Fernando


There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando

–ABBA

“Cleared for the Fernando Five Arrival,” said the SOCAL Controller.

What…. OMG. I was almost freaking out. I thought they used Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs) to manage airline traffic going into major airports. Why does ATC want me to fly this route? I hadn’t really planned for this.

It was Spring of 2005. Grace and I were newly minted instrument rated pilots anxious to try our new skills. The day was a picture-perfect California spring day. Couldn’t ask for a better day to practice instrument flying skills as we planned our trip to the Southwest Section 99s meeting in Van Nuys, Southern California. We had both gotten our instrument ratings the previous year. Most of my flying since getting my IFR rating was to file and fly IFR.

There was a drastic change in how I recorded my flights in my logbook since that fateful day almost a year back in May of 2004 that recorded my Instrument Check ride with the added notes “It’s finally over!”. Most of my entries began with “Crepe 3 FRAMS” or “Crepe 3 PRB” depending on the destination and direction of departure for my flight. On this fateful day the flight record was

Crepe 3 D>RZS Fernando Five VNY ILS R16R

While during the past year, I had mastered punching in the departure procedure into the flight plan, I had never flown an arrival procedure yet. The departure procedure was always easier since it was assigned during the departure clearance while still on the ground with ample time to insert it into the flight plan. Crepe 3 was the most frequently used Standard Instrument Departure (SID) at SBP for departing aircraft.

Grace quickly sifted through the stack of instrument charts we had to pull up the Fernando Five Arrival (FIM.FERN5) chart as I tried to keep the aircraft straight and level. Since we were heading to San Marcus VOR (RZS) direct, this would require us to fly the OHIGH transition (OHIGH.FERN5). First the 087-radial outbound from RZS to OHIGH thence Filmore VOR (FIM) radial 267 direct FIM. Then the notes say:

LANDING VAN NUYS RWY 16: Via FIM R-053 to UMBER INT, then via I-VNY localizer. Expect ILS RWY 16R

Watch your altitude. Watch your heading. I kept reiterating to myself. This was serious business. Flying under IFR requires pilots to maintain their altitude within 200ft and heading within 10 degrees. While flying IFR departures and enroute cruise flight seems fairly relaxed, arrival and approach flight is whole lot more complex and complicated. Not only due to the high density air traffic but also because of the step down altitudes to ensure safe descent to the airport environment, the frequent heading changes to orient the aircraft towards the airport, and transition to the approach procedures such as the localizer or instrument landing system (ILS). It was the first time either of us was flying a STAR and the first time flying into Van Nuys (VNY) airport which is considered the busiest General Aviation (GA) airport in the National Airspace System (NAS). Furthermore, it is in the busy LA Basin area. It was nerve racking, but we came out of it unscathed with the ultimate prize of flying the first STAR under our belt. Exhilarating!

That was not the end of the exhilaration. During that very memorable SWS meeting we got to visit Caltech and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), saw Mars Rover exhibits: Spirit and Opportunity. That year they were the two most popular rovers on everyone’s minds as they had successfully completed their mission in April 2004. Although the original mission was for three months, the life of the rovers continued for much longer. Communication with Spirit ceased in May 2012 after being stuck in a sand trap for two years and couldn’t be rescued. Last year, in February 2019, NASA finally declared the Opportunity mission over after losing contact with it since June 2018.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Flying Low and Slow


A memorable photo journey

Over St John’s River and Lake Poinsetta area at low altitude to view river, marshes, and wildlife in a 1940 Waco UPF-7 Biplane.

We then turned northeast and flew over the Indian and Banana Rivers towards Kennedy Space Center & Cape Canaveral.Approached Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to the northwest, and came in low flying down the middle of the Space Shuttle runway.

Flew over the nearby KSC/NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, new Blue Origin and Space X building, to the east of the Launch Complexes 39A and 39B.

 

A slow, low circle over the KSC Visitor Center, with Rocket Garden, Atlantis Center.

Then south towards Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach, flying over the cruise ship terminals, cruise ships, and port, and then down along and over Coca Beach.

A little stick time for me as we turned west and headed back to Merritt Island for a landing.

What a fantastic flight. If you are ever in the Orlando area check out Florida Air Tours and take a ride with Mike.

