The Flying Trip From???? To ????

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The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby Metal Master » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:53 pm

The Flying Trip From???? To ????
We just finished our trip to Cavanaugh Bay (Coolin Idaho). It was the first out of state trip over the Cascades for the TCM IO-360 powered Cessna 170A/210 and the first time fully loaded with camping equipment. We had initially planned to fly into Schafer Meadows Montana and had loaded up on Wednesday morning 8/10/2016 planning to fly over Stampede pass in the Cascade Mountains. In the event we took off only to discover in spite of waiting for favorable weather over the pass that we would not be able to make it through. We turned south and headed for the Columbia River Gorge. For those not familiar with the area when the Mountains are obscured it is more than likely that you can fly the Columbia River Gorge up the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon and thus be able to get over the mountains. This would add around 250 more miles to the trip and Steve and I decided to change our destination from Schafer Meadows Montana to Cavanaugh Bay Idaho as we were leaving so late in the day. In the event once we had flown far enough south past Woodland Washington and south of Mt. St, Helens the clouds had cleared over the mountains and we started a climb and turned east. However Steve was slightly ahead of me in his 180 HP Cessna 172 TD and as he was climbing 7,000 ft. he began to experience rough running engine. He was convinced it was not carb ice and we decided to troubleshoot it on the ground. We communicated via radio that we would land at Scappoose Oregon and determine what was going on.
Steve had experienced a rough running issue on his start up earlier in the day and thought it might be a fowled plug. In any case we could find nothing wrong and it was late in the day. Steve had had trouble with this remanufactured engine when it was first installed that had caused it to be returned to Lycoming after only 50 hours on the engine. And although we were able to eventually solve all of the initial problems with the engine in spite of Lycoming’s tech reps onsite evaluation having decided to send the engine back to Lycoming nothing was ever actually found wrong with the engine. As a result Steve has a distrust of the engine. It has operated about a year and a half since its initial trip back to Lycoming and Steve had begun to trust the engine. After pulling and examining the plugs finding nothing amiss and a run up and ops check proved normal we decided as it was now late in the day to head back to our home airport in Auburn.
I had taken Vacation from work for this trip and was sourly disappointed with the turn of events. My son had initially planned to go on this trip with me and I had purchased 10 day Montana fishing licenses for both of us. Then on the night before the planned trip Tony came down with the flu and could not go. I had to do a quick unload of Tony’s camping and fishing equipment and re-calculate the weight & balance for a solo trip. So Wednesday evening after having returned home I decided for a solo trip to Meadow Creek Idaho on Thursday morning. Checking DUATS weather over the Cascades, Eastern Washington and Idaho and having down loaded all of the Current Fire TFR’s into my GPS I was going to head to the airport to leave early Thursday morning. At 6:30 AM I had a call from Steve that he had decided since the airplane ran flawlessly on the way home from Scappoose that he was up for a trip to Cavanaugh Bay as it was some place we had not been before. So we bought last minute fishing licenses.
At the Airport and while re-fueling we met another tailwheel pilot who was heading for Joseph Oregon and commented that the restaurant at Cavanaugh Bay was closed. Not much of a disappointment for us as we planned to barbeque anyway. We taxied to the runway and Steve took off first with a plan to fly east of the Sea Tac class bravo airspace climb to 6,000 ft. before heading east towards the Cascades. If his engine had started to run rough he was going to return to Auburn and I was going to head out alone for Montana. Steve was tracking in front of me and we both came up to 6,000 ft. at the same time. Steve experienced no issues with his engine and so we headed east.
Over Stamped Pass and flying a northern route towards Wenatchee you fly past three reservoir lakes Keechelus, Little Kachees and, Lake Cle Elum. ... 21.2377135
Soon after flying past Mt Stewart in the Cascade Range. ... 44!5m1!1e4
You will be flying over the north south running portion of the Columbia River past Wenatchee Washington and end up flying over the Eastern Washington dry desert plateau and basin until flying over the Colville National Forest and the Pend Oreille River over the last Mt. range before arriving over Priest Lake Idaho where the small town of Coolin Idaho and Cavanagh Bay airport is located.
