Just like that – To Hearst and Back


After I got my PPL, there were many a time when I would show up at the airport for a quick flight early in the morning before heading out to work or in the evening for a sunset flight. Living in a small campus town, close to the airport made this sort of thing easy.

Just an hour or so, flying along the coast, first heading west, then turning north, swinging around the Morro Rock, peering at the waves, the beach goers, the surfers and the rising or setting sun, following the coast up north towards the Hearst Castle.

Looping around Hearst Castle. Swinging by Piedras Blancas, before heading back south. Through San Simeon Bay, back over Morro Beach, and continuing south to Avila Beach, Pismo Beach and Oceano before heading back home.

What a fantastic flight, just like that!

Repost: Avalon Airport in the Sky


“A Mediterranean resort off the coast of Southern California”

Now that my Instrument training was finally over, I was ready for new adventures. The past few months had been hectic and nerve racking. Instrument training is very demanding and I am glad that, it is finally behind me. Browsing through “Fun places to fly in California” I thought I may as well start with the first airport listed there, which happened to be Avalon. I have wanted to fly to Avalon for sometime now. I had been under the misapprehension that I needed some kind of checkout prior to attempting to fly there. As it turned out, the flying club I rented from had no such restriction.

So it happened, that my friend Michelle and I set out from SBP airport one fine September morning. Low clouds and fog had laced the morning skies over SBP rendering the airspace IFR but this was not a cause of concern for me. The weather south was already clear all the way to Catalina island. By the time we set out at 10 am though, the fog had already lifted denying me an opportunity to depart in actual IFR. The skies were clear, which meant another perfect day for flying. The plan was to shoot my first GPS approach at Avalon in the 2004 C-172 I was flying, which contained MFD, autopilot and all the latest shebang. It was only the second time I was flying the aircraft and I had never flown a GPS approach before, but Michelle was there to help me through.

Continue to read here.

Note: A version of this appeared on Forbes Wheels Up here.

 

 

Repost: An Encounter with Gliding


“Memories of my very first flight!”

When Les asked me if I wanted to go flying that weekend, of course I jumped at the chance. Having never been in the air in a small plane, I was excited and exhilarated at the prospect of being airborne.

After all, wasn’t this my dream?

To fly, to soar, and reach for the stars? Little did I think of thermals, lift and drag.

Continue to read here

Intro Flight


Celebrating 20  years

 

Sifting through my logbook, I noticed something I hadn’t realized previously.

The very first entry in my logbook was recorded on 8/19/1998. Under the remarks the instructor had noted “INTRO FLT”.  The recorded time was a mere 0.7 hours. Over the next  few weeks I flew three more flights for a total of 4.1 hours.

After a hiatus of almost two years, I returned with greater determination for what I consider really my first flight lesson towards my private pilot license (PPL) on, you guessed it, 8/19/2000.

And today happens to be 8/19/2020.  Quite a coincidence!

 

Repost: From Palms to Pines


“A first time racer’s personal account”

“You have to go down to 350 feet for the flyby,” I reminded gently. “I am not going any lower“, pat came the response while Grace stayed steady at 400 feet. “We’ll be disqualified if we are not at or below 200 feet for the flyby,” I said a trifle forcefully.

craterlake

It was a beautiful, pleasant day. The heat wave we were expecting hadn’t caught up with us yet. Earlier in the morning, fog over Santa Monica had cleared rapidly, affording us an early departure on our first leg to Merced. With luggage stowed in baggage compartment, cooler with ample water in the rear seat and neck strap comfortably around our shoulders to keep us cool from the heat, we had set off from Santa Monica with anticipation for the race ahead. This was the first time I was participating in an air race, but for Grace this was old hat, as she had flown the year before.

Skirting past the Van Nuys and Burbank airspace, we sped towards the Gorman Pass. Having scouted the area the previous day, we had no trouble finding the pass. Staying as low as terrain permitted, we raced through the pass and headed towards Merced which was the checkpoint for our first flyby. Once past the Gorman Pass, the terrain flattened out and all that lay ahead were green fields, haze and beckoning skies. The haze layer hung steadfast over the surface washing the fields below with gentle whitish hue. Staying high enough to avoid the airspace below and slightly above the haze layer, we made it to Merced in good time for lunch. The first flyby at Merced called for a pass at 350 feet MSL at full throttle over the adjacent taxiway. Grace finally acceded after realizing that the elevation of the airport was 156 feet and we nudged closer to 350 feet and sped down the taxiway at 110 knots. I could feel the rush inside me as my heartbeat quickened. This was racing indeed!

Continue to read here.