After an unbearable amount of cloud cover and rain, the weather in Seattle decided to cooperate a bit and the sun made an appearance. Not one to squander what could likely be a short lived reprieve from the gloom that is late winter in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to cut work early and do a little flying, this time remembering my crappy digital camera. (Remember Kiddies, Uncle Roy wants a Canon 20D for his birthday) Taking off from KPAEI flew north to KBLI, making it a cross country flight (just over 50 miles.) I did a touch and go at KBLI and then flew down to KAWO for two more touch-and-gos before heading back to KPAE. It seamed that the entire Washington Pilots Association decided to show up at KBLI at the same time I did. There were two in the pattern when I called in, then three more called in just after me. The tower controller was a pro, and he got us all lined up with out a problem. He did ask me to keep my speed up, and I complied with a straight in approach carrying 80 knots on final, sans flaps. Fortunately Bellingham has a fairly long runway, so I floated it down and barely heard a tire squeak before I was power on and climbing out. A quick turn to a downwind departure to the south and I was on my way.
It turned out that the weather had a bunch of folks in a tizzy, because Arlington turned out to be just a busy and Bellingham, with a bunch of helicopters coming in to land, and a couple of aircraft in the pattern as well. A Glastar was in front of me when I hit the down wind, but other than him and the helicopters, every one else was just radio traffic. I get a bit uncomfortable when I can’t see the folks sharing my airspace, but they said they saw me, so I just made sure I wasn’t going to running into anyone in front of me, and trusted them to do the same. Since Arlington does not have a control tower, and can get very busy, the one thing I worry about most is the guy coming in with out a radio. Every one is calling their position and looking for every one else, but that guy in the cub with out a radio might toss a wrench into the mix. Ultimately, I just keep my head outside the cockpit and trust the MkI eyeball to do its job, but I still hear a lot of stories about “unintentional formation flight.”
After leaving Arlington, I went straight back to Paine Field and turned the airplane in. On the way in I caught the ATIS, and had a good chuckle. Along with the normal information, (Wind 340 at 5, scattered clouds at 12,000, temp 7 dew point 2, altimeter 30.24) the guys in the tower added; “Confirm you have received and enjoyed Juliet.”
I called in: “9858Q north Everett with a very enjoyable Juliet, inbound for full stop.”
The tower said they were glad I enjoyed the ATIS, and gave me my pattern instructions. The whole thing made my 1.5 hours a bit more fun than it would have been. I landed my only really good landing of the day, and put the plane up with a smile.