What Goes Up…

UPDATE TIME! Working on a couple educational video projects, one with the C.A.F. featuring the B-17 ‘Sentimental Journey’ and the other a very interesting look at Density Altitudes, for the FAAST FAA Safety Team NW. (Aside from actually getting to FLY A B-17) Some of the wake vorticity study we did recently was especially interesting:


-=Gs=-

Posted on October 12, 2012 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comments Off

Spokane Veterans See True Colors on WPA Foliage Flight

0430: I rush to the computer for the official Go/No-Go weather check. It’s POURING outside. But the radar also shows a rapid clear slot.  Just then, “It’s a GO” beeps the phone with Paul on it, practically taxiing already.  It had stopped raining completely by the time I finished my breakfast brick and quarter cup of half n half.

Gray traces of dawn breaking above memorial flag in Medical Lake, WA

The sun cracks through the cloud base of a misty dawn, silhouetting a single American Flag across the field bearing a certain local Veteran’s memorial. I’m in a Super8 at Medical Lake, and this is my call.  Just a group of simple Civilian Pilots on a yearly patriotic mission…

7 airplanes, 10 pilots, 20 vets and a couple very lucky by-standers took flight this year with Spokane Chapter WPA members. Carolyn thankfully gathered the real food, yummy SUBWAY (Jacob, our sandwich ‘artist’) and everybody at WESTERN AVIATION very kindly donated their hangar.  Meanwhile, I bump into Terry and Dana at Spokane Airways and didn’t even know they were taking part!  This is going to be a good day. Touching down on the still somewhat-glistening Runway 3L at Felts Field, Paul was already in the pattern doing those touch n’ goes  ‘Just working some bubbles out of my new right strut’ he says.

Pilots Tom Morris, Marian Heale, Dana Newcomb, Gary White, Geoff Scott, Paul Vietzke, Terry Newcomb and Dan Melville enjoy a dry spot on the ramp at Felts.

MY FLIGHTNOTES:

  1. Silverwood is building what appears to be a new high-speed/volume teardrop shaped park entrance off Highway95. Big enough to land a small Citation on.
  2. Bitteroot Western Slopes: “Not a spot of color, except for Marian’s Citabria”
  3. Eastern slopes of Lake Coeur D’Alene: Engulfed by smoke. To the extent made a quick call to Spokane approach; “We didn’t just fly into a new TFR, did we?” Thankfully, we had not.
  4. Did anyone else notice how accommodating Felts Tower was? Impressively cool ATC Doug and Kelly provided some ‘red-carpet’ service in an already crowded day, complete with special message; “We are so glad up here you (all) do this for our veterans… thank you. Continue taxi back to Ramp.”

V.A. Director Pam Wick; “Most of these vets have never done anything like this before and they were so excited and thrilled to have gotten the opportunity.  …Thank you for your time and generosity, and know we truly appreciate all the pilots involved.” Left with a smile a mile-wide, I now think how thankful I am, to be able to share such feeling of freedom as flight, with these true heroes who dedicated their lives, protecting ours.

We salute you! Spokane area veterans take flight with the WPA.

Ride along with us and see! PICTURES/SLIDESHOW POSTED HERE

Even MORE exciting photographic aerial adventures are POSTED HERE

Posted on October 3, 2011 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment

TOO Close For Comfort… TS Season Returns!

Recently asked me to share some of my CB collection with you~ Unfortunately, it turns out, I know the subject all TOO WELL. These accounts are posted to serve as a reminder that mother nature is NOT to be taken lightly, and even though I have studied weather systems for nearly 40 years~ There’s always more to be learned, with every frontal passage. IN THE SKIES- around, through, or under them is NOT the place to learn about Convective (Vertical Build) or Orographic Development. In other words; *DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!*…

LESSONS LEARNED:
Having flown gliders in New England, landed with ice, and even as a traffic reporter in Boston, observed in some of the worst 300ft weather imaginable… I wonder if perhaps all this experience had diluted my pilot “spidey-senses” when it comes to “go” or “not go.” The day the instructor and I saw building cumulus a few miles off the airport with a single ponytail of virga around 6,000’ (Hint #2) 20-30 minutes before it would be even close I figured, “No big deal. We can still squeeze in three or four T n G‘s,” and three minutes of actual consideration later, I selfishly committed us to one of the most death defying rides of an almost shortened-life;
…As soon as I applied full throttle to the little C150, the winds bee lined from 300 @ 6 (RWY HDG) to 14G22 out of 270, and almost full rudder was needed just to keep us aligned (Hint #3). Rotating into what should have been a 400 FPM climb, it just lumbered along as if to say “You sure you want go there?” (Hint #4). Barely climbing with an increasing groundspeed (Hint #5) the airspeed indicator dancing between ends of the green arc (Hint #6). How many clues does it take? “Down draft! My airplane.” Instructor commanded over intercom as we narrowly cleared what would be the edge of the plateau. Still flying … barely. We were now in that shaft of rain that seemed so far away (Hint #1). Ground-speeding faster still showing 60kts and trying to squeeze every vertical foot out of our violently pitching aircraft, it had gone from “pleasure” to “pressure” flight in 6,000’ horizontally in less than a minute.
On the radio three other aircraft squawking their displeasure at this sudden turn of weather, trying to race in below the cascading curtain. One pilot said “It’s like this for 100 miles… this is the alternate”. Tower, dutifully accommodated (while clamoring to amend the METAR) all of us in a controller equivalent of “All aircraft cleared for landing, any runway.” We positioned ourselves for a very short final for RWY30, then RWY26, then, cleared to RWY30 again-much like the winds now 19G32 teetering between 270 & 310 degrees with an occasional 060 just to keep things interesting. Two aircraft in front, one aside, landing like a carefully choreographed routine, one clearing the runway as the other would land adjacent… couldn’t have been scripted any better by trained formation pilots! Then it was our turn as the instructor, keeping power in, jammed the nose down and pointed it at the numbers. “Keep our speed up in that downdraft” she said. We spiraled down to a 45 degree final. Right before the threshold, we cut throttle and began a 5,000’ flare down the 6,000’ surface. Settling as gracefully as if driving over a small log, but alive and on the ground. Hands melded to the shape of yoke, braking together, barely, we made the last taxiway. Tower had already cleared us to the gate back at the ‘first’ flare. Lighting crashed; I later noticed how close the flash really was when I had to reset my blinking dashboard clock. That was close enough into the “mouth of doom” for us that day.

     

  1. Always get the full weather briefing from approved sources EVEN IF “it’s just pattern work” Conditions change very rapidly near severe weather. In our case, the time it took to taxi and perform a run-up.
  2. USE YOUR ADM. in a reasonable logical order, beware of “macho”, “complacent”, and “Oh we’ve done this A MILLION TIMES BEFORE” it can kill you… Wondering about limits and extremes is best served over a warm cup of vending machine coffee in the pilots lounge ~ Not while flying them.
  3. If you’re ready to depart, and find yourself thinking; “Hmmm, SHOULD we, or SHOULDN’T we?” Chances are pretty good this is probably good time NOT to. the longer it takes to justify (like our departure) the less likely it is we should actually do it!
  4. There’s a REASON to avoid severe weather by 20+ miles. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there- Inflows, outflows, sudden core shifts and even hail cascading out of sides of clouds …. Again, more fun watching from the ground than from un-expectantly IN IT.

LINK: to the VIDEOS PAGE and see some incredible cloud development shots!!!

Posted on April 17, 2011 | Posted by Geoff Scott | 1 Comment