Thursday, September 5, 2013

A flight around Mount Adams

The husband of Marianne's friend in Yakima works for a company that builds small planes. Dave is also a pilot and kindly volunteered to take me up in the company plane and fly down to nearby Mount Adams. You can see where we flew here.

Inside the factory that is located at the Yakima Airport.

The plane we were to fly in was a Sport Cub with a 100 hp engine. It is essentially a copy of the Piper Cub that was built between 1937 and 1947. It is very easy to fly and is good for teaching how to fly. It also has a very short take off and landing. The company builds more powerful models that have a 180 hp engine.

Off in the distance you can see Mount Adams, our destination.

Dave did the usual pre-flight inspection. He was very thorough and by the way, he is a qualified instructor.

The passenger sits behind the pilot and it was a bit of a struggle for my less than agile body to get into the plane and in the seat.

The head set. The microphone has to be right in front of your lips.

Dave and the controller in the tower went through the usual gobbledygook that gave Dave permission to take off.  I asked Dave if he really understood what the controller was saying and he laughed. Apparently the same words are repeated time and time again and after a while you just get to know what is being said.

Dave revved the engine and in a few seconds we were airborne.

In a few minutes we had left the valley and were flying over the hills south of Yakima.

Mount Rainier with its peak in the clouds.

Curious pattern on the hillside.

The mountain range south of Mount Rainier.

Because of the terrain and trees there were no places to land in an emergency. Dave took the plane up to 9000 feet so that he could glide to safety if the engine failed. 

The little disk above Dave's head is the air-conditioning. Just open it and the cool air comes in. 

The speed of the plane depends on what the wind is doing. We averaged about 75 to 80 mph. 

We eventually reached the mountain and started to circle it.

Dave mentioned that when he first arrived in Yakima, the mountain was covered in snow all year. Now the glaciers and snow are almost gone by the end of the summer.

Notice the unusual pattern at the bottom of the photo.

This is the only way you get to see views of a huge mountain like this.

Off in the distance about 35 miles away was Mount St Helens which erupted in 1980. Most of the damage was to the north of the mountain, but I certainly would not want to have been in our plane at the time.

The ground was jet black.

Mount Hood to the south about 50 miles away.

It is just wonderful being able to look out and see everything with virtually no encumbrance. 

We started to head back to Yakima but Dave took a different route to the east so that we could see some wild horses that live on the tops of the hills.

On occasion we got down to a hundred feet or so. Fortunately the air was calm and smooth most of the time.

The wild horses.

As we crossed the valley to the south of Yakima, Dave encouraged me to try flying the plane. I managed to do a few turns and then my task was to aim for this feature on the hills just to the south of Yakima. It was a bit like steering a barge for the first time. You are not quite sure how much to adjust the levers, but you eventually get the hang of it. Next time I would read the manual first.

Dave landed the plane in what appeared to be about 100 feet of runway. 

I got a tour of the factory. Here is the body frame.

The company sells the planes already built or as kits. This kit was almost ready to be shipped to Australia.

This was one of the most amazing experiences and many thanks to Dave for taking me.

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