Tuesday, August 24, 2010
King Kong "Little" Cub
CubCrafters’ top LSA offers a big surprise when the throttle goes forward
Port Hardy-Tofino, 2.8 hrs
The morning weather is still fairytale perfect, so we head west to explore the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island. Dozens of coves and inlets offer landing opportunities on sheltered beaches that would be unavailable to most other aircraft. Sand flings in all directions as we rudder around a tight curve on the first rollout of the day. The dramatic setting makes it difficult to resist a few more landings, so we don’t. But when we finally continue south, hardly three minutes pass before another lonely stretch of sand catches our attention. It’s about time to check the oil anyway, we tell ourselves, and so we justify a touchdown on the sloped shore lined with pine trees as a “maintenance stop.” The next landing site has its own personality, as does the next (and the next), and our champ handles each like... a champ. But time is running out, and it feels tragic whenever we pass an awesome beach without stopping.
Tofino-Seattle, 2.1 hrs
The air cools rapidly in the ascent over Olympic National Park. Puget Sound appears over the cowling all too soon and my eyes are sore at the sight of “the real world.” We land at Boeing Field, where two brand-new 787s sit on the ramp. Reluctantly, I pull my bags from Five Papa Charlie and part ways with the Little Cub That Could. Pete departs on the final leg to Yakima and I schlep to SeaTac.
Seattle-Los Angeles, no longer counting
The abrupt transformation of today is surreal. From the front of a fire-breathing, backcountry-dominating Carbon Cub and a view of all things wilderness to the back of a full 737 airliner and a view of—I distract myself by writing in a notebook: To-Do List for Next Year’s Trip: 1. Pack a tent; 2. Land on the beach next to the rain forest; 3. Land on the beach with the pounding surf; 4. Land on the beach....
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