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Sunday, August 23, 2015

"The Alvord" - - Weekend Trip to the Desert

One of my goals in the RV has been to make it to Alvord Desert.  Its in the Southeast corner of Oregon and sits at about 4100 feet in Elevation.  About 3 hours from Seattle with a stop in Burns Oregon for Fuel, the desert is definitely in reach for a weekend away.  The summer has been so nice in Seattle, but of course the day of the flight to Alvord, Paine was low IFR and scheduled to be until about Mid Day.  Turns out we were meeting people in Burns, and the weather was pretty good for an IFR departure, so I filed to Burns and off we went.  At about 500 feet we were in the clouds but it only lasted for about 10 mins..  Then we were in and out for the first ½ hour of the flight.  I filed for 7K, but asked for 9 since we could see the blue above us.  They finally gave us 9K and we climbed right out to the blue on top.

Got some fuel in Burns, and went the 1/2 hour to Alvord on full tanks.  Such an amazing experience.  Here are some photos and a video of our departure the following day.  Just an overnight, but with stargazing, fireworks, rockets, flares, drones and all kinds of fun night activities it really was a great get away.  The flight home was uneventful, we stopped in The Dalles for fuel, and with a slight headwind make it home in just over 3 ½ hours.

Click below for the Video !   Make sure you set your Settings to HD.

Video - Chasing my Shadow over the Alvord


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day at Sunriver

“Click Here” to watch videos

We had an unusually supreme day in the Northwest last Saturday.  Taking advantage of this we decided to make a long cross country over the mountains and down into Oregon.   The 2 hour flight to Sunriver was about as amazing of a flight that you can ever have in an RV.  Bekah and I got some great in cockpit video along with audio that really gives you an idea of how nice it was up in the sky.  Also we went down there with a gaggle of RVs (and one Trinidad), 5 planes in total.  We all launched at approximately the same time so were able to stay in contact with each other and provide position reports on the air to air frequency.  Air to Air radio works for hundreds of miles when all airplanes are up at altitude.   We all then arrived at Sunriver about the same time (within 20 mins), and one of the guys got a few great shots of us landing.  All in All was a terrific day ! !         

(When you watch the videos, make sure you have Audio, Maximize the screen, and Change settings to HD)


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Misc Winter Flying 2014/15

I haven’t posted for a while, but have been flying really consistently.  The winter this year has been great, so we have been getting up to some great stuff.  Here are some pics and things showing what we have been doing this winter !  


Friday, December 12, 2014

Quick Flight over Baker

Beautiful day in Seattle called for a quick flight into the mountains.  Baker stood out in the sunshine, so I had to get a closer look.  Watch the video, and make sure to set the Settings for  1080 HD.  Definitely one of the many reasons why I built this plane.

Click "HERE" for video

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quick trip east to Desert Aire

Unusual fall weather in Seattle leads to the clouds parting and completely clear weather for about a week now.   Bekah and I took advantage with some friends to cross the mountains over to Eastern Washington.  Our destination was Desert Aire on the Columbia river for a quick lunch.  It was a great trip and we met up with a couple friends in the air, one of which we had never met and he was from the east side of the mountains.  The weather was clear and beautiful, so we had an amazing time.  Its considerably rare to be able to get over the mountains in November like this and we wanted to take advantage, and luckily we were able to fly formation and have a few really nice pics taken of us over Snoqualmie Pass.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trip to the Races

The summer of 2014 has been quite a summer full of flying.  The last big trip of the year was down to Reno for the National Air Races.  On this trip, I took a friend from work who had an in on some great box seats.  After watching weather all week and ending up with a great Friday morning, we opted for a 7:00 am departure.  I found out another VAF Friend was flying down from Puyallup on same day same time, so we coordinated flight paths.  He got off the ground before we did so was always about 40 miles ahead of us.  We were able to reach out and talk on air to air frequency the entire way.  That worked out great for us because he could provide visibility reports ahead which due to the amount of Forest Fire Smoke in the air around Crater Lake helped put our flight at ease.  Smoke is a different animal than clouds because it doesn’t have any visible boundary.  Flying into it, you can easily lose all visibility without even seeing it coming.  Luckily on the trip down we were able to stay on top of it for the most part, and still have enough visibility to see the ground directly below us.  Crater lake wasn’t very visible though which definitely was a bummer.  We made it to Reno in 3.5 hours with almost neutral winds.  Getting the rental car from the FBO and opting to skip the hotel check in till later, we were able to make it to the races by early afternoon hardly missing any of the Friday show.

