The weekend of 7/14/23 and 7/15/23 was a warm one. Not record setting warm by any stretch of the imagination, but warmer than I care for. Basically, I start to whimper when the temperatures get above about 70 degrees, whine when they get above about 75 degrees, moan when they get above 80 degrees, cry when they get above 85 degrees, and burst into flames when they get above 90 degrees. It has been suggested that this makes me a wuss. I'm OK with that.
One thing that really tends to magnify a warm sunny day is a plastic bubble canopy. It kind of works like a green house and focuses the sun's energy on the occupants and other objects under the dome. This is really only a problem on the ground where there is little air flow. As long as the canopy can be open, with the engine running, there is pretty good air flow, but with the canopy closed, which it has to be for flight, there is little air flow until the airspeed gets above about 140 MPH. Of course, the higher you go, the cooler the air.
Saturday 7/14/25 was the cooler of the two days and we decided to go back to Westport. This was largely due to the fact that Forks was closed for the weekend. They use the runway there for drag racing and since that obviously brings in more money than the airport does, they close it for that purpose several times during the warmer months. Interestingly, the also do drag racing at Bremerton on the old, closed runway. I couldn't believe how many cars were along the length of the runway. There must have been hundreds of people down there. Between racing at Bremerton and at Forks, I had no idea there were so many drag racing buffs in this area.
The trip down was surprisingly smooth. When we got there, the wind was blowing mostly right down the runway, but at a decent clip. What was really surprising was that when we got out, it was a lot cooler than I had expected, thanks in large part to the aforementioned breeze.
Recently I have been playing around with the placement of a third camera for a couple of reasons; first to get a different perspective than the other cameras I use, second to act as a backup in case the main wing mounted camera fails, which it does with increasing frequency, and also to be a replacement, wherever possible, to the Drift camera I have mounted on the roll bar. I am using my older GoPro Hero 8 Black, that still has pretty good image stabilization. The GoPro just has a better image quality, even with the same resolution settings, than does the Drift.
I have been struggling with how and where to mount it. I received a suggestion about putting it on a stalk and having it aimed over my shoulder. This has it's merits, but I was afraid that my big, fat head would take up too much of the frame. By biasing the direction of the camera to the right, this is minimized.
I got a long gooseneck mount that I thought might work, but it ended up being far to flexible and I don't even think the image stabilization could have kept the image steady. I ended up going back to a mount that I bought last year and used previously to be rear facing.
Footage form this set up is shown in both of the videos linked below.
We headed home about 2:00. The trip home was also quite smooth and a pleasant ride.
The outbound track log can be seen here.
The return track log can be seen here.
The video can be seen here.
Saturday 7/15/23 was even warmer than Friday. Once again, with Forks closed, the coastal options were few. We had considered going back to Scappoose, but it was looking to be stupid hot down there. We ended up going to Chehalis which was supposed to be at least several degrees cooler and with a breeze was bearable, at least until time to strap in. I almost burned my hand on the seat belt buckle.
Once again, the air was smoother than expected and made for a nice trip down. Once again, there was a lot of traffic at Chehalis. It is becoming a popular place. Unfortunately there is also a lot of training activity there now as well and I ended up behind a lady in a C-152 flying a 747 pattern (that's why the video shows me flying a longer pattern than usual). I tried to slow down early and give her as much space as possible, but it still worked out that she just barely cleared the runway before I touched down. I really didn't want to have to go around because there is basically no air flow in the cockpit at pattern speeds.
I managed to pull off a good landing, but when I was about to turn off the runway, the 152 was still just sitting on the taxiway. I don't know what is up with that, but it seems to be happening a lot lately.
Fortunately, the air conditioning at the restaurant was working quite well and it was very comfortable.
As we headed back to the airport, we saw a man and a woman in front of us, that had come in with a Cirrus just after we got there, at the gate back onto the airport. They seemed to be having trouble getting the gate to open and I was afraid that it was broken again. That happened once before and fortunately, there was someone there who could let us in. As we approached, Carl suggested that I give it a go. Great if I can get it to work, but not so much if I have trouble too. I was able to get it opened on the first try. Turns out, they were trying to use the wrong code.
We went out to the coast on the way home by way of Willapa Harbor airport, then Westport, Hoquiam and home. I turns out that it was a good thing that we didn't try to go back to Westport as we had thought we might. At 2:30 it was still socked in and it would have been difficult to impossible to get in. On the final leg we played around a bit and Carl made some camera passes. He also got some pictures of me. Some of them were pretty good too.
Lately I have been having a lot more problems with the GoPro 10 mounted under the wing. It stops recording for no apparent reason and it has been happening more frequently. While I was messing about with the cameras on Friday night, I connected it to my phone and found out that there was a firmware update available. I installed the update and at least for two flights, it is working as it should, though I don't know if the software update had anything to do with it. Only time will tell.
I really don't seem to do too well with technology. For some reason, ForeFlight didn't record the track log for the flight back from Chehalis. I have the track log going down, but nothing for the return trip. I hope that doesn't become a thing now too.
Anyway, it was still a nice day and infinitely better than not flying.
The video can be found here.