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AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the way home,fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 18th 06, 06:18 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Jack Allison[_1_]
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Posts: 188
Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the way home,fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long

Yikes, it's been a week since I headed down to Palm Springs for a one
day, one (planned) overnight stay for the '06 AOPA Expo.

The plan was to head down early Friday, meet JayB from AZ, spend the day
attending a few seminars, and looking at/talking about airplanes. It
also turns out that Palm Springs is a nice long solo cross country
requirement that will satisfy my (eventual) commercial certificate. Oh
yeah, and it was a perfect excuse to take a day off of work. Now, if I
could only get *paid* to fly like this...ah, but that's another story. :-)

Pre-launch weather looked great for the way down and likely light rain
and tolerable IFR conditions in the valley on the way home...so I launched.

The flight down was great. Other than a misunderstanding in my IFR
clearance (that I could/should have clarified when picking up my
clearance), the flight was great. A minor newbie-IFR pilot thing that
ATC didn't spank me for...so all was good. Live and learn.

It was a gorgeous CAVU flying day. Gassed up at Big Bear, CA which is
an interesting place to find for the first time. There's nothing like
being approx. 12 miles out and ATC asking if you have the airport in
sight, it's a clear day, but you can't see it...cuz it's in a valley :-)
Add some snow and it would pretty much seem like Lake Tahoe...with a
much smaller lake.

Launched out of Big Bear and had planned to park at Palm Springs. Only
after listening to the longest ATIS I've ever heard (several taxiway
closures, warnings about more traffic than normal, etc...but *no*
mention of "we're closed for AOPA parking"), did I switch to Palm
Springs approach and hear the controllers tell a couple of pilots
"Parking is full, go to Thermal or Bermuda Dunes. I opted for Thermal
as they definitely had a shuttle. Given the amount of radio chatter on
CTAF, I had visions of a mini-OSH arrival...but everyone played nice and
I was shortly on the ground.

After a shuttle ride to Palm Springs, I meet up with JayB and can
honestly say that a) he pretty much looks like his pictures, b) He too
likes to hang around airplanes/talk airplanes, and c) He and MontBlack
have something in common...they *drive* to large aviation gatherings!
:-) Oh yeah, that and he's a nice guy since he gave me a ride to my
hotel. I only wish I could have reciprocated with an airplane ride.
Seriously, it was great to meet the person behind the r.a.* posts. Now
all we need to do is convince him that he too can rent a plane and fly
to Iowa City and then to Oshkosh. Or...he could take the MontBlack
airplane of minivan thing to a new level (at least setting a new r.a.*
land based OSH round trip distance record...your call JayB).

insert the part of the story where the weather system decided to do
something different

Friday night, I check the weather from the hotel and have the first
feeling like I may not get home the next day. In the morning, it's
looking slightly worse and I figure that if I can get over the Tehachapi
mountains I may have to call it a day. A couple hours later from the
FBO at Thermal, it's definitely a "uh oh, let's wait and see what that
group of storm cells is going to do...the ones that will along my path
in an hour or two". I was looking at the Palmdale/Lancaster area, which
is on Palm Springs side of the Tehachipi's from the central valley. So,
I watch and wait, along with another pilot, this guy is bound for the
San Jose area. One thing that I really didn't like in the forecast was
high winds in the area and the possibility of mountain waves.

A couple hours later, the pilot for San Jose gets an updated briefing
from flight service and decides to launch. I take one last look at the
weather and figure there's a good chance I'll only make Lancaster.
Current winds are ok but forecast to be worse after I arrive. It's
somewhat bumpy over the mountains between Palm Springs and Lancaster but
I keep my route along the lowest terrain and, yep, it's a headwind as my
ground speed has me putting along like a C150. Some minor
updrafts/downdrafts but nothing too terrible. Still, I keep an eye on
things and am ready to turn back or divert to Yucca Valley if need be.

I land at Lancaster (KWJF) mostly for a weather update but also to top
off should it look like I can make it home. I look at my watch after
I'm on the ground and realize, getting home would mean single pilot IFR
at night...not something I'd like to try at this young stage of my IFR
career. Once I get a chance to look at the weather, I have only an hour
of daylight left (it would take approx. 2.5 to get home under no wind
conditions), I opt to call it a day. It's also blowing at just shy of
30 kts. on the surface by this time.

The Oxford suites hooks me up with a room, munchies and two adult
beverages...ah, life is good :-) Weather check: things look good for
the morning. I'm beat by 8:30 and call it a night.