Steve and I arrived local to the Cavanaugh Bay area at the same time. We had kept our GPS tracks separate to avoid having to keep each other in sight while flying and observing the scenery. I arrived about 2,500 Ft. above the airport while Steve had descended into the Priest Lake area arriving at Pattern altitude. Neither of us having been to the area before cold not see the airport other than knowing where it was located at the bottom end of Cavanaugh Bay, Steve started his downwind track and reporting while his wife who is also a pilot was watching for the runway to appear out of the trees. The airstrip itself is carved out of the forest with Tall trees on both sides. So it is difficult in fact impossible to see at pattern altitude. I observed Steve’s downwind track from 2500 Ft AGL and could easily see the runway. The favored runway for landing is 15 to the south. Approach is over the lake to a grass strip that is slightly up hill and gives good stopping distance.
Dimensions: 3100 x 120 ft. / 945 x 37 m
Surface: turf, in good condition
Runway edge markings: 15/33 EDGES & THRS MKD WITH WHITE ROCKS.
Latitude: 48-31.370500N 48-30.869167N
Longitude: 116-49.399667W 116-49.263500W
Elevation: 2454.0 ft.
Gradient: 2.0% 2.0%
Traffic pattern: right
There is a Hump about 2/3rds of the way down 15 that you cannot see over from either end of the runway which makes the 3100 ft. look real short on low approach. The north end of the runway is just past the road that runs around the south end of the Bay and just south of the shoreline with trees on the approach. Base leg is over the water and the runway appears as you turn from downwind to base. My touch down at landing was smooth with moderate breaking to use only about half the runway with the added slowdown of being uphill and turf.
After parking and tying down on the East side parking area and getting out to explore the airport area we discovered that the tie down and camping area was on the south side of the airstrip and so we started up and taxied over to where the care taker Allen had explained the camping area was. There is an under the trees camping area with numerous steel shrouded fire pits and copious quantities of cut firewood put there for the express purpose of Airplane campers by the Montana Pilots Association. However there is little level ground to set a tent up on and so we set our tents up behind our airplane in the deep lush grass of the tie down area. Shortly after we who were the only two aircraft in the camping area other aircraft started arriving. An Cessna 170B who flew in with his friends 185 and another 185/w an IO 550 out of central California with two brothers and a third friend who were just flying around and vacationing at the various back country airstrips in Idaho. We ended up making up a community meal with the three friends with Steve, Trudy Steve’s wife and me. The talk almost universally surrounded aircraft, flying experiences and discussions of Maintenance, engine reliability and care and copious quantities of adult beverages.
Turning in well after dark on a properly inflated air mattress a peaceful night’s sleep was brought to an end by the early morning yelping of Coyotes. I gathered my personal items together and headed for the shower room. (For fly in campers only) A building on the back of the care takers home that has both a women’s and men’s side with well-kept bathrooms and large showers. The showers toilets and sinks are in separate rooms within the building. I should mention that Allen the Care taker who had made multiple trips out to visit with us and all campers to make sure things were going all right had a fresh brewed pot of coffee sitting on a table just outside of the shower room. One pot the first day and two pots brewing the second day. And all well before any of us were out of bed. I assume it was Allen who brewed the coffee and not his wife who lives there as well.
The day dawned bright and clear with billowing cumulous clouds climbing above the peaks to the east of the airport. We prepared a community breakfast with Gravy over biscuits, scrambled eggs with bacon and sausage. Breakfast was enjoyed by those who determined to take part. During the day there were numerous arrival and departures of both people who have cabins or homes around the airport. However not so much that it was annoying? People strolled with their dogs and families to and from the beach and dock where many boats were moored. Many people and dogs stopped by to converse and talk airplanes and ask where we were from and about our modified airplanes. We set about to explore the area and took the Courtesy car which has a donation can in the trunk. We drove in both directions around the lower end of the bay with the express intention of determining the rental opportunity of boats for fishing in the lake at Blue Diamond Marina on the west shore of the bay. The boats can be reserved ahead of time for reasonable cost for a whole day or four hours depending on the time of season as they will not reserve a four hour period during the peak season. Call ahead. We were presently surprised to discover there is a small restaurant in an upper loft in one of the buildings at the marina. The cook lives in a room at the Marina while his wife who was waitressing commutes. They have 5 children of which she takes care of at their home in a city that she described as a fair commute away. The menu is essentially Italian with many fine and reasonably priced items. They serve wine and micro brews however no mixed drink type beverages. We ordered two appetizers and a microbrew from Coos Bay Oregon. A neat braised steak appetizer prepared to order and Peppers with an Italian sauce of some type on freshly made crackers. I was really surprised when the waitress said they had none of the microbrew we had ordered chilled and that she had put some on ice that it would be a few minutes. If she had not said anything we would have never known the difference she was so quick. A cool breeze blew over the outside dining area on the veranda where we were seated. We relaxed observing water skiers, Inflatable toys being pulled with riders on boats, Sail boats, Kayaks and people putting in and out of the water. We after or short relaxation headed out around the other side of the bay past many small cabins and cottages.
