Friday Trip to Friday Harbor

August 26th, 2007

I had been planning a trip to Friday Harbor for weeks, and on Friday we finally made the flight. I reserved N54477 for a 7 hour block, took the day off of work, and flew with Tammy to the San Juan Islands. We departed at 1:00 pm and headed north via Longview, Chehalis, Olympia, Bremerton, and the Penn Cove VOR. The only weather we encountered along the flight were some scattered clouds at about 5,000 feet south of Bremerton, and we easily passed over the top of them at our cruising altitude of 6,500 feet. The most impressive sight along the route of flight had to be the Olympic Mountains to the west of our course; we honestly had no idea that peaks of their size existed along the Washington coast. There was plenty of military airspace to avoid on the way up. We passed over the top of area P-51 (a Navy submarine base), the Chinook B MOA which extends up to 5,000 feet, and Widbey Island Naval Air Station’s Class C airspace.

We arrived at the San Juan Islands and commenced an aerial tour, starting with Lopez island, then Orcas Island, before landing on Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Orcas Island yielded the most spectacular sights; we descended to 3,000 feet and flew through a tree-covered ravine and then directly over Mountain Lake. In the hazy distance to the west we could barely make out Victoria, Canada. All of the airports in the San Juans share the same CTAF frequency, so although the channel was congested at times, it was nice to hear position reports from other traffic as we toured the islands. After circling around Orcas Island and overflying Shaw Island, we turned towards San Juan Island.

We landed on Runway 16 at Friday Harbor Airport and taxied to the fuel pump, where I refueled the airplane myself for the first time. Downtown Friday Harbor is only a 10 minute walk from the airport, so we walked through the streets for a while looking for a good place to eat and stumbled upon the San Jan Brewing Company. We had some great Fish and Chips, Prawns, and Salmon, but neither of us cared for the fried oyster. After spending a couple hours on the ground we departed the island and headed back to Oregon, arriving in Hillsboro at 8:00 pm. The flight was a total of 4.5 hours, covering a distance of 394 nautical miles (452 statute miles). I’m very certain we’ll be repeating this trip.

(More pictures here)

One Response to “Friday Trip to Friday Harbor”

  1. Phil

    It’s amazing. Many of these “day trips” are what I would consider the chance of a lifetime. It’s crazy how the world opens up when you know how to fly.

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