Specialty GA License Plates


The Washington State Aviation License Plate, sponsored by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Aviation Division, is a collaborative effort by several aviation organizations represented by the Washington State Aviation Alliance. The goal of this specialty plate is to highlight the importance of the state’s aviation system, and to raise funds to support aviation and public-use airports in Washington State.

T0 learn more and sign the petition. which needs 3500 signatures and is half way there.

A V 8

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January Potluck A Big Success


Our January SJPA potluck was a big success. Ronnie Metcalfe and Chris Chouinard gave a terriffic talk and slide show about their back-country flying and camping trips to Alaska and Idaho. The narrative was as interesting for the pilots amongst us – and for the non-pilots too.

We had nearly a full house, with about ten spouses, and one student pilot, Mark Franklin, and his instructor, Lou Colman.

The presentation was about an hour.  Both speakers, Ronnie and Chris, added words, anecdotes, and color to each other’s piece. An overall enjoyable evening.

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Holiday Dinner A Big Success

2015 SJPA Christmas Dinner
You can tell by the smiles here that all seventy of us enjoyed a terrific Saturday evening at the annual SJPA Holiday Dinner at the San Juan Island Yacht Club in Friday Harbor. Our featured speaker, Jim Crossley, is shown at the top right of this photo. He told us riveting stories about his years as a U-2 spy plane pilot. Typically, U-2 flights last nine hours, and the pilots who fly them are on a razor’s edge the entire time. It was a surprise to many of us to learn that several U-2s are still flying today and are an essential component for our national security. The first U-2 flight was in 1955. They have been improved over the years, but they’re still essentially the same plane that flew in The Fifties.

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What a great day!

Submitted by Mike Taylor:


What a great day! The temperature is getting warmer, the days are longer, the song birds are singing ….and nesting!!

Just a reminder  to add a couple of extra minutes to your preflight this time of year for nesting birds.

A couple of years ago, one of our SJPA members flew over to Skagit on an errand and in less than an hour an enterprising Starling had built a nest under his cowling, on top of the engine. He  probably only found it because he noticed some fresh bird droppings when he got back to the plane. He also shudders to think of what a possible engine fire would have meant over the water.

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Just had a really good avionics trouble shooting and repair experience with Cannon Avionics in Arlington. Shop owner is Jim Peak.

George Mulligan

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Big Canadian Airliners Over The San Juan Islands

Flying over the pristine San Juan Islands reveals one of the most beautiful and serene expanses a pilot could ever wish for. A weekend pilot might be lulled into forgetting there’s a hotbed of heavy duty commercial aviation swarming overhead. To put it another way, you might see an Air Canada 777 eye to eye when you’re flying in US airspace over The San Juan Islands. Vancouver International and Victoria International airports are closer than you think.

I am an SJPA board member. At our last board meeting the topic of Canadian traffic came up. To get a better understanding, I fired up my airplane that I keep at the Friday Harbor Airport, and took the fifteen minute hop over to Victoria. After clearing the active runway, tower turned me over to ground. While taxing, I asked the ground control guy if I could come up to the tower for a tour. No problem. I cleared customs and scrambled up the stairs in the tower and met the Canadian ATC guys who were welcoming and informative.

I spent forty-five minutes up in the dimly lit tower looking over the controllers’ shoulders at an endless procession of computer screens. In between their conversations with pilots, I asked them about traffic around Victoria and Vancouver — particularly what I should know as a VFR pilot flying around the San Juan Islands. I came away with a simple upshot: Stay under 2,000’ MSL in the area of Stuart Island, Henry Island, and Roche Harbor. Canadian commercial traffic in these areas will stay above 2,000 feet.

The closer you are to Vancouver and Victoria, the more you might consider talking to Canadian ATC. Interestingly ATC personnel in Victoria’s tower refer to the airspace above the San Juan Islands as, “uncontrolled airspace.” However, they are happy to talk to you even if your flight is confined to US airspace. Canadian ATC can see you on their radar if your transponder is on. So be sure you have your Mode C transponder on and your altimeter set accurately.

Watch for commercial seaplane traffic (Otters) between Victoria and Vancouver harbors. They typically fly between 1,000 feet and 1,500 feet or lower. They stay west of San Juan Island, and they make their turn at the Stuart Island lighthouse.

There have been on-and-off efforts by Nav Canada to claim airspace over the San Juan Islands. There is a precedent — Abbotsford Airport’s airspace in BC extends into Washington State. There seems to be no talk of that now, but we should be aware of the possibility. If this comes up again, your SJPA board stands ready to respond.

The view from Victoria tower

The view from Victoria tower

The radar screen that Victoria International ATC staff sees. You can see three targets over San Juan Island and one over Shaw. There is one target over Orcas Island’s Rosario Strait.

The radar screen that Victoria International ATC staff sees. You can see three targets over San Juan Island and one over Shaw. There is one target over Orcas Island’s Rosario Strait.

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The World’s Most Famous Photo; EarthRise 1969

Every now and then I need a good reminder of one of the greatest things humans have ever done, and this is a good one:

the awe only grows greater as I grow older …

Alan Anders, son of Bill Anders

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Spitfire 944

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Charlie Lindenberg; Gone West

John Ness called me last night to say that Charlie had gone West. A long time friend and neighbor at Roche, Charlie was a retired tv cameraman when they had wires and vacuum tubes. He was also an oft-published author, with a book or two to his credit and several articles for AOPA, Flying and others. He wrote a nice article for us about the disappearing airfields, and shared some good old photos.

Where have all the Airports Gone?

He is survived by his wife Nancy, a longtime SJPA member.

Charlie at his Roche Harbor  home

Charlie at his Roche Harbor home

Old Sectional

Old Sectional

Charlie's Alco Coupe

Charlie’s Alco Coupe

N2936 cockpit

N2936 Cockpit


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Back Home in Friday Harbor!

Southern Utah in October is the best! The grueling part is getting back and forth.

I arrived back in FHR yesterday afternoon after an arduous two-day flight from Page AZ (KPGA). Dodging gusty winds and clouds through mountainous terrain gets pretty strenuous. Carrying oxygen helped. I made a few cautionary landings with unplanned overnights — including sleeping on a couch in a pilots’ lounge.

The map below is my route plotted with my Spot Satellite Locator — HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! You can see I flew through the Columbia River Gorge to get into Western Washington because the Cascades were typically obscured in clouds. I have made this trip several times over the last four years, and the hardest part is nearly always flying VFR back into Western Washington.

My compliments to the aviation community. People at airports were good-natured and helpful all along the route. FBOs were always welcoming. Flight Service (AKA 1-800-WX-BRIEF) and Air Traffic Control are AWESOME. I love my government.

Route from Boise to Friday Harbor.

Route from Boise to Friday Harbor.

Route from Page AZ to Boise.

Route from Page AZ to Boise.

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