I finally joined a partnership in late 2004 on a beautifully maintained Piper Warrior PA-28-161. It's great having an airplane I can now fly almost whenever I want, but with work and weather, the flying in the first year has been less than I hoped, but what we've been able to fly has been a blast. Here are some highlights of the first year of ownership:
Friday Harbor - OK, this was actually just before 'real' ownership, but this probably sealed the deal. Sightseeing flight to Friday Harbor with Mary, Mark and Deb LaVille, great vis. Spotted 12 Orcas near Orcas Island, circled low over the killer whales. Mark flew the approach and landing into Friday Harbor. I flew the return to Renton at dusk.
Hood River, OR - This was my first 'solo' flight in a powered aircraft in many years, and it sure felt great. Solo cross-country, flew a downwind departure from runway 33 to Lake Youngs, then crossed SeaTac at 1500'. Flew down the Puget Sound to Olympia, then generally followed I-5 south to just north of Kelso, then flew over the mountains direct to Hood River. Nice views south of Mt. St. Helens, strong headwinds on final into the sun at the Hood River airport.
Sightseeing with Mary and Theresa (in the co-pilot seat) on a beautiful Tuesday winter afternoon. Great vis, flew a 360 over our house, then cruised south past a beautiful Mt. Rainier. Got with 12 miles of Mt. St. Helens, fully covered in snow, just a bit of smoke in the caldera, no real steam, took photos. Nice foothill views, just a slight bit of turbulence around 3500' climbing and descending. Lots of local VFR traffic, flew a straight-in to runway 33 at Renton, strong headwinds, nice slow touchdown.
Sightseeing with David (in the left seat) on a beautiful sunny February winter afternoon. Great vis, flew a downwind departure from Rwy 33 at Renton to a SeaTac crossing at 1500'. Cruise climbed generally west to the south foothills of the Olympic Mountains, then flew direct to Lake Quinalt. Descended down to the coast for photography along the Washington west coast and rock formations. Great in-flight views of the rugged coastline and rock formations. Flew a straight-in to runway 4 at Quillayute for a touch-and-go, then a left pattern for a low approach. Continued south along the coast for more photography, then back along the south foothills, just south of the Bremerton tower airspace. Got another SeaTac crossing eastbound at 1500' to a straight-in to runway 33 at Renton.
Downwind departure from Rwy 15 at Renton to the north with Mary, Theresa and Deb LaVille, just after rapid clearing from earlier foggy conditions. Somewhat hazy, due to the recent fog, en route to Snohomish, clearer north of Bellevue, foggy still to the west of the Sound. Made a 360 for spacing on the 45, entered as the third of four aircraft to downwind and my first landing over the trees and powerlines on runway 14 at Harvey Field, landed slightly long but on speed, easy rollout to the end. Enjoyed lunch at Chuck's Seafood Grotto and the girls checked out the Snohomish shops. Departure from Rwy 32 at Harvey Field in Snohomish to the south, much clearer than the morning flight, still a bit of distant haze. Smooth cruise at 2500' to Bellevue and a direct entry to downwind from the east Channel bridge.
Mary and Theresa to Friday Harbor. Departed on runway 33 at Renton, with Ma in the front seat and T in back, then flew nearly direct via GPS from the East Channel, east of downtown Seattle and then along the western edge of Whidbey Island. T was able to get a photo over her apartment complex while flying over Bothell. Nice visibility en route, got clearance direct to Friday Harbor from Whidbey Approach. Descended directly to the 45 entry into runway 16 at Friday Harbor, #4 in the pattern with a straight-in in the mix, busy! Great seafood dinner in Friday Harbor, gorgeous weather. The girls swapped for the return, and we departed straight out on runway 16, and got clearance from Whidbey Approach to skirt the edge of their airspace and proceed along the western edge of Whidbey Island. Continued over north Seattle to an East Channel arrival to downwind and landing on runway 33 at Renton.