I knew we had good Box Seats, but had no idea just how good they were or the history that came with them until we arrived.  It was shocking when we walked into the grounds and walked right up to show center and into the first row Box.  The owner of our box had been going to the races for over 29 years and has had this box for much of that time.  He named it the S.O.B. Box, which of course stands for “Steersman’s Owners Box” and has a very recognizable banner on the box.  It truly was one of the best 2 or 3 boxes at the Races which made for an amazing show.  Also the box had a very dramatic history which effected all the people who had been going to the races and historically sharing that box.  You may have heard of the Galloping Ghost accident in 2011?  The most tragic accident at the races in history where the plane impacted in the box seat area killing several attendees.  Well that plane hit about 20 feet from the box, but the direction of the blast fortunately reflected away from the box to spare all the lives of the members in that box.  In fact, all neighboring boxes suffered deaths in the horrific incident.  I could feel the connection that all the S.O.B. members and neighboring boxes held based on that tragic event.  Also, it was eerie as so many  people in the neighboring boxes had prosthetics in place due to the loss of limbs etc. that happened in that accident.  It seems that these Air Race Fans are so dedicated to aviation and their losses from that day have somehow made them an even more dedicated and greater part of the air races and they continue to come year after year even post-accident.

We had Pit Passes too, which allowed us to go mingle with the teams and learn more about each aircraft.  I think I am team Rare Bear..  Such a beautiful plane !

The final Ultimate Gold heat was great, although there were 3 mayday calls I think.  All landed safely but in the end it made for an interesting heat.  Rare Bear was one of the mayday calls, and of course Strega was out from the day prior, so a few of the big hitters didn’t even finish or compete in the last heat.   In the end it was Voodoo in First, followed by Czech Mate, with Precious Metal in 3rd.  Fourth was Dreadknot and due to a contested line break from Precious Metal, I think Dreadnaught ended up taking third in the end.   Quite an interesting end to the Air Races this year.
Here are a couple videos that are really worth watching:
Our trip home went as planned as well, except for even more smoke in the air all the way from Reno to Seattle.  Basically is seems the entire west coast is burning right now.  The only bonus was that Crater Lake was slightly more visible this time through and I got some photos of the lake with a friend whom we flew home with posing in his RV-7A.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Johnson Creek

We have done a ton of flying this summer, but still have a couple more items on the list that we really wanted to hit.  Johnson Creek was one of them.  Johnson Creek is kind of a legend airport in the RV world that you really have to go to at least once in your life.  It is a very mountainous place and there is a recommended approach procedure to follow located “ here” that is designed to provide as much safety as possible.  I read the procedure back and forth, also watched a ton of videos that others have made to get as familiar as possible.  You definitely need to know your airplane and have some mountain flying experience before going in to Johnson Creek.  I had a Go Pro on the wing that actually captured a pretty amazing video that you can see below.
For this trip, we made plans with a friend who has an RV up at Arlington to meet up Friday at 4:00 in the air above Snohomish.  From there we flew together in a 10 knot headwind the whole way to Johnson Creek getting there about in about 2.5 hours.  As you can see in the video, it put our arrival right in the early evening which made for some great shadows in the canyon.  Bekah and I were shocked to see how serious this canyon is.  The canyon walls are much steeper and much closer in that even the video suggests.  It’s a wide angle camera lens so while it captures everything, in reality those walls and trees are much more daunting than even visible in the video.
After arriving we quickly set up camp and made a huge fire with the free firewood as the temps plummeted.  Overnight it got down into the 20’s, but then the next day as the sun came up over the canyon walls the temps shot up hitting about 80 degrees on our hike to the famous hot springs bath tub..   Here I am getting in my morning bath ;-) While Bekah, Scott and Casey get the famous foot soak.  Such a great trip and just amazing that we are lucky enough to do things like this.
The Flight home was fairly bumpy as we departed mid-day in the high density altitude, and continued as we came across the Idaho mountains into Washington.  We refueled near Walla Walla and then shot across the Cascades in much smoother air making it home by late afternoon.  Amazing trip !


Places we have been in our RV-7 ! (Blue 2013, Yellow 2014, Green 2015, Purple 2016, Red 2017)