We had been discussing taking one or more of our club sailplanes on a weekend expedition, but hadn't recently been able to make everything come together. During the weekend of 13-14 July 2002, Arlington operations were going to be shut down due to the Arlington airshow, so we planned to try an expedition with the BESC L-23 and SuperCub towplane to the Darrington, WA airport, located about 25 miles northwest of Arlington in the mountains.
On Saturday, 13 July 2002, a group of club members headed out via road to Darrington, while Don Banford and I flew in L-23 N264BA, towed by Krzys Kasprowicz in the Super Cub to and from the Darrington airport. Jim Hale, the Darrington airport manager, welcomed us to the airfield and explain local operations. Overcast conditions started the day, and then partial clearing provided a mostly sunny afternoon. Kris provided 11 total tows, providing 11 excellent orientation flights in the Darrington skies.
David Owen, John Mayton, Keith Purves, Alan Kirlin, Tony Wiederkehr, Don Banford and Al Gregg all received Darrington area checkouts and ridge flights in N264BA. The ridge was working on and off throughout the day on Gold Mountain, once the prevailing westerly winds began to blow up the valley to the ridge. Gold Mountain provides a great location for ridge training, since the Darrington airfield is nearly below you if you fall off the ridge. Just cross the Sauk River and you're basically in the traffic pattern for landing.
Evergreen also joined us with two of their L-13s, which kept the pattern hopping.
The field is at an elevation of 543 feet, Lat N48-15-29, Long W121-36-34. The runway is aligned 10/28, 2490' x 40', asphalt. Tall trees border the runway to the north and west. Ramp and parking areas are to the south, along with a wind indicator at the center south side of the runway. The CTAF frequency is 122.9. Landing is done with a left-hand pattern that begins at 1000' AGL south of the runway, normally landing to the west on Rwy 28.
To drive to Darrington, take I-5 north past the normal Arlington airport exit, and exit at the Arlington city exit. From Arlington, follow signs to Darrington on State Hwy 530, about 25 miles east of Arlington. The airport is in the north part of town, on your left as you enter on Hwy 530.