Thursday, December 25, 2008

Desert Takeoff

For those of you who haven't seen the SoCal desert this view might be interesting. We found Apple Valley airport to be very nice. Friendly folks and long runways.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Leonard's Airport Cafe in Apple Valley

I almost forgot to mention that last week I got to add a new airport to my list of 45+ airports I've flown to. Apple Valley is in the SoCal desert and it's a pretty sweet airport with multiple runways. We went there because we heard the food was good at Leonard's Airport Cafe. It was. Ron got a burger and I got a tuna melt. Very happy with the food. But the service was a kick. Leonard is a bit of a wry comedian and his cook goes back and forth with him endlessly. We were entertained and part of the entertainment as the subjects ranged from which airport cafe had the best burgers to world events. We'll be back.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hangar Wreath

Ron drilled a hole in his hangar door and hung a wreath from it. I think it looks cool!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Want to learn how to fly?

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Here's our landing at Riverside for our Saturday breakfast. Ron came in a little fast so it bounced j u s t a little bit.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Riverside For Breakfast

A bunch of pilots at El Monte airport get together every Saturday morning and decide where to fly for breakfast. This was the first time I joined them. They picked Riverside.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You're not SERIOUS...are you?

My flying buddy Ron can't stop talking about getting a bigger, faster airplane. We looked at this Beechcraft Duke when it was at the hangar at FAST Aviation in El Monte. Then we saw the owner at the fuel pit and started talking to him. He sells airplanes. He's selling this one. There isn't a prettier airplane on the planet. Ron and the guy started talking in the Cherokee 140, carry the 2, devide by 7.....hummmm....Ron's starting to think he can afford it....there's a doctor who was interested in it but backed out...maybe he could become a partner....hey, this isn't so expensive after all! Who knows what will happen?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Santa Paula valley

Here's a short video clip of flying over the Santa Paula valley en route to the local airport.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A reminder to NEVER run out of fuel

I filmed the crew dismantling a 152 that ran out of gas over Burbank airport, they landed short of the field and ended up upside down on top of a car. They were trying to get to El Monte.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chino for Breakfast

Ron and I were planning to go to Las Vegas today but high winds forced us to reconsider. So, we just hopped over to Chino airport for breakfast. The view of downtown Los Angeles in the early morning was certainly pretty.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Flabob Vets Day

Last weekend I went to Flabob airport in Riverside for their Veteran's Day celebration. Had a great time. Here's some photos...more to come...

Monday, November 10, 2008

More photos from KSBD

San Bernardino International Airport Tower Tour

KSBD is the old Norton Airforce Base. It has been left open but the tower was not manned. That's changing. Rumors of FedEx increasing operations there have flourished after it was announced that the tower will soon be manned. An open house on Saturday, November 8 brought more airplanes into the 10,000-foot runway in one day than it has seen in several months.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Santa Paula Hangar Tour

Flew to Santa Paula today (KSZP) and walked around the hangars until someone invited us in. Pat Quinn was proud of his '46 Luscombe 8A but he really loves his '39 Bucker Jungmann (pictured here). "It's the love of my life," he said, adding "It's the one I'll die with."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Beer Run!

My flying buddy Ron and I flew from El Monte to Redlands, California yesterday to visit the Hangar 24 Brewery. They make their own beer there and we like it. I had my Growler (holds about a six-pack) refilled and Ron bought a Growler. After we got back home it sure tasted good!

It was a cloudy day, we stayed low all the way there and had a great flight.

Michigan Flying

Did I forget to mention that I went flying while I was on business in Lansing, Michigan? I did! So, knowing that I would be in Lansing for 7 days, I contacted Foxbat (Kannan) from the AOPA message boards and asked him if he'd take me for a spin around the Lansing area. He agreed, so we took a little sightseeing trip around the capitol, Michigan State University, and some cool areas.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wine Trip 2

Here's some photos of the wine crushing process at Rust Ridge. We pitched in a little (very little) and helped out.

Wine Trip 1

Ron and I flew up to his brother's vineyard (Rust Ridge) in Napa (actually, to be more precise it's in the Chiles Valley). This is a diagram of the vineyard we landed in (next door at Eagle & Rose). It's an asphalt runway, I think it was 3500 feet long. Decent shape.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm in East Landing, Michigan for work but I was able to fit in some fun too. Cessna was having an "Event" in Grand Rapids where they brought several of their airplanes for show. It was raining so they put them all inside a hangar. The Citation Mustang was there, the Stationair TC, the Cessna 400, and a Caravan.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catalina! With Passengers! WooHoo!

