The big black spot

sixpack

New Member
I was flying home late last night, VFR in a 152. I fly into this airport daily, but only a couple of times at night so far.

There is a BIG hill SE of the airport (Troutdale, KTTD). This "hill" is almost a straight-up cliff from sea level to 800 feet. The TPA is 1000' and you typically fly over this hill when turning to base. You can't help but look down to see how close you're wheels are from the trees as you turn from downwind to base. Base and Final are clear of this hill.

Back to my night flight experience. I entered the downwind as usual (tower closed), and kept expecting this hill to come into view (VFR clear). Just looked like dark nothing. I was abeam the numbers, and being familiar with the airport, I know I could fly another minute or so before hitting this hill. But I couldn't do it. The idea that there was a hill sitting there, and I could not see it scared me. I turned, overflew the runway, and entered from the other side.

This experience (not seeing the hill that I knew was there) really opened my eyes to night flying in areas with hills. If you find yourself questioning whether that big black spot ahead of you is nothing or terrain, get out of there.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
In some parts of the country (read everywhere but FL) the Earth actually varies in height, R2F!
 

Mahesh

New Member
And all this time I thought they were massive piles of dog doodoo.

He he he.

In all seriousness, that is pretty scary sounding. There are a few hills near where I fly and I don't venture anywhere near them at night because there is Class B over them and I can't fly high.

Mahesh
 

shooter13

New Member
I lived in the highlands of Florida 120 feet ASL. I swear we were in so much better shape thean other football teams...
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
[ QUOTE ]
What's a "hill"???

[/ QUOTE ]

You should come out to Cali... or anywhere out west for that matter
 
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
What's a "hill"???

[/ QUOTE ]

You should come out to Cali... or anywhere out west for that matter


[/ QUOTE ]

Agreed. I was just there in July for the first time. The hills out there were as big as the mountains here in PA. Beautiful state. Yosemite was great along with Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Forest. Also took a ride up CAL 1 along the coast. Could have taken a million pictures on that trip, but I had to settle for six rolls! We put 1,500 miles on the rental car in 5 days! Lots of fun there. Will be back in the future for sure.
 

farwellbooth

Well-Known Member
Sixpack, have you flown into Troutdale in the winter when the east wind is blowing 30 knots? That's a pain in the ass...

Get the current ATIS, set your altimeter, you know how high the hill is, and fly accordingly. Isn't there a water tower on top of the hill, with lights on it?
 

sixpack

New Member
No water tower. And yes, those winter winds off the Columbia River can make it mighty tough.

My point to this black hole, was not so much "how to fly it", but to share the idea that these big dark voids can be real hazards.

PS: farwellbooth, I noticed you're from Portland. What airport do you fly out of?
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
What's a "hill"???

[/ QUOTE ]

Well, if you've gotta ask...


Hank "Hill"


Benny "Hill"


Anita "Hill"
 

farwellbooth

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
No water tower. And yes, those winter winds off the Columbia River can make it mighty tough.

My point to this black hole, was not so much "how to fly it", but to share the idea that these big dark voids can be real hazards.

PS: farwellbooth, I noticed you're from Portland. What airport do you fly out of?

[/ QUOTE ]

I fly out of Stark's Twin Oaks just south of Hillsboro. Great airpark and family that lives on the field. And cheap too! There's a couple others from Portland on here too. Montanapilot, SkyKingRon, probably a bunch of lurkers. We should have a local Portland JetCareers something or other...
 

montanapilot

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
There's a couple others from Portland on here too. Montanapilot, SkyKingRon, probably a bunch of lurkers. We should have a local Portland JetCareers something or other...


[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah that'd be cool just saw sixpack today at Right Aproach. I fly out of Troutdale just finishing up my private license. I'd be down with a JetCareers get together sometime that would be cool.
 

zombie5225

New Member
Mahesh, have you landed at Clearview yet?? That place is ineteresting, 1800ft long, with a big cliff at the end. Oh yeah, its on a slope. Very fun place to land at
 
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