This evening I took Lisa and Miguel up in N54477 with the intention of flying to Pacific City then up the Oregon Coast to Manzanita and back to Hillsboro. We departed at 7:35 and began a slow climb to the southeast to 6,500. As we crossed the coastal range it became clear that the entire Oregon Coast was covered in overcast! The weather observation in Astoria reported few clouds at the time of departure, but Newport was overcast, and unfortunately there are no METAR reporting points between those airports. We turned northeast towards Scappoose and climbed to 7,500 to try to get any glimpse of the ocean, but there were too many clouds.

Although we didn’t make it to the coast, I think my passengers still had a good time on their first general aviation flight. Miguel took in the scenery from the back seat, and although Lisa was a little nervous at first, I think she grew more comfortable as the flight progressed. I let her take the control wheel for a few minutes while we were over the coastal range at 7,500 feet, and she kept us straight and level like a pro. They passed the camera back and forth and took lots of great pictures.

Climbing over the Coastal RangeLakes off the Columbia

We were doing fine on time so we decided to fly over downtown, so over Scappoose I called Portland Approach and received a transponder code to enter the Class C airspace. They instructed us to maintain west of the Willamette, and we complied as we flew directly over downtown Portland. Over Lake Oswego we turned toward Hillsboro and landed straight in on runway 30 with winds from 300 at 15 knots. We all had a great time, and there was even talk of making another flight next week. Count me in!

St. John's AreaEast Portland

MiguelLisaForest GroveMiguel, AstonishedShipyardThe Freemont Bridge

(More pictures here)

Fly-In Chinese Food

July 19th, 2007
Satellite Image of the Taxiway to the Chinese Restaurant

Tonight I flew my girlfriend to Albany and ate dinner at Lum Yuen, the Chinese Restaurant right off the airport. It’s actually a very convenient fly-in restaurant. After landing, you follow the taxiway past the south end of the runway, continue over a little bridge, and park the airplane about 200 feet from the restaurant. The food was pretty good–we over-ordered and ended up flying back with three giant to-go boxes. The flight itself was nice, and although there wasn’t much of a sunset due to the cloud cover, we were able to experience the beauty of night flying on the return to Hillsboro. Upon arriving at our home airport the pattern was empty, and we weren’t in a hurry to get back on the ground, so we overflew the field and entered a 45 for a right downwind on runway 30, even though we were approaching from the south and a left base entry would have been far more efficient. Sometimes, though, efficiency isn’t the objective!

Approaching Albany

(More pictures here)

Rob & TJ’s First Flight

July 11th, 2007

This evening I took up two new friends, Rob and TJ, today being TJ’s 21st Birthday. It was another blazing hot day with a thick haze throughout the valley and light winds from the southwest. My passengers were completely ecstatic to be in an airplane, and I pretty much let them set the course for the 1.1 hour flight.

The Sun Sets Behind the Clouds over the Coastal RangeOn Glideslope, Short Final 30
Cleared For Takeoff, Runway 20Over Forest Grove at 1500 FeetTJ Freaking Out!Between Newberg and Lake OswegoLining Up for Straight-In Approach, Runway 30

We circled TJ’s house in Forest Grove at 1500 feet, then took a scenic tour of Haag Lake northwest of Gaston. We turned back to the east and flew over Newberg, then to Lake Oswego at 3000 to catch a view of downtown Portland’s high rises. We all had a blast; I think today I created some new fans of aviation! (More pictures here)

It was 100 degrees in Hillsboro today, and the density altitude at the surface was 3000 feet! I took to the air by myself in N54477 and made my way to Albany (S12) for some landing practice in the 172P. The pattern was empty, so I did 10 touch-and-gos, mostly power-off landings. My landings were looking smooth, so I departed the pattern, climbed to 4,500 feet and performed a couple power-on stalls on my way back to Hillsboro.

The haze produced a beautiful sunsetThe Willamette River on my return flight from Albany

It was an uneventful but pleasant flight, and a great way to escape to cooler temperatures on an unbearably hot day at the surface. This flight also marked my 100th hour of flying time.

Cessna 172P Checkout

July 7th, 2007
Cessna 172P

Today I was checked out to fly the Cessna 172P. It’s older than the 172SP airplanes I have been flying, and it has a carburetor instead of a fuel injection system, which requires an understanding of carburetor icing and how to prevent it. Starting the engine is also different than the SP, but simpler. The checkout went pretty well; the instructor had me do a short field takeoff from Hillsboro, perform some steep turns in the west practice area, maneuver in slow flight, and divert to Sportsman airport (2S6) in Newberg. After a full stop in Newberg we climbed to 3,500 and performed 2 power-off stalls and 2 power-on stalls, then headed back to Hillsboro for a simulated engine failure and another landing. The P model is $17/hour cheaper than the SP, so it should reduce the cost of flying a bit.

To the Summit of Mt. Hood

July 3rd, 2007

Today I rented an airplane for the first time in nearly three weeks, and what a flight! My girlfriend came equipped with her new digital SLR camera, and we flew completely around Mt. Hood just before sunset. My photographer took pictures furiously, accumulating 860 images (2.41GB worth) during the two hour flight.

Southeast Face of Mt. Hood with Mt. St. Helens in the Background

The density altitude was about 13,000 feet at cruise elevation, and the climb to cruise crawled as slow as 200 feet per minute. We climbed to 11,500 feet and circled the mountain clockwise starting from the northwest face. As we circled the mountain we could see the chair lifts at Timberline Lodge and we inspected the fine details of the glacier at the summit.

Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. AdamsNorth face of Mt. Hood with Mt. Jefferson in the Background
East Face of Mt. Hood Before SunsetThe Willamette River running through Downtown Portland after Sunset

After absorbing the view for as long as we could, we turned back towards home. I called Portland Approach 20 miles to the east of PDX and they vectored us around traffic as we descended into the class C airspace. We could see some occasional fireworks throughout the city as we crossed Portland en route to Hillsboro, then I called the tower over the west hills and closed my flight plan with McMinville radio when I had the airport in sight. After entering the pattern at Hillsboro airport I made the radio call “Hillsboro Tower Cessna 386ME on right base 30 full stop” and received the reply “386ME you’re still on McMinville Radio”. Gah!! Thoroughly embarrassed, I switched back to COM 1 and repeated my call over the correct frequency, then touched down smoothly on runway 30. We’ve been talking about making this flight ever since we visited Mt. St. Helens, and we’ll both be repeating this one many times, without question!

Northwest Face of Mt. HoodBull Run LakeSouthwest Face of Mt. HoodNorthwest Face of Mt. Hood, Just Before SunsetThe City of Vancouver and the Columbia River after SunsetThe Ross Island, Marquam, Hawthorne, and Morrison Bridges

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