Flying in the Pacific Northwest
Trip Reports
Flying in the Pacific Northwest
After setting up camp at West Yellowstone Airport we had breakfast at the restaurant in the airport terminal, the Smokejumper Cafe, and arranged a hire car from Avis so that we could visit the Park....
We departed Nampa at the crack of dawn. Heavy showers were predicted over the West and South of Idaho during mid morning and temperatures were to climb to 90°F which created the threat of...
We wanted to depart Florence as soon as the sun started coming up over the mountains of the Coast Range, sea fog was moving in as we drove down to the airport and didn't want to risk being fogged in...
The weather on our 2nd day at Concrete was a bit disappointing with cloud cover over most of the Northern Cascades so we put off our scenic flight until the 3rd day which looked fractionly better in...

Monday 22nd June, 2009 Full of confidence from our first camping trip we decided on a trip up to the north Oregon coast staying overnight at Nehalem Bay State Airport (3S7). Unsuprisingly the weather at Florence was.....yes, you guessed it, low cloud. On a positive note the weather predictions were for a mainly dry and sunny week and it did look like the marine layer would lift later on. We still had a healthy 1,300ft ceiling at Florence and further north at Newport so we set off up the coast ready to divert into one of the many airports available to us if the weather deteriated. We managed to reach just south of Tillamook, 80 percent of the journey, before heavy rain could be seen pushing in across the Ocean. That's one of the great things about flying in this area, 9 times out of 10 the weather approaches from across the water and it can be seen long before it reaches land. Instead of flying inland to Tillamook we decided to return to Pacific City which was a short distance to the south. I wrote a bit on this blog about Pacific City a few months ago, it has a great little airport which lacks both length and width! The wind was gusting and it's direction was variable, my first approach was a little too high and hot so a go-around was in order. If there is doubt, there is no doubt! If you aren't sure about your approach at this airport go-around immediately, there is little room for error and the grass at the side of the runway is very unforgiving. Pacific City Airport on a sunny day! This is why there is a 300ft displaced runway 15 threshold at Pacific City! Looking down the 30ft wide runway at Pacific City. We were soon parked up and walking around to find somewhere for a coffee and some food to wait out the rain as it passed to the north of the town. We found two suitable establishments, Fat Freddy's just opposite the runway 15 threshold, and the Bakery about 400 yards going out of town to the west. We opted for a coffee at the Bakery. Afterwards we walked down to the beach to see what the weather was doing up the coast and were cheered by a brighter and clearer sky approaching from the west, things were looking up. Once airborne the improvement in the weather was striking, the heavy rain showers had moved inland leaving behind clear skies and calmer winds. Twin Rocks near to Tillamook. Small islands like these are scattered along the entire Oregon Coast forming part of the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge. It wasn't too long into the flight before Nehalem Bay came into sight flanked by Cape Falcon, quite an impressive scene. We were tempted to fly past Cape Falcon and investigate the coast further north but resisted doing so as that was what we had planned for the next day. Nehalem Bay. Cape Falcon. Another picture of Cape Falcon. The Nehalem runway ends at the north edge of the bay which neccessitates flying a final to runway 33 over the water. Whenever the winds are blowing here the trees close to either side of the runway cuase turbulance and this isn't helped by the high ground to the north of the airport. We overflew the airport to check for animals and obstructions, it appeared to be clear so I carried out a lefthand circuit for runway 33. The winds were calm so there was little turbulance, tomorrow would be a different matter. Nehalem Bay Airport. On touchdown we rolled passed some deer next to the runway, they looked up to watch us go by but did not seem suprised by our arrival. As we turned onto the gravel parking apron we found another five deer which we 'herded' along in front of our aeroplane. It's needless to say that when you fly here watch out for deer and large birds, there are plenty around. Black Tailed Deer on the runway. Nehalem Bay runway 33 threshold. Nehalem Bay runway 15 threshold. We set up camp, checked out the extremely clean porta-potti, the tap water and the campsites available within the trees next to the parking area. Staying on one of these costs a very reasonable $8 per night and for that you get tables and seats, a fire pit and plenty of shade and shelter. We opted for an 'under the wing' experience instead which includes spending 2 hours trying to hammer flexible tent pegs into hardcore! Pain struck when I went to record our arrival in the sign-in book. I opened and closed the wooden box which housed the book when suddenly several hornets shot out from the back of the box and started attacking me, I escaped but not before one of the b$$$$$$s stung me on my back...the resulting swelling measured 4 inches by 2 inches! Tango Charlie and tent at Nehalem Bay. We spent the rest of the day walking, chilling out watching the deer and doing other camping 'stuff', it was all very relaxing. Later in the evening we were treated to a chorus from a pack of coyotes in the woods to the east of the airport, you don't get that in the UK!