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Orcas Island

This year I had the chance to go to the Orcas Island EAA flyin. What a great time we had. This was the first time that my wife Debbie had a chance to go airplane camping in the RV since it was finished 3 years ago. This was going to be an adventure that’s for sure. The plan was to get all ready and leave for Orcas on Friday afternoon. First stop was Bremerton (PWT) for a join up with Dan & Joyce Murphy who would be flying their RV9A up to Orcas also.

After a quick bite of lunch we headed out. Dan was lead and pulled out first, with me on his left wing we were off and flying. We practiced our formation flying all the way up to
Orcas, flying through Whidby NAS on the way and over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into the San Juan islands. The weather was perfect and the flight took about 45min.

We arrived at Orcas and got a nice camping spot on the front row of the taxiway. What a perfect setup as we could sit and judge the arrivals and departures all weekend from the comfort of our easy chairs. Dan and I got our tents out and setup, and after about an hour Lonie flew in with his Aircoop. I guess he’s a bit slower than traveling by RV! 🙂

By Friday evening everything was setup and with nothing further to do we headed in to Eastsound for dinner. The town is about 1/4 mile from the airport (at least that was what Dan said) We joked about that 1/4 mile all weekend each time we headed into town… seemed more like 1 mile to me, but who’s counting. Dinner was fantastic at Lulu’s Rustico Italian Restrauntae. Good pasta and salad. The day was finished out watching the arrivals into the twilight.

Saturday started with the sound of a loud flyby, provided by the local AME flight surgeon in his Lake Amphibian. A pass at about 3 feet off the runway was interesting to watch. Breakfast started at 7am at the local fire station on the end of the field. The firemen and firewomen served up pancakes,
eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee… Now you would think that’s enough, but Dan just had to have is Latte… so each day also included a hike to town to finde the coffee shop!

Dinner was provded on field by the EAA chapter. Steak dinner with all the trimmings, and they even had vegetable lasagna for us Veggies. It was very nicely done and the local
chapter really worked themselves to put it all on for us. A big thanks to them for all the hard work.

Sunday morning was pancakes again, then camp tear down for a departure by noon. What a great time we had just hanging out and talking with friends, making new friends, and watching airplanes. This was a low pressure, easy flyin that we will be returning to year after year from here out out! The flight home was and easy hour just loafing along. Neither Debbie or I wanted to get home any too quick so we just took our time and enjoyed the great weather and views of the San Juans on the way home.

More Pictures

TruTrak ADI

Well here is the latest upgrade to the plane. I replaced the basic turn coordinator I had in the panel with a new ADI from TruTrak. It is a solid state (no moving gyro) AH. TruTrak ADIIt shows pitch, roll, and gps direction and comes with a backlight. So far I have about 10 hours of flying on it and it works great. Keeping the right side up is easy using it. I played around a bit with it trying to tumble it. If you roll up to 90deg and then return upright it recovers quickly. If you roll all the way around 360deg it is tumbled for about 20 seconds, during which time it indicates low and slightly turning. After about 20 seconds it rights itself properly and continues to work fine with no external input.


I started construction of a Vans RV9A (SN 90374) in July 2001.
The first flight was February 23rd 2003!
Progress was steady for about 18 months. I used all the standard build kits from Vans Aircraft. Starting with the tail kit, then wings, next fuselage, then finally the finishing kit. FWF included a new Aerosport 0-320-D2A and Sensenich metal prop.

As the years and hours go by this plane just gets more and more fun to fly. We have taken trips all over the USA over the last 2 summers, traveling both to Oshkosh and Virginia and many points in between.

– Andy

There and back again – Oshkosh 2005

Oshkosh 1After days of clouds and weather in the northwest, just 12 hours since we dodged our way to Portland and back, the morning dawned calm with a large clearing over the Auburn / Kent area. With the plane loaded to the max, 2 daring aviators were ready for a 6 am liftoff. The forecast was for tailwinds the entire route east so things were looking good, just how good we were yet to find out! Climbing over the cascades at 11.5K we picked up 40kts on the tail as the big push eastward began. First stop was over 600 miles away in Lewistown MT. Neat; we still had over an hour of fuel left at the first stop. On we go to the next stop of Watertown SD, where we hit our first real heat. 95 deg on the ground sure got your attention. Next our course is north of Minneapolis with a final stop just outside of Oshkosh to ensure full fuel on landing. The day is running long at this point as we approach Ripon at 7:15pm. A quick check of approach control revels that the field is closed due to a mass Mooney arrival. 50+ planes are already in the holding patterns around every small lake south of Oshkosh, so we slow down our speed to give them time to clear out.

