I’ve seen very few days more beautiful than yesterday here in the Pacific Northwest. Since I had a few days’ notice that it would be gorgeous, I booked the 172 I usually fly, with the intention of doing my long 3-leg cross country flight required for my private pilot’s license. Oh man, let me tell you, it was just amazing up there. Most of my flying lately has been in the choppy springtime air, so I was delighted to find the air incredibly stable. Surface visibility was a little impaired, as it will be in such a stable atmosphere, but I could still see for many miles through the light haze.
I left Troutdale Airport (KTTD), and tracked inbound to the Newberg VOR (UBG), and then outbound using the V182 airway to Newport, Oregon on the coast (KONP). Climbing to 8500′ on the first leg, it was like driving a car over newly paved asphalt. It’s the first time I’ve been that high, and I was impressed by how easy pilotage is from this vantage point.
Arriving at Newport, I heard another aircraft taking off on runway 34. I swung out wide over the coast to enter the left downwind for 34, but heard the pilot who had just taken off request that I let him in front of me so he could do an emergency landing. He reported that he had “low power” and worried that his engine was on the fritz. Of course, I was happy to oblige, and circled over the ocean once so he could slip past me. On landing, I went inside the FBO to see a friend of mine who runs the show there. He and I watched the pilot who had been in trouble taking off again. Turns out his flaps were extended and he hadn’t realized it. That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m always afraid will happen to me when I’m flying! 😉
After a refreshing Snickers bar, I took to the sky again, traveling up the coast to Tillamook Airport (S47) for a touch and go, before climbing out over the coast range to return to Troutdale. As an aside for avid ‘simmers, one of my final checkpoints before returning to TTD was overflying the Flying M Ranch, of Georender fame. All it took was a glance to spot it, as I’ve flown into it many times before in FS! Yep, there was that squarish pond, just to the right of the runway. Richard really nailed that one.
If anyone is sitting on the fence about taking flying lessons, let me heartily recommend it. Unless you’re independently wealthy, it’s fairly irresponsible from a fiscal standpoint. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the zero credit card balances on earth.