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True Earth Washington and Oregon - the Grand Tour


flavik
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Hi all!

 

The last few weeks have been exciting and exhilarating, as these regions truly are a gift to the flightsimming community :D Having almost exclusively flown in Europe prior to this, I´ve learned to appreciate the great variety of these regions. From the stunning coastline, over the endless forests and the snow-capped mountains, to the dry inland deserts and salt lakes - Pacific North West will surely keep me busy for months to come! 

 

So in yet another screenie post showcasing Orbx’s no small accomplishment, I will start off this time south of Spokane, WA in one of my favorite turboengines - the Epic E1000. 

 

Here I am enjoying the scenery near Joseph State Airport, OR. Gotta love those colorful crop circles! Not to mention the contrast between the flat plains and the mountainous region to the south. 

 

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Crossing over the arid alkali Lake Abert, Oregon. Together with the nearby Summer Lake, it was once part of the fertile and lush Lake Chewaucan of ancient times. 

 

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Heading west, it´s hard not to pay a visit to Crater Lake. There´s something almost unreal about that deep blue water!

 

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After a quick snack at Brookings Airport near the California border , I hopped into the TBM 900 to explore the scenic PNW coastline. Here I’m heading north after a touch´n´go at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, North Bend, Oregon. 

 

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As epic and feisty as the TBM is, I started to miss my truly epic E1000 before long. And finally I found myself doing an overfly of Portland. Off the record, I might have done a pass underneath one of the many bridges :P I did however absolutely not land at the railway station :ph34r: 

 

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Heading into the wilderness again, and the absolutely gorgeous rendition of Sauvie Island. Just ten miles northwest of downtown Portland, between the Columbia River to the east and the Multnomah Channel to the west, it is a popular area for picking pumpkins, hunting geese and kayaking, according to Wikipedia :P

 

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Heading further north along Columbia River, I came across this area just north of Longview, WA. Just look at that detailed rendering of the blend of industrial, residential and farmland areas! On a side note, being an European visitor to PNW, I became increasingly curious of Columbia River. As Wikipedia seems to be my go-to site for trivia, it can educate me on the following: “The river (1,243 miles (2,000 km) long) rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.”

 

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Passing over the Port of Tacoma, just 58 miles (93 km) northwest of Mount Rainier. 

 

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I could have ended the tour here, easily. In fact I could´ve spent the night in Seattle, perhaps gone to a jazz club. I had a strong sensation however, that there was more to discover. What next, you might ask? Feeling adventurous, with a taste for something new, I rented a brand new Diamond DA62 at Auburn Municipal Airport between Tacoma and Seattle, and headed east past Mt. Rainier for a closer look at his iconic peak. 

 

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Not long after, I found myself soaring over Cle Elum Lake after a touch´n´go at De Vere Field, Teanaway. Although not as fast and nimble as the Epic and TBM, the DA62 is surely not a slouch! 

 

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Tracking southeast to Ellensburg VOR, I passed Kittitas Valley Wind farm in the fading daylight. 

 

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I proceeded east, crossing Columbia River once more...

 

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...and descended along the river further north, making a visual approach into Wenatchee Pangborn Memorial Airport rwy 12 , taking care to stay clear of the hills west of the river. 

 

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Another touch´n´go and a climbing turn westward across the mountains, I turned on the oxygen above 10,000 feet, and gazed happily into the sunset. 

 

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Growing drowsy and a bit light-headed (did I remember to turn on the oxygen?!!) I descended back into the suburbs of Seattle. In an Uber headed downtown, I called the driver to make a stop near Beacon Hill. Just one more view, then let´s call it a night! :)

 

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Feeling sleepless in Seattle after all the excitement, I couldn´t stop my thoughts wandering off into yet more aviation adventures. A few days later, I came up with the idea of going back to the basics. After clocking in so many hours in various aircraft featuring the fancy Garmin G1000 glass cockpit, I wanted to give myself another challenge. I was thinking of steam gauges and visual navigation. But I wasn´t interested in a Cessna 152 or a Piper Warrior. I wanted to go all-out vintage. I wanted to be behind the stick of one of the most famous American fighters of WW2. Yes, I was of course thinking about the legendary P51D Mustang! If only I could manage to tame this feisty tailwheeler with a 1620hp engine with a max speed of 380kn!

