bit as they also do a lot of the $100 hamburger trips, so we talked about places to go and places that aren't there anymore. Unfortunately, they really didn't know of any places I wasn't already aware of.

It was about 1:30 when I headed out, so I planned to go out to the coast and follow it north past Cape Flattery and back down the strait. When I got to the end of the taxiway, there isn't really a run up area at Forks you just turn on the taxiway wherever you can and do your thing, I was able to get the tail so it wasn't pointed at the Remos when I did my run up, but a lot of, perhaps most, pilots don't really pay any attention to where their tail is pointed and don't seem to really care who they blast when they run up. Since I need the exercise anyway, I will continue to park on the ramp and walk.

The clouds were easier to dodge on the way home, but they weren't as completely dissipated as I would have expected. The cloud bank that I climbed over to get out was a lot smaller, but not totally gone.

Fortunately, when I got back to Arlington I pulled off a fairly decent landing. The wind at the time was 290 @ 10, so not too bad but not nothing. It is quite strange that at Forks where the conditions were close to ideal I made a crummy landing and at home where conditions were more challenging, I made a better landing. Although, it was one of those days at Arlington where even though there was a reasonable cross wind, a couple of feet off the ground it felt like the cross wind disappeared and it was mostly a normal landing.

Turns out, it was a good thing I made a good landing as it did not go unnoticed. As I was driving away I saw Ron, the instructor I had my flight review with last week, and he said he saw the landing and thought it looked good. He was out flying gliders today and was out in the glider operations area when I landed, so he had a good view.

I got lucky getting gas when I got home. There was a 172 in my spot, and blocking more of the island than was really necessary, but I was able to use Carl's spot and get out of the way. As I was filling my second tank, another 172 came straight at the pumps and almost blocked me in. I was able to get out, but it was tight. As I was getting ready to leave, two more airplanes pulled up. Good thing I got there when I did.

So, long story short, or maybe at least less long, it was a nice day and I'm glad I had the opportunity to get out.

The outbound tracklog can be seen here.

The return track log can be seen here.

The video can be seen here.

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