In the mid-day to late afternoon two notable arrivals came in via airplane one person in a 1975 Cessna 172 with a Del Air STC’s 180 HP Lycoming and Hartzell constant speed prop. Steve had an interesting conversation with him regarding cooling and operational issues that he and Steve had both experienced. It was good for them to be able to compare notes. The other was a man that flew in solo in a nice looking Cessna 170B that had just received his private pilot’s license the Thursday before. He had taken all of his flying lessons in the rented Cessna 170B. He has never flown a nose wheel aircraft. He has always done two point landings and indicated they had not done any three point landings? I was impressed and spent time showing him the airplane as he has been perusing the Cessna 170 Association website to find more information about 170’s as he is now looking to buy one of his own. His purpose for flying into the Cavanagh Bay airstrip in the rental was that he was planning a trip into the airport with his family and wanted to have experience there before he flew in with them. He flew in and out late afternoon his first attempt at landing a go around an overall good job.
The evenings quickly arrived and were planning an early morning departure and although we had hoped to stay up late to view a meteor shower that was supposed to occur. And although we had started fire in one of the steel fire pits we soon grew tired put the fire out with the provided water hose and spigot and turned in for another good night’s sleep in the cool evening air.
Waking refreshed and after a cup of Allen’s coffee and a shower I made myself a leftover steak and cheese sandwich for the flight home and wrapped it in foil. I had checked fuel total on my fuel totalizer and dipped the tanks the night before and determined I had enough fuel for the planned fuel stop at Deer Park Washington with about a 40 minute reserve. We cleaned camp loaded the airplanes and back taxied 15 to run up on the end of 33. I was to take off first but on the beginning of my takeoff roll a Cam-Loc popped up on the cowl so I aborted the takeoff shut down and re-latched the Cam-Loc. Departing off the downwind on a direct course for Deer Park in smooth air and clear blue skies. After fueling at Deer park we took a slightly more southerly route home to avoid the higher terrain and stay at 6,000 ft. MSL. This also kept us from having to detour around the Local Fire TFR. The flight home was in smooth air, I actually flew the entire flight with my toes on the rudder pedals and my hands folded in my lap. Fuel flow was 8.2 Gallons per hour lean of peak, 112 knots, 22 inches MP, 2400 RPM, 60% power all the way back to Stampede Pass. Steve and I flew diverging GPS courses again to de-conflict our flight paths first joining up again over the City of Cle Elum. Stampede pass comes up fast after Cle Elum and Steve ahead of me was soon over the pass. I was just coming up on the Pass offset to the right at Steve’s 5:30 and about a 1/4 mile in trail when Steve shouted out an expletive over the radio and that an F-16 had just passed underneath him. He had not even completed that transmission when two F-18s as they turned out to be passed from my left to right directly in front of me close to the ridge of the pass and curving down and to the right and then descending down and near the Keechelus lake surface. They were always moving in my wind screen and I was not alarmed just excited to see them. Soon we announced as a flight of two into Auburn during what seemed like an unusually busy pattern. After landing with multiple aircraft in the pattern we discovered that the Washington State Pilots association was having a Pancake breakfast at the airport. So having not had breakfast that morning we parked and joined in, spending the late part of morning conversing with friends and other 170 Association members who were in attendance. Quickly after breakfast we were asked to consult on an experimental battery box installation in a friend’s small experimental aircraft at the north hangars. Shortly we retired to the local pub for quick noon beer and a trip home on busy freeways.
Overall what started out to seem like a vacation going to fail miserably? We ended up having a great time and relaxing experience shared with like-minded people with no discussion of politics or other mind numbing conversations. The airplane needs a good cleaning and a pat on the prop, it performed flawlessly.
While I prefer more remote airstrips than Cavanaugh Bay the place has many amenities that the ladies would like if going camping. There were few mosquitoes and the occasional deer on the runway, overall an enjoyable experience. Next time I will know more about the fishing. But it may be a while.
Last edited by Metal Master on Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby 170C » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:47 pm