 

Departing Fairchild Air Force Base west of Spokane, I followed (again) Columbia River, first west, then north. How did I acquire the Mustang you might ask? That´s classified. :ph34r:

 

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Crossing Okanogan River near Omar...

 

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...in perfect VFR conditions, I maintained an altitude of 8500ft and headed further west towards Ross Lake and North Cascades National Park. 

 

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Passing Jack Mountain in some light clouds... 

 

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...I descended into the Skagit River valley towards Concrete Municipal for a very awkward, but overall safe, touch´n´go. 

 

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An attempt at the grass strip of Israel´s Farm further west along the river turned out to be an absolute no-go! Utilizing the “war-emergency” absolute maximum manifold pressure of 67in Hg in order to keep above the tree-tops, the go-around quickly brought me to Skagit Regional Airport for some much needed pattern practice (in fact this is the next Orbx scenery on my shopping list!). 

 

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Feeling slightly more competent, I followed the coastline south past scenic farmlands and rural areas...

 

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...until I could make out downtown Seattle in the distance. Doing an overfly over “Emerald City”, I had to pinch myself once more: Is this really happening? Overflying Seattle in a P51D?!! 

 

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I only bounced once before the WW2 legend settled on the 10,000ft runway 14R at Boeing Field. Passing overhead were several commercial aircraft making their approach into Sea-Tac further south. 

 

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As all good things eventually come to an end, so did inevitably this journey. Soaring over the mountains in a Mustang, into the sunset... :D

 

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Thank y’all for watching and a HUGE thanks to the skilled folks at Orbx for making so many dreams come true :D

 

Until next time,

flavik

 

Edited by flavik
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These are amazing shots Flavik from Bergen , we were supposed to had been there (Norway) the end of June for the Summer Solstice . However a cancer scare for me kept us from going , turned out there was no cancer after a lymph node surgery . Hopefully I can get there next year to ride the Bergen line among the other things to do . :):)

 

Cheers

 

John

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11 hours ago, Iain Emms said:

Smashing shots indeed. 

cheers 

Iain 

 

Thanks a lot Iain!

 

11 hours ago, Jack Sawyer said:

What an absolutely stunning post!  I was riveted to every word and delighted by the scenery and aircraft!  Well done.

 

May I ask where you got the Q400?  Or is that an ATR?

 

I´m very happy to hear that Jack!! I was wondering the same myself re: the regional prop :lol: Anyway, it is courtesy of World Traffic 3 :)

 

11 hours ago, olderndirt said:

You ran the gamut - lots of beautiful shots and your travelog was entertaining and informative.

 

Thanks for that olderndirt! Guess I kinda went all the way with this one :lol: Didn´t plan on such a long post, but I enjoyed the write-up. Learned a lot of trivia in the process ;) 

 

10 hours ago, Dal said:

What a great story and images!  I recently flew on the Alaska Horizon Dash-8 Q400 with the Seawolves livery.  Can you point me to where I may get it?  Thanks!

 

Thanks for that Dal! I guess you positively identified it as a Dash-8 for @Jack Sawyer and myself ;) It´s included in the WT3 AI aircraft package by yfsim over at the .org. I´m eagerly awaiting a Q400 for XP11 - for now I´m happy with the Saab 340A by LES/Carenado (I have both versions). In Norway we have a regional airline with a Dash-8 fleet serving ALL of the tiny airstrips scattered across the country and it would be great to recreate some of the routes I´ve made as a passenger. And to throw in some “real” Norwegian hazardous weather for the added challenge!

 

9 hours ago, BradB said:

These are amazing shots Flavik from Bergen , we were supposed to had been there (Norway) the end of June for the Summer Solstice . However a cancer scare for me kept us from going , turned out there was no cancer after a lymph node surgery . Hopefully I can get there next year to ride the Bergen line among the other things to do . :):)

 

Cheers

 

John

 

Thanks for the feedback John! I´m sorry that you had to cancel your journey - luckily it turned out to be a scare, however I´m guessing the whole ordeal must have been frightening! Bergen is a lovely city and I hope you get a chance for another attempt next summer. Summer Solstice is a perfect time to be there with all the activity in the city. 

 

I lived in Bergen for more than 10 years, but for the last 4-5 years I´ve actually lived in a small town further north in what you may call “fjordland”. Time permitting, I would absolutely recommend a round trip there from Bergen with a combination of boat and railroad. 

 

Cheers,

flavik

Edited by flavik
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