Goodbye Lakeland… till we meet again!
Balloons over Lakeland
Some fun flying 16 years ago…
“Cessna 69N, 20 miles south of Atwater, say intentions?” asked NORCAL Aproach.
“Request ILS 31 approach into Atwater” responded I.
“Decend and maintain 5000, fly heading 310”
“Roger” said I and eased back the throttle to 2000rpm to start a slow descent from the 8000ft we were flying on our way to Atwater and turned to a heading of 310. Nothing happened! The VSI still stayed at zero. The tachometer read 2000rpm. What was going on? It din’t look like we were descending even an inch. I pulled back some more to 1500 rpm. Still nothing happened. I scaned the other instruments to take stock of the situation. It was only a month ago that I had flown. I couldn’t possibly have forgotten how to fly. What was I missing. As I glanced over the airspeed indicator, it read 80 knots. My heart skipped a beat. We were slowing down…
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Day in Solvang
When I think of Santa Ynez (IZA), the first thing that comes to mind is the Chumash Casino. The advertisements on TV were so frequently aired that one couldn’t think about Santa Ynez without thinking about the Chumash Casino. But back in 2001 though, the casino was non-existent, so Solvang was foremost in mind when thinking about Santa Ynez.
Roughly a month after I got my PPL, I planned my first cross country as a pilot: to none other than Santa Ynez. A short flight, not quite 50nm, one I could easy trace following Highway 101 without getting lost. If you can imagine flying in a C152 with single nav/com, no GPS onboard or hand held, no smart phone, and a newly minted pilot, you will understand how important it was not to get lost 😊.
Although I had been doing some flying locally, it was time to spread my wings farther to new airports in search of new adventures. The plan was simple: fly to IZA and spend the day in Solvang. Just barely five miles from IZA, Solvang is a Danish village located in Santa Ynez Valley. Founded in 1911 by a group of Danes, it is home to bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark. Many of the buildings reflect Danish architecture. But even before the Danish arrived, Santa Ynez Valley was originally inhabited by the Chumash, an ingenious and industrious people. Mission Santa Ines served as a gateway for the Chumash Indians.
As I made my plans, my only thought was to get there safely. I forgot totally to plan for the other logistics on getting to/from Solvang or even the return flight. One goal at a time, right?
The inbound flight to IZA went without hitch. After all, I was used to driving up and down the coast of CA on 101 so often, that flying a couple of thousand feet and following it seemed a piece of cake. Goal 1 achieved. As it happened I needn’t have worried about the rest. Checking in at the FBO, I ran into a pilot and when he heard my plan was to head out to Solvang, offered me a ride since he was headed that way anyway!
There is a lot to do in Solvang. Wander the avenues, shopping nooks, and walkways, or rent bikes to ride along the streets. Checkout the Santa Inez Mission, Hans Christian Anderson Museum, replica of the Round Tower from Copenhagen, windmills, Danish architecture and so much more. Relish the traditional Danish treats and gourmet food at sidewalk cafes and restaurants.
After a fun filled day, I took a cab ride back to the airport and flew back home with the experience of my first solo cross-country flight as a PPL under my belt and a boost in confidence to plan more adventures!
Ocean City, MD
It was another of those beautiful fall days: sunny and crisp. A day made for flying. It was closer to 11:00 am by the time we departed Manassas airport and set off for Ocean City, MD for our monthly flyout with the DC99s.The plan was to meet close to noon, take a ride into town for some $500 eating fun.
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