Strongest Winds

The winds are blowing throughout Southern California right now: I almost got blown out off the freeway coming over the mountains this morning! I tweeted something about the winds and got this reply:

Which reminded me of a trip to Laughlin (KIFP) a few years ago for my birthday, took a friend from San Diego for an overnight. Had a great trip over and a fun time in the casino but in the morning the winds were howling. We got to the 172 I opened the passenger door and the charts I had put on my seat instantly flew out of the plane. I ran after them (not knowing if it was one I needed or not) but it kept on going and going. At some point a guy from the FBO overtook me in a golf cart and got hold of the chart: it was not one I would need.

There is no ATIS or AWOS at Laughlin so I have no idea what the winds were (it’s possible the tower told me but I don’t remember) but it was tough to stand up so that meant pretty damned windy to me. My friend asked me if I had ever flown in winds this bad before – I said not. But seeing the look on his face I said that we’d taxi real careful and, since the wind was right down the runway, we would have no trouble taking off at all.

I taxied out doing my best to get the flight controls in the right places to overcome the wind, got our takeoff clearance, full power and we were off! I’ve never felt the plane lift off so quickly and so powerfully! It didn’t take long to get enough height to get over the wind and we had an uneventful flight back.

Anyone want to share their strong wind stories?

Btw, I highly recommend Laughlin as a fly-in destination. You can see some pictures and a trip report from an earlier flight in my trip report section.