Sunday, July 13, 2008

Arlington Fly-in with J.W.

J.W. French is on his around-the-country tour. There've been several "position reports" posted here downstream. The picture above is J.W. with John Proctor with the Acro Sport at Arlington EAA Fly In.

J.W. sends this update tonight, including his Hall of Shame for bad service and high prices.

My hosts, Lee Elliott and Joan Burns has really gone out of their way to make the stay for the Arlington EAA Fly In a memorable one. Great quarterS, great food and fun people are a hard combination to beat. The Arlington EAA Fly In is really done well. The volunteers working the fly in couldn't be more friendly and cooperative. The grounds are layout well with access to the airplanes, the show line and the camping areas not being restricted while the air show is on. The were lots of great antiques and classic airplanes, the home built airplanes were well represented and a number of light sport planes were on display. I guess you can't attract the general public without the War Birds, but at least they didn't overpower the antiques, classics, and homebuilts at this fly in.

Remember our friends, Castle and Cooke, who are in first place in the HALL OF SHAME for HIGH FUEL PRICES and NON-EXISTENT CUSTOMER SERVICE. They were at the Arlington EAA Fly In to cinch as a dead certainty their FIRST PLACE position in the HALL OF SHAME. They had a lock on the fuel service at the Fly In with a from the truck price of $6.74/ gallon for up to 50 gallons, for 50 gallons or more they knocked off a whole $0.10. Don't you just love the operators who are doing their best to grab every dime from general aviation "just because they can."

I left before the air show started this morning to take advantage of the cooler temperature, calmer wind, and smoother air for my trip through the "big rocks" from Arlington, WA to Martin Field (S95) out side of Walla Walla, WA in the Columbia River Valley.

I made the trip at 7500 msl over some really rugged mountains with no place to land if the engine decides to take a dump. This not something I will ever get used to, but it is a necessity if you are going to get from point A to point B in this part of the country. I was really glad to get out of the mountain environment when I passed Ellensburgh, WA. I lost all satellite reception about 45 minutes out from my destination and had to resort to dead reckoning with the chart, the whiskey compass and the clock. All the satellite signals showed in the green on the Garmin 396, but a red message appeared that satellite reception was lost and the moving map and all navigation pages went blank. This was in the vicinity of a restricted area around a nuke plant, and I suspect that our government is messing with the satellite signals there like they did in the old days when they purposely degraded the signal at will.

I love my country, it's the government that really scares me. I finally got the signal back about 15 minutes out after shutting the GPS off and re-starting it. I was able to smooth another good landing on with no audience. Wilma Cheney, (no I won't go quail hunting with any of them) met me at the fuel pump and in short order the Acro Sport was safely put away in the hangar, my gear was put in the guest house, and Wilma made me a sandwich for lunch. The Cheney's own Martin Field and it appears to be one of those remaining bastions of general aviation that continues as a labor of love by people dedicated to grass roots aviation. Castle and Cooke could take a lesson from these folk.

The Chapter #604 annual picnic is tomorrow evening and I will leave the following day for Sky Meadows Air Park (WN92) outside of COE for an RON with Rob Neils.

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