We updated the seats in our Piper Warrior in the fall of 2016, with a beautiful and functional upgrade kit from Shelby Isham and TN Wings, and great support from Walt Cannon. After many months of effort this winter and spring, we finally completed the rest of the interior renovation work in time for the summer flying season. It's time to fly!
We planned for two main overnight stops while cruising down the West coast - in the Oakland/San Francisco area, and the Long Beach, CA area. On our first day, we departed the Puget Sound southbound for a smooth flight generally down the I-5 corridor, cruising over Scappoose and Hillsboro, OR to avoid Portland's air traffic, then over Eugene en route to a fuel and snack stop off in Roseburg, OR. The Roseburg airport is nestled in a valley surrounded by small hills on all sides, making for a fun approach whether landing on runway 16 or 34. Winds allowed for a 16 landing, necessitating a jog on the straight-in to avoid a prominent hill just north of the runway. After a quick fuel stop and fresh popcorn from the Western Oregon Aviation FBO, we continued south into California, taking the coastal route to avoid afternoon thermals in the Shasta area. The typical summer coastal clouds were just offshore, but Crescent City, Arcata and Eureka were still in the clear as we cruised south in smooth air at 8500 feet. On our descent past Clear Lake and into the Russian River Valley we started picking up some good thermals from the afternoon heating, but still had a nice long straight-in to runway 14 at a hot 90º Santa Rosa airport, spending the night for a relaxing evening stopover. This was our first long cross-country using ADS-B, and our new Lynx NGT-9000+ ADS-B combined with WingX on the iPad gave us impressive situation awareness on the air traffic and airport weather conditions all throughout the flights.
We launched the next morning into clear blue skies from Santa Rosa, but the coastal clouds had rolled inland further than the day before, so we cruised around the San Francisco Bay area by heading southwest to Concord and Livermore, past San Jose, then down the Salinas Valley, past Paso Robles into San Luis Obispo for another gas and go. On our past stops in the Long Beach area, we had used flying club parking at the main KLGB airport, but the current Long Beach FBO parking rates were a bit steep. We considered nearby Zamperini Field in Torrance, but settled on Fullerton, after discussions with the friendly folks at the General Aviation Company FBO, and discovering their lower fuel and parking rates. After departing San Luis Obispo, we skirted around the fire-fighting TFR near Santa Barbara, then descended over Camarillo to Santa Monica, then smoothly over LAX using the Special Flight Rules corridor, past Long Beach and into Fullerton, which is a nice 3121' long runway sandwiched among warehouses and homes near Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland, with a surprising amount of available ramp parking space. David and Alex picked us up for a week of family fun in southern Cal.
Midway through the SoCal portion of our visit, I was able to give David, Alex and Nathaniel two flight opportunities in 3DC, with Alex, then Nathaniel, each getting an opportunity to fly in the left seat as 'pilot-in-command' of the Warrior. We flew from Fullerton, across the LAX Special Flight Rules corridor, then along the Pacific coast past Malibu to Camarillo. Although the Waypoint Cafe was packed, we enjoyed milkshakes outside in the ramp area. The boys each did great during their left seat opportunities, with decent visibility using our new double-booster cushions. David tried out his GoPro on our under-wing mount, getting some great images over LAX and during our landings.
Our next flights took us north from Fullerton, back to Camarillo with Ma for gas and lunch, then on through the Salinas Valley, past Livermore and into a clear and breezy Concord airport. After enjoying a few days of wine tasting and good eats, we were able to give Brian his first opportunity in the left seat of 3DC, with Theresa and Ma in back, as we cruised south initially to Livermore, overflying last year's wedding venue at Wente Vineyards. We then headed out northwest over San Francisco Bay, but only got as far as the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge due to low clouds. We did get great views of San Quentin prison and Theresa's work office in San Rafael, with Brian getting some smooth flight time on the way back to Concord.
On our 31 July departure from California to the Great Northwest, we decided to take the I-5 corridor route north out of Concord, due to low clouds all along the Pacific coastal route. Unfortunately, just north of Concord, the mid-level skies filled with thick smoke from the surrounding forest fires, and we flew in sky conditions of poor visibility past Redding, Mt Shasta, over Ashland and Medford, OR, finally getting better visibility in the descent into Roseburg for gas and snacks. Our final leg through central Oregon provided us with clearing skies and great visibility, allowing us to pick up Mt Rainier visually while still 185 miles away! After a slight deviation around Portland, again due to busy PDX traffic, we cruised from Scappoose to Puyallup, then into Renton for a smooth landing after a great two weeks of exercising 3DC after her down time from the interior work. 3DC is back!