My last update was in mid-June. I have flown a couple of times since then, but it has been a sparse summer. Time(Life) seems to get away from you sometimes. The weather up here in Reno this summer has been a bit on the warm side and we seem to be in an unusual string of thunderstorm days. Last night one built right over the house – REALLY noisy. Fortunately the plane was safely tucked away in its hangar by then.
Yesterday morning the Carson City EAA Chapter (403) had it’s monthly Young Eagles event. I got up early and drove a half hour north so that I could fly a half hour south and be a ground volunteer. It actually would have been quicker to drive to the Carson Airport (KCXP) but what fun is that? I helped with the computer set-up, printing out First Flight Certificates and general things that needed to be done. The chapter flew 13 kids so it was a successful event.
A few of us were considering attending a BBQ lunch at an airport about an hour NE of Carson City – Winnemucca, NV (KWMC) but by the time we had cleaned up from the Young Eagles event the latest TAF for the airport included rain showers and thunderstorms. Suddenly BBQ didn’t sound that good.
We ended up flying all the way to the South Lake Tahoe Airport (KTVL). If you could fly there in a straight line it’s about 25 nm from Carson City. That would take something with a much better climb capability than I have. There were three planes: I was in the Swift, two other members were in a Cherokee 180 and a fourth was in a Cessna 172. There is a 2-story operations building on the south end of the ramp (the helicopter parking area) that has a restaurant on the second floor. The Flight Deck has mostly glass walls facing the runway and outside balcony seating that provides excellent airplane watching. Lots of bizjet traffic. Just in the time we were eating three Citations (including a Citation X), a PC-12 and a Gulfstream landed as well as a handful of upscale piston types (upscale meaning manufactured after 2000). Since it is Lake Tahoe and factoring in the casinos and entertainment venues I imagine there is a fairly steady flow of jet charters and personal jets in and out of the airport.
We had a nice lunch while watching the traffic, then headed back out to our respective planes. I taxied out past two of the jet charter crews and waved as I went by – neither responded. Oh well. The take-off went fine even with the AWOS reminding you that the density altitude was 8400′. I took off on runway 36 toward the lake and turned east at the shoreline. I continued to climb as I followed the shore around to the area west of Incline Village on the north shore and crossed the ridgeline while looking straight down runway 11 at Truckee (KTRK). From there I turned north, stayed west of the ridgelines and went through the gap between the two 8300’+ peaks and headed back to Stead (KRTS). When I finally could receive the AWOS the winds were from 110 deg at 8 kts, so I maneuvered for landing on Runway 14. By the time I got around to the runway they were from 130 and 8 gusting to 13. As the days heat up around here the winds pick up and when they decide to start blowing it doesn’t take long to become a significant factor in your landing decisions. I chose to use a no-flap landing. I can use the airplane again so I consider it successful.
It was an overall fun day. A bit warm and the last leg got pretty bumpy around all the ridgelines, but not so bad as to take the fun out of the flying. I logged 1.8 hours, three landings and had a good lunch. I need more of those days…