Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September 18th: A Little West Coast Flying

Mark, his grandmother (Granny), and I made it to Portland just fine, picked up our rental car, and drove out to Sue and Wayne's house. Sue is Granny's niece, and we would be staying with them for the week. After saying hello to them and Jaeger, their golden retriever, we went over some plans for the week and headed to bed. Sue had to get up really early to babysit her granddaughter, and Mark and I had to get up semi-early to go flying!

I had arranged a checkout at 7S3, Twin Oaks Airpark, a small airport about an hour or so southwest of Portland. We got there early, knocked out the paperwork, and headed out to the plane with the instructor. I would be flying N5440H, a 150hp C172 with 40 degrees of flaps, electric ignition, and a Garmin 650 (*drool* - I'm saving up for one of those!).

I asked Mark to hold my camera while I was doing my checkout. He took a picture of Sue and Madison in front of an Aston Martin that was sitting in the parking lot.    :)

The checkout was really straightforward and it was great to have a local instructor (Kelly, who was fantastic) show me some of the landmarks as well as how to properly fly the noise abatement procedures in the area. Twin Oaks is just over 2400' long, but since the runway has a bit of a slope it's common practice to take off on Runway 20 and land on Runway 2, wind permitting. After some airwork, I did a couple landings with Kelly, had him sign my logbook, and Mark and I were off! Since they let me take the plane for the rest of the day, we wanted to do some exploring. 

Kelly recommended 7S5 - Independence State - since they have a nice restaurant right on the field. It was just about lunchtime and in the general direction we wanted to fly, so we made that our first stop. This was on final for Runway 16; all of the buildings on the left side of the taxiway are houses. I'm a little jealous - I wish I could pull my plane right up to my front door!

We landed, parked, and shut down. The view from the ramp was pretty.   :)

We went inside, grabbed a table, and got some lunch. Veggie wrap (with avocado) and tater tots with ranch dressing...yum!! I love when people deep fry tots and they get really crunchy. I think I may have just drooled on my keyboard for a minute there. 

After lunch we hopped back in the plane to head to the next stop. Bye, 7S5!

Kelly said if you climbed high enough you might be able to see Mt St Helens and Mt Hood. I spiraled my way up to 8500', but no such luck. Since I didn't want to shock cool the engine, it took a little while to get back down, but it was fun picking my way through the clouds. 

Next up, MMV - McMinnville! You can just pick out the runway on the left side of the road. We landed, shut down, and went inside. A quick phone call and a short van ride later...

...we were standing under the wing of the Spruce Goose. McMinnville is home of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum!

One of the first things we did was check out the inside of the Spruce Goose. It was HUGE. You could pay extra to go up in the cockpit, but since it was a decent bit of money we decided to pass this time. 

There really isn't a good way to explain how big this plane is when you see it in person.

The museum also has a pretty good selection of other planes, ranging from World War 1 replicas to modern fighters and even (my favorite) a gorgeous P-38. No matter where you went, though, the Spruce Goose was towering overhead. 

8 engines...I wouldn't want to be the flight engineer managing all of those!

There was a balcony on one side of the hangar that housed the museum's firearm collection. It also had a pretty sweet view of the displays below.

One of the other highlights of the museum (at least for me) was the hands on area for the kids. They had a real BD-5 in there!! You could climb in it and the controls moved and everything. I'd love to build one of these someday (the main thing that's keeping me from doing it is the not-so-safe reputation the plane has), so getting to actually see one and sit in it was really cool. I know, I'm a geek. They also had a computer set up where you could pretend to fly a remote-controlled plane. Mark did really well with it, but me, not so much...each time I tried to fly it I wound up crashing it into the ground so hard the little wings flew off. Oops. I promised Mark I'd do a better job getting us back to Twin Oaks.   :)

If we had more time I would have loved to check out the Space Flight section of the museum, but we needed to get the plane back to Twin Oaks. Bye, MMV...we'll be back someday!

It was a quick flight back to 7S3 (MMV is only about 16nm away), so I had just enough time to climb up to cross the ridge between the two airports before it was time to start back down to pattern altitude.

I didn't know until I uploaded my pictures that Mark got one of me in the pattern at Twin Oaks. Did I mention that there was a little pucker factor with the approach? Because there was. 2400' runway length + trees on both ends + upsloping runway = lots of fun! It's airports like this that keep you sharp.   :)

Final for Twin Oaks; you can just see the runway to the left of those white buildings. All of my landings there were great; I'm glad I've been practicing short field ops in my C172 the past few flights! Overall we had a great day of flying. The people at Twin Oaks were fantastic, the plane was in great condition and had some fun new equipment (one day, Garmin 650, you will be mine!! Also, the electric ignition worked really well and was a fun change of pace), and we lucked out with gorgeous weather. Plus I got three new airports to add to the map on my wall...the first ones in Oregon!

After we wrapped up at the airport we met up with Sue and Granny, then we all went out to dinner with Steve (Sue's son), Emily (his wife), and Madison before heading back to Sue and Wayne's to get some sleep. (Side note - I couldn't believe how well behaved the baby was during dinner - she just sat there and hung out the whole time!) We had some more fun planned for the next day!

No comments:

Post a Comment