Flight - 2/26/05 - Olympic Beaches.

This is my first actual trip in my new (half share) Maule M7. This is also the first time I'm brining passengers and subjecting them to my sometimes bouncy landings. Worse, my friends Marie Hong and Shannon Marie are not pilots and may be somewhat nervous about flying in a small airplane.

The morning is foggy but forecast to clear. We meet at noon in foggy Ballard but when we arrive at Paine Field it is perfectly clear. We are flying the Olympic loop counter clockwise. From Paine field we fly west along the north coast of the Olympic peninsula to Tatoosh island, the north west most point of the continental US. I've done this loop twice before but felt I had the time to go all the way out to this corner. This time I do. From there we head south. The northern portion of this coast is the more remote and beautiful. There are numerous rocky islands off the coast. The sea is calm and we can see through to rocks and some kelp.

Tatoosh Island

The many islands along the north coast.

We land at Quillayute (UIL), which is an interesting airport. It's large and feels abandoned. There is grass growing through the cracks in the concrete taxi way. The hangers are large, dilapidated wood buildings with old, abandoned machinery. But there is a porta potty and a picnic bench. It makes for an interesting stop.

On of the large rivers flowing out of the Olympic Mountains.

At the south end of the peninsula is Copalis State (S16), the only beach designated as a public landing strip in the US. Landing here is the highlight of a trip for me. I love landing at this relatively remote place and I love that I am just on the beach.

I also like walking my landing tracks to see what they say about my landing. This landing feels like a smooth 3 point touchdown. When I get back to the start I see exactly that: 3 point touch down followed by small hops as the plane slowly stops flying.

Touch down track with the plane in the distance.

Me and my new airplane.

Marie Hong on the beach.

From the beach we hop over to Shelton for fuel then back to Paine Field in the evening light. Everything went well and all landings were gentile.

The next day I had plans to take Marie and her father Howard down to Tillamook to see the air museum. Unfortunately morning fog prevented a timely departure and we scaled back to a trip to the San Juans.

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