Touring the Oregon coast

Today I went on a tour: out to the coast, south, and back inland.

I started in the northeast corner (Corvallis), flew west to Newport (KONP), then flew south to Florence (6S2), then inland to Eugene (KEUG) and back north to Corvallis. Amusingly, none of the endpoints are at least 50 nautical miles apart, so none of this counts as “cross country” flying :)

From Corvallis, I flew west over forested hills towards the ocean. Winds at Newport were sporty: blowing from 320 at 14 knots gusting to 19 knots. My runway of choice was 34, and that meant landing from its west side (left traffic), so I crossed over midfield well above pattern altitude and headed out to sea:

It felt kind of strange to fly out towards the ocean and then start descending towards it, with the runway at my back. But that’s what you need to do: fly across, descend in a right turn to enter the left downwind for runway 34. When I reached downwind I could really feel that north wind pushing me along to the south! I turned base and it was actually a little dizzying as I was banking and turning in the air but the entire air was moving south, so it looked like the ground was sliding to my left (which it was). I crabbed across base and turned final, adding a few extra knots for the gust factor. I landed neatly and then had a long taxi down the runway to the first place you can exit. :)

I taxied back to depart on runway 34. I took off, turned left, and here is the view looking south:

I had a very lovely flight south along the coast to Florence. Sunny, waves below, sandy beaches and rocky beaches – delightful! At Florence, however, the winds were even stronger: blowing from 330 at 18 knots gusting to 26 knots. The runway was well aligned (33), but that’s a lot of gusting. A Cherokee was ahead of me and I hoped to benefit from their experience. In fact, after they landed and exited the runway, they kindly warned me of “strong winds on final”. I continued down and prepared to land. This time turning base was even more exciting because I started encountering bumpy air. Final was even wilder, with sudden bumps up and down, airspeed oscillations, and even being shoved to the side and tilted. I didn’t like the approach, so I did a go-around and came back to try again. The second time, the same thing happened, and I went around again. The third time I got a bit of smoother air, and I was hopeful, but then a crazy downdraft, weird tilt to the right, and airspeed varying between 85 and 65 knots was enough for me to throw in the towel. If you can’t get a stabilized approach, it’s not worth it. So I departed for my next stop and will have to visit Florence another time!

As I departed, I flew past this breathtaking forest fire. (You can clearly see what the wind direction is!)

I diverted around the fire and flew on to Eugene, where I was treated to… a towered airport! Wow, it felt like coming home. The winds were from 360 at 14 knots gusting to 19 knots (landing runway 34R), similar to Newport, and I didn’t have any trouble with it. I then taxied back to take off again… this time behind a massive Delta jet! (Wow, it felt so nice to have a ground controller as well!) I departed to the north for Corvallis and had a short, uneventful flight home. Another lovely day of flying in Oregon!