Arriving at Ripon, Oshkosh is now open with 30 min left of tower operation for the day, a quick merge into a line of airplanes as far back as you can see has us over the famous railroad tracks heading inbound to Fisk. White RV, rock your wings… Nicely done… Turn right and enter the crosswind for 18L… switch to tower on 126.6, ok here goes nothing. On crosswind now, then downwind, now the 2 planes in front of us extend downwind beyond the tower. Oh no, that’s not good… As I pause, not wanting to cut in front of them on base, now we are in the bad zone of runway 9, BLUE TOP RV, RIGHT 180 NOW, rejoin downwind! Yikes, that’s us; around we go, this time to make a text book approach to 18L. Welcome to Oshkosh, I hope you all are having as much fun as we are! Now that’s a controller that loves his job.

All tied down in the homebuilt camping area with our campsite setup, we are at Oshkosh! Sunday, the day before official opening day, was a cooker with a heat index of 105. By mid day we headed for the AC units of Kevin & Angela and Dave & Kathy. Back to the tent finished our 2nd day. Now Monday saw the arrival of Spaceship One carried to the show by White Knight. What a neat part of flying history to see. Monday night brought a monster storm into the Oshkosh area. 3 inches of rain, small hail, tornado warnings, 60 mph winds, lighting & thunder. After trying to wait it out, 5 hours into the storm Drew and I bailed to Dave’s motor home for the night. Our tent stayed dry and plane stayed tied down, but it was nice to have some walls around us for the night.

Tuesday was cool after the storm passed through, but weather held up the next attraction. Wednesday brought Steve Fosset’s Global Flyer in to Oshkosh. It is another amazing airplane to be parked beside Spaceship One. Tuesday night’s theater in the woods program was amazing. Paul Allen, Sir Richard Branson, Burt Oshkosh 5Rutan, Mike Melville, Brian Binne, all talked about what had been accomplished with the Spaceship one program and then talked about the future of space tourism! Watch for Virgin Galactic the first space tourism operator in the coming years! Thursday the HondaJet flew in to Oshkosh while Drew and I took a trek out to the seaplane base to see how the web footed aviators flew to Oshkosh. Attendance numbers were large this year with a reported 700,000 people, 10,000 airplanes, including 2900 show planes! Nimble in the air, but ground bound our travels were limited until Darrin met up with us to spring us offsite for dinner. Wed & Thurs evenings and we had great fun wandering the streets of Oshkosh trying to follow his cell phone directions!

All too soon it seemed it was Friday and time to leave. Packed up and ready to leave by 9 am, we got an escort to taxi us outOshkosh 2 of the camping area. Fired up and rolling down the main taxiway to 36L we took one last long look at all the airplane and people. 3 planes in front of us was a B25. B25 to Tower, I need to do a quick run up before departing, Tower, go ahead after turning at that taxiway. B25, I’ll blow over those tents and some of those airplanes, Tower, OK, hold on the runway for your run up. The 2 other planes departed, then the B25. The nice lady in the pink shirt cleared a small blue and white RV9A to depart behind that nice polished B25, so we climbed steeply and stayed above his wake as we both climbed above Lake Winnebago. So long Oshkosh…

With headwinds all the way home we stayed low and flew the entire route at 1500-2000 AGL. Bouncing all the way across the heat soaked country we made it back to Lewistown for the night. Being 5:30 pm on Friday everyone had already headed home so we hitchhiked into town, tried a couple of motels, before finding what must have been the last room in the town. Saturday morning saw us leaving for the final 2 legs home. We flew about 20 hrs over the 7 days, took almost 900 pictures, saw some history making aircraft, and just had a blast getting There and back again. Till next time!

– Andy & Drew