Columbia 400 flight over the Pacific NW

Alex Hopmann, webmaster for Club Columbia, was kind enough to give me an aerial tour of the Pacific Northwest on Thursday afternoon, after the MVP summit adjourned. He needed to get his plane up to Skagit to have an MFD looked at that was not communicating with his GARMIN 430s.

Alex keeps 45K at the Wings Aloft FBO on Boeing Field.  With a quick tug, the aircraft was out of the hangar and ready for pre-flight inspection.

The Columbia 400 is quite impressive sitting still, with those oversized cowling intakes, and scimitar Hartzell props. His aircraft is equipped with the EVADE de-icing system, though it is currently inop.

As we were getting ready to get inside the plane, Alex saw this taxiing to the active, the Boeing B747LCF. I’m not sure if Boeing plans on painting this plane, as I’m sure that would save a few hundred pounds.

The B747LCF must not have had any cargo, as it became airborne in no time.

We departed Boeing Field to the northwest to avoid traffic, so we did not get close to downtown Seattle. We managed to get back on course near Paine Field.

Alex banked a bit more so I could see all of the production aircraft on the ground.

We arrived at Skagit, and then taxied over to the maintenance shop.

45K parked in front of the maintenance hangar, with the technician having a look. 

It is not everyday you get to see what the inside of a C400 panel looks like.

Leaving Skagit, we headed toward the San Juan Islands, making a large circle back toward Seattle.  The clouds really began to thicken up, so Alex filed an IFR flight to get us back into KBFI. 

Short final into KBFI.  If you hear much about experiences with Columbia’s and their interraction with ATC, you’ll hear stories of controllers asking Columbia aircraft to slow for other traffic.  Oddly enough, as we were crossing the localizer, we were asked to slow to 160 kts. from 185 kts. for a 737 that was ahead of us.  Alex said that the controllers in the area have gotten used to being able to squeeze him in between jets, as he has no problem keeping up or slowing down.

Many thanks to Alex for this great trip.  I couldn’t think of a better way to see the sights of the Pacific Northwest!



1 Comment

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One response to “Columbia 400 flight over the Pacific NW

  1. Hoyin

    Regarding the 747LCF … I think Boeing will eventually give it the Dream-Lifter livery that\’s similar to the Boeing 787 Scheme.   I\’m envious of your flight 🙂

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