Posts about the missions we fly and their underlying motivations
The airspeed needle was bouncing up and down. The wings were rocking side-to-side. The furball dog on my wife's lap was squirming and fussing. We were on final approach to Little River, California in our club's A36 Bonanza and were getting knocked around pretty good. In other words, it was a typical approach into the coastal airport, where the sea breeze usually combines with the surrounding hills to make things interesting.
Snow-capped Mount Hood towered off our left wing as we passed over the green fields and farms of the Deschutes River Valley. I was flying our club's Cessna 172 with my buddy Michael in the right seat and his daughter Heather in the back. We were bumping along gently at 6,500 feet riding the up- and down-drafts under scattered, puffy cumulus clouds. Our fellow club members Hal and Anders had gone on ahead in our club's A36 Bonanza. We'd all participated in this year's Hayward Air Rally to Bend, Oregon the day before and now we were on our way to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, a small town on the Southern bank of the Columbia River, a little over 90 nautical miles North of Bend.
I glanced at the message on the GPS: "RAIM not available. Cross check position."
This came as no surprise. The GPS had been unreliable lately and the message was all too familiar. Fortunately, I'd anticipated this and had prepared a paper navigation log and the sectional charts I needed for my route. Two days earlier, my buddy Anders and I had found our way to Bend, Oregon flying in the "traditional class" in the Hayward Air Rally with the GPS turned off and papered over, so navigating by pilotage and dead reckoning back home would present no problem.
My buddy Gabor dropped by my cube late one morning.
"Hey, Gabor, what's up?"
"Operation Tiramisu. Have you had lunch?" he asked.
Actually, I'd just inhaled a sandwich at my desk, but I was intrigued.
"We're screwed," I moaned as Anders and I desperately searched the ground below for the landmarks that would lead us to the timing line. "Where are the houses on the lake?"