I've been to Catalina multiple times with my flying buddy Ron but this time it was a special trip. My youngest turned 16 and she asked me to fly her and a friend (plus my fiance) to Catalina for the day. I was like "Are you sure that's what you want for your birthday?" I thought she was picking the trip more for my sake, but that's what she wanted since she had never been there.

I was all geeked up for the trip. Since I usually fly with another pilot a trip like this is far different. It's all on me. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. And don't forget the fuel pump, and don't forget to switch tanks, and don't forget the frequency, etc., etc., etc. Plus, the daughter's friend has never been in a small airplane before.

Fog threatened to be a problem but it worked out just fine. Took off around 10:30, from El Monte. Headed west toward the Hollywood sign, then over Santa Monica, straight over LAX (in the Special Flight Rules Area) and then direct to Catalina. We were about 1500 feet over a fairly thick blanket of fog from the coast all the way out until about 5 miles from the island. Later the daughter and friend said they were less nervous than they expected over the water because they couldn't see it thanks to the fog. Fiance said she was more nervous because there was fog under us. Someone always has to be nervous!

I was nervous about landing. For those that don't know, Catalina is carved out on the top of a hill. They actually blew two hill tops to smithereenes and used the rocks to fill in the middle. The runway is convex so you can't see the other end when you're on it. It's uphill when you land on 22 (most often) and it's bumpy as heck.

My first attempt was definitely too high. Didn't take me too long to decide that a go-around was the prudent thing to do. The second attempt was too fast. I touched down and the plane porpoised once...twice...and I wasn't about to get to #3 so I pinned the throttle and did another go around. Oh well, I guess the third time's the charm. I never felt any embarassment or worrying about what the passengers were thinking (although I explained what I was doing and why, and prepped them for a potential go-around before we landed the first time) so I was happy with myself. The third attempt was practically flawless.

We took the shuttle down to Avalon and walked around town. Got lunch, bought a shirt and a sweatshirt, took the submarine tour (cool!) and then putzed around some more. The 4 p.m. shuttle gets you back to the airport at 4:30 (more like 4:36 this time). The airport closes at 5. I was checking my watch over and over. Quick bathroom break for everyone and we were back in the airplane.

And it wouldn't start....heck! Cranked it. Cranked it some more. Nothing. No pops, no faint glimmers of hope. I let the starter cool off. With sweat streaming down my face and the thought of having to spend the night on Catalina island (work and school the next day!) starting to look like a real finally came to life. Whew!

We took off at 9 minutes till 5. Had a nice flight back. Lots of airplanes headed our way through the Special Flight Rules Area (at least 2 that I recognized from having seen them at the airport, one was a Seneca).

Daughter fell asleep on the way back. We were all tired It was a big day.

First one is Two Harbors, we aimed for that and then turned left to head for a 45 degree entry into the downwind for a right pattern entry to runway 22.

Second one is Me and my daughter at lunch (Pizza!)

Third one is inside the submarine trip we took (thanks to the Purple Board for the suggestion!).

Fourth one is a view of the TON of fish that swarm the boat.

Fifth one is the Hollywood sign

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ron's "Not So Good" landing at Catalina

Catalina Island is not the easiest place to land an airplane. Especially when you are not lined up with the centerline, and overcorrect, and are too high, and are too fast, and land anyway....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ground School for IFR

Did I mention that I'm studying for my Instrument Flight Rules ticket? Okay, well, I am. I studied on my own with a variety of books for almost a year. Got to point where I just couldn't grasp some concepts so I've enrolled in ground school at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. It's already helping a lot. Hearing someone explain something that you don't understand in a different way (and then being able to ask questions) has spurred me on to get moving ahead with this giant leap.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas

Monday Ron and I flew out to Las Vegas, but with a couple of twists (for us anyway). I was in my office in Anaheim so Ron came down to Fullerton (KFUL) and picked me up. We then headed out straight through and over Ontario airport (KONT) with Flight Following. We've flown to Jean and North Las Vegas before but this time we went to Henderson Executive (KHND). It was fun to go somewhere different. Henderson has a shuttle van that will take you to just about anywhere in Vegas, so we went to Mandalay Bay for lunch. Interesting place. Expensive, above average food was our take. But it was fun.