The next day, it's clear at Lancaster and fogged in at approx. 1500 ft.
all up the valley. It's supposed to be clear at home. I get a ride to
the airport at 6:00 and am in the air by 6:45. Sometime after 7:00, I'm
past the Tehachapi's and am picking up my IFR clearance for the way
home. It's a couple more hours of enjoying being approx. 8500 ft. above
the overcast and soaking up the sunshine. The overcast ends about 20 nm
from home.

Best instruction from ATC this trip: "Arrow two one zero four tango,
you can put that GPS to good use, cleared direct Lincoln". A glance at
the GPS tells me I'm 181 nm from home. Ah, being able to file /g is
sweet! Turns out this controller use to work for one of my partners
(who seems to know every local ATC guy he talks to...it's a riot flying
with him and he says "Hi insert name here" to everyone.

So, all in all, a good trip. The unexpected overnight was a very good
reminder that "if you've got time to spare, go by air". I sure wanted
to be home Saturday but was very much ok with coughing up an extra .1
AMU for the hotel and being away an extra night.

Oh, how was the expo? Definitely not like Oshkosh (what is?). Seminars
(not too many but given by great folks), airplanes, a chance to talk to
vendors (I had to talk to Hartzell and McCauley about prop pricing given
we're subject to a recent prop hub AD), etc. It was worth the effort
and I'll definitely go in two years when it's closer to my neck of the
woods (San Jose).


--
Jack Allison
PP-ASEL-Instrument Airplane

"To become a Jedi knight, you must master a single force. To become
a private pilot you must strive to master four of them"
- Rod Machado

(Remove the obvious from address to reply via e-mail)
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  #2  
Old November 18th 06, 02:23 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Jim Burns[_1_]
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Posts: 329
Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the way home, fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long

Great write up!
So what was your overall take on your first long solo cross-country flight
"in the system"?
Jim


  #3  
Old November 18th 06, 04:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Jack Allison[_1_]
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Posts: 188
Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the wayhome, fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long

Jim Burns wrote:
Great write up!
So what was your overall take on your first long solo cross-country flight
"in the system"?
Jim


Overall, a great experience being able to file IFR, even though in the
end I never touched a cloud. Also, I did a lot more route planning for
this trip, really the most IFR-oriented planning (MEA considerations,
alternates, "where is the small(er) cumulo-granite?" kind of questions).
I had fun planning things as this was my first time flying in the
southern CA airspace.

On the way home, while enjoying the sunshine from 10000 MSL, knowing
that I could have landed anywhere along my route that was under 1500 ft.
overcast was nice too.


--
Jack Allison
PP-ASEL-Instrument Airplane

"To become a Jedi knight, you must master a single force. To become
a private pilot you must strive to master four of them"
- Rod Machado

(Remove the obvious from address to reply via e-mail)
  #4  
Old November 18th 06, 04:58 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Andrew Sarangan[_1_]
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Posts: 187
Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the way home, fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long

Great post. But what is an AMU?

  #5  
Old November 18th 06, 10:16 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
[email protected]
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Posts: 158
Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the way home, fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long


Andrew Sarangan wrote:
Great post. But what is an AMU?


I wondered too. My best guess is "Aviation Money Unit". ;)

  #6  
Old November 18th 06, 10:18 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Jay B
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Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the way home, fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long

wrote:
Andrew Sarangan wrote:
Great post. But what is an AMU?


I wondered too. My best guess is "Aviation Money Unit". ;)


Close...

Aviation MONETARY Unit ...

1 AMU = $1000 USD

(NOTE: This is a secret conversion factor not to be shared with
anyone...)

gg

Jay B

  #7  
Old November 19th 06, 02:31 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Jack Allison[_1_]
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Posts: 188
Default AOPA Expo, meeting JayB, getting stuck in Lancaster on the wayhome, fulfilling the commercial certificate long solo x-c...long

Andrew Sarangan wrote:
Great post. But what is an AMU?

Thanks Andrew. Sorry, AMU gets tossed around over in r.a.o quite a bit
and, as an owner, I tend to put aviation related things in terms of AMUs.

JayB beat me to the definition. So, yeah, my overnight stay in
Lancaster cost me $100...er, I mean 0.1 AMUs. See, sounds much better
that way, eh? :-)


--
Jack Allison
PP-ASEL-Instrument Airplane

"To become a Jedi knight, you must master a single force. To become
a private pilot you must strive to master four of them"
- Rod Machado

(Remove the obvious from address to reply via e-mail)
 




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