Goodbye 2019


End of a decade

2019 marks the end of the first decade in the 21st century.

I only flew once this year. And what a flight that was…

There was tremendous progress on other fronts, and I think next year should bring forth many more flying adventures.

The top five visited posts this past year were:

  1. GA Flying over Niagara Falls
  2. Flying to the Bahamas in a C172
  3. Point-to-point Navigation
  4. Oshkosh Flyin: Rock your Wings
  5. Indian Women Pilots

Interesting to see that the viewership of  my Niagara Falls article was double the Bahamas article which until last year was the most visited!

Photo courtesy Gert.

Here’s wishing an exciting and adventurous Roaring 20’s!

Words on Wednesdays: Seems like yesterday


I almost missed this milestone.

This month marked two decades since my first intro flight when I officially began my flight training. Has it really been that long?

I still fondly and vividly remember that day like yesterday, when I flew my first solo.

Or that first cross country I made to King City, that made me nervous I would get lost. Or better yet that second  long cross-country to South County airport that required two go-arounds, to the ire of others in the traffic pattern.

Or the first foray to Bakersfield after getting my ticket and getting lost for dialing in the wrong VOR frequency and having a non-functioning transponder! How about that first ILS approach into Watsonville in actual  IMC after getting my instrument rating ?

Or that time I took my friend from college to Monterey and experienced my first instrument failure.

Or the long solo cross country to satisfy the requirements for commercial pilot license.

Or the uncomfortable attempts to achieve the minimum night time requirements, or flying night solo cold turkey or the single night solo cross country flight or later the single night and IFR flight.

Seems like yesterday 🙂

See Also:

Logging Memories I

Logging Memories II

Logging Memories III

Logging Memories IV

Logging Memories V

Logging Memories VI

 

Fresh on Fridays: Countdown to OSH#5


Seaplane Base

Fresh on Fridays: Countdown to OSH#4


Wing Walking

Fresh on Fridays: Countdown to OSH#3


Hee Haw! Great Balls of Fire!

See you in OSH!

Fresh on Fridays: Countdown to OSH#1


How it all began


Re-post from 2002. Looking forward to Airventure 2018!

50 years of Airventure

Finally this year, I had the opportunity to attend Airventure 2002. It was well worth the effort to travel to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We arrived in Oshkosh on Friday afternoon. The place was brimming with people and with luck we found a decent site to pitch tent and settle in.  Camp Scholler is not only a fun place to camp but is also very close to the action, within walking distance to the airport and the airshow. There are shuttle buses that operate on a regular basis between the campground, the entrance to the airshow, seaplane base and the EAA Museum.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Airventure. It is estimated that more than 750,000 attended this year; an estimated 10,000 aircraft were flown with a total of 2503 showplanes.  This year’s air show performances included among others:

  • Spectacular performance by the Liberty Parachute team, well orchestrated descent to the singing of the Star Spangled Banner
  • Splendid performance by Julie Clark accompanied to a fireworks display
  • Ethereal performance by Manfred Radius in his sailplane beautifully synchronized to music that soothes the soul
  • Is this for real?  Is that really a woman on my wing? Bob and Pat Wagner in their wing walking act.
  • The most incredible airpower of all – a demonstration of the Harrier II, a Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft (VTOL)  that can hover
  • Performances by Patty Wagstaff though not as spectacular as anxiously awaited owing to weather. But hey she did go up and do some of her tricks!
  • Masterful performances by Sean Tucker in his Oracle Challenger II.
  • Mike Mancuso finding new heights to flying. If it can be done, he can do it dare-devil act.
  • The War birds of America had a daily extended show. The most spectacular was the recreation of “Wall of fire”
  • Daily racing by the Aeroshell team in their T-6’s

22_19A

14_12 19_16A
Airventure Oshkosh is a must see event. It is the place once a year that aviation enthusiasts converge. With shows, workshops, booths, aircraft displays, dare-devil aerobatics and best of all the people who make it all happen. With most people it is a tradition. People come year after year to share the joy of flying.

There are other places to see and visit if you are in the Madison area. One such place is Taliesin built by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
26_24 23_21 15_13
If you have never been to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, visit  http://www.airventure.org and start planning for your trip in 2003 now. From what I hear all the best places are all gone early. But you will always find a campsite at Camp Scholler.