An interesting recount of your trip Jim. Thanks for sharing it with us. Sounds like you had a lot of fun and might repeat the trip at some time in the future with your son. Sometimes the planned trip will have deviations and on some occasions those deviations end up being as enjoyable as the destination. Glad you engine did good on your trip. Must be nice to have that extra hp. When you make another trip be sure to give us a write up on it as well.

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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby cessna170bdriver » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:32 am

Cavanaugh Bay was one place I always wanted to visit when I lived on the left side of the country. Maybe someone will host another convention out that way and I'll have another opportunity to check it out.
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby gfeher » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:20 pm

Jim, thanks for the great report with lots of details.

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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby hilltop170 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:17 pm

Would you mind if this story is put into the 170News? We are always looking for new material and it would make a good article.
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby Metal Master » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:34 pm

hilltop170 wrote:Jim-
Would you mind if this story is put into the 170News? We are always looking for new material and it would make a good article.

That would be fine with me
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby KS170A » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:38 am

Thanks for the write-up! Brought back memories from 2009 when my father and I flew up there with a couple of other friends. Must go back again...
Cavanaugh Bay.jpeg
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby Metal Master » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:50 am

KS170A wrote:Thanks for the write-up! Brought back memories from 2009 when my father and I flew up there with a couple of other friends. Must go back again...

A 170A a 170B and a Citabria. The Citabria looks exactly like the one I learned to Fly Tail Draggers in and got my TW endorsement in. That is exactly where I was camped and tied down.
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby counsellj » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:09 am


Thanks for the nice report.
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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby Bruce Fenstermacher » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:39 am

Metal Master wrote:
hilltop170 wrote:Jim-
Would you mind if this story is put into the 170News? We are always looking for new material and it would make a good article.

That would be fine with me

Nice words Jim but pictures are worth thousands more. If you didn't take any on the trip a shot of you and your plane and one of your buddy and his in any setting gives people a visual who they are reading about. and makes the story that much more interesting.

If you have any please send them to me at my email address at the highest resolution. In other words an email attachment without reducing the size of the photo.

CAUTION - My forum posts may be worth what you paid for them!

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Re: The Flying Trip From???? To ????

Postby juredd1 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:11 pm

Cavanaugh Bay…..I so enjoyed that part of the country. The first time I landed there I set my ELT off, neither me nor my instructor thought it was a hard enough landing (so he said) but the ELT thought otherwise. I didn’t let it happen any other time we landed there. Having really no idea where the ELT was located, I crawled around and found it behind the baggage area. At 6'1" and 225lbs with the back seat in the plane that was challenging. My overhead speaker was on and it was loud. I had about 6 hours of tail wheel time by then. My uncle and I had flown from Arkansas into Spokane, Washington on a commercial flight and picked up by the owner of the 170B I was buying. We stayed with him about 4 days which included Labor Day weekend of 2013 while I received my tail wheel endorsement and the 10 hours required by my insurance. The plane was on a grass strip near Athol about 40 miles south of Cavanaugh Bay.

I was blessed with getting to land on several beautiful strips within a 40 mile radius of Cavanaugh Bay, Porthill on the Canadian border, Sullivan Lake State Park ( on the Washington side) which reminds me of Cavanaugh Bay with the approach over a lake with a similar uphill slope. I didn’t get the pleasure of camping at Cavanaugh Bay but I’d loved to have camped there as you did. It seems like I can still fell that clean mountain air in my nose.

I’d love to see those strips again if it only wasn’t a 16 hour flight for me.

Thanks for the story and bringing back some cherished memories of that area.
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