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  • Flying to the Hangar 24 AirFest in Redlands.

    http://hangar24airfest.com/

    I loaded up my rucksack and checked the weather for the flight to Redlands.

    There was an AIRMET for moderate turbulence below 12,000 feet. Visibility was 6 miles in mist.

    I started climbing to 3,500 feet for the San Marcos Pass as I made my way over the rolling hills.

    Lake Cachuma looked less empty than it has in quite a while.

    Flying through the San Marcos pass is always magic for me. The ground drops away over 2,500 feet, the ocean air sweeps over me and the shoreline stretches into the distance. The Channel Islands appear to be floating in the distance.

    I descended to 2,500 feet as I made my way toward Carpentaria and no name pass.

    Lake Casitas is just on the other side of no name passes and looked full.

    Conditions were lovely till Santa Paula where the Santa Ana Winds had kicked up with gusts to thirty five knots. The landing was uneventful and I filled up with gas. The takeoff was quick with the wind socks out straight.

    There was a twenty knot plus head wind up to Magic Mountain and severe turbulence in the Newhall Pass.

    I was going under Burbank’s class C and having difficulty managing my altitude. Whitman ATC (WHP) approved my transition.

    I checked in with El Monte ATC and my transition to the east was approved as requested. I suddenly had a tail wind and only moderate turbulence.

    I checked in with Bracket ATC (POC) for a transition and it was approved.

    Housing became less dense (more places to land) as I passed Upland.

    There was a Cobra just ahead of me as I approached San Bernardino (SBD) and asked for a transition to Redlands.

    The wind changed direction as I was inbound of the 45. The wind sock had seen better days and I could not tell which way the wind was blowing. Some flags showed a direct cross and then a tail wind. My ground speed seemed high as I got ready to touch down on the downhill runway. The landing was as nice as could be but it took quite a while to slow the rotor down in shifting winds. They found a place for The Predator and the signs are up.

    The Enterprise experience did not go well and it was an hour and a half before I had a car.

    I was staying with David and Heather.

    The air show was great and I met some wonderful people and saw some old friends. I learned a lot about flying clubs and hopefully will get to fly in next the 2018 airshow.
    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

    Comment


    • Sunday morning I took the car back and got a ride to the airport from Enterprise. It was a much better and less time consuming experience.

      I carefully secured my rucksack and performed a very careful preflight (lots of little fingers had been in the cockpit)

      I checked the weather and it looked good all the way to Santa Maria with some minor headwinds.

      I went to the pilot lounge for a personal preflight and tripped over a curb on the way back; landing on my face and badly spraining my left hand. It would have been a good aviation decision to abort the flight. I had to make some accommodations for the pain and lack of strength in my hand but managed the run up and announced a right turn out to the north with a turn to the west. I lost my side tone when I made my crosswind announcement and asked for a radio check. I could faintly hear “loud and clear” so I returned to the airport to try to repair my radio.

      I fussed with things for a while and became convinced the problem was in the helicopter plug. I unpacked my other helmet at the very bottom of my rucksack and it had the same problem. I plugged my helmet in and it worked fine. I wanted to make fewer stops with an intermittent radio so I filled her up at the Redlands self-serve. I loaded her up and checked the weather again and again lost my ability to hear the radio in the pattern. The pattern had become busy so I took me longer to return.

      I local friend called the on field avionics shop and he had just arrived at the airport. He cleaned up the plug and pulled the radio to clean the connectors. It worked and I felt we had the problem solved.

      I had a hand held but I did not know how long the battery would last so I didn’t plug it into the system although I did prepare the adapter chords.

      I checked the weather and did a quick preflight. The radio seemed to be working and I called San Bernardino for my transition to the west. They seemed a little faint so I turned up the radio to full volume and could hear “transition approved”.

      When I was ten miles from Brackett (POC) I could not establish two way radio communications so I went around their airspace. I managed El Monte and Whiteman the same way.

      I stopped in Santa Paula for gas and decided to spend the night with some friends in their hangar and see if I could get the radio fixed in the morning.

      I did not want to manage Santa Barbara’s class C airspace without a working radio and my hand was getting worse.

      We worked on the radio for an hour the Monday morning and the fog had come in so my departure was delayed till after 14:00.

      I called Santa Maria ATC and told them I might be having radio challenges and they told me to squawk 1201 ten miles out and look for light gun signals at the Orcutt Y.

      The radio stopped working before I reached Lake Casitas and I climbed to 6,500 feet to stay well clear of Santa Barbara’s airspace.

      I could not understand SMX ATC but they could hear me so I plugged in the handheld and it worked great ten miles out.

      I thanked the tower for their help and put her away knowing I had a lot of work to do. In my experience intermittent problems are the hardest to manage. I also had a crack in a body mount that I wanted to address.

      Tuesday I pulled out the seat and welded the body mount and Wednesday I worked with an avionics expert and we found it was a taped bundle of wires between the intercom and the radio where the shielding on one wire had abraded the insulation on another wire. We covered the wire with RTV and secured the junction with zip ties.

      I put her all back together and test flew her Thursday evening and asked the tower to check the transponder because we had removed in for the TIG welding. Everything seemed fine for my Friday client but he didn’t show because his airport was IFR and he wasn’t current. I felt it was a good aviation decision. I need to learn from him. That is why I had time to write about my adventure to Redlands.
      Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

      Comment


      • As I finished up with a client on Saturday I checked my emails and there was an invitation to join Paul, a gyroplane friend from San Martin, Sunday at Oceano L52 between 12:30 and 1:00. I had not planned to fly Sunday because it was supposed to be foggy in the morning and crazy windy in the afternoon with very little time between the two. I made my way down to the Santa Maria airport (SMX) at 11:00 and went through the process of getting ready to fly. The weather didn’t look good and my hour old satellite picture clearly showed fog over L52. I called flight services at 11:45 and VFR flight was not recommended along the route, although his satellite picture showed a mist over Oceano with the heavy fog was offshore. San Luis Obispo was clear so that was plan B. Despite the overcast the beach was littered with campers for Memorial Day and the smell of barbeque was in the air. I arrived at L52 at 12:30 and Paul arrived shortly after carrying a young fixed wing pilot who was with six people camping who had flown up from Long Beach. They were a delightful group of young people and we had a wonderful time eating barbeque with the Elks. As I flew home I marveled at how nice the day had turned out. At SMX the wind was 320 degrees at 14kts. I love to fly and I love the people I meet flying!
        Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

        Comment


        • Vance, sorry to hear you got banged up!

          Originally posted by Vance View Post
          I worked with an avionics expert and we...covered the wire with RTV and secured the junction with zip ties.
          Just a note to be careful when using RTV silicones to repair wiring. Most give off corrosive vapor while curing. Dow-Corning 3140 is an exception, and is designed specifically for protective coating of electrical circuits.

          Paul W. Plack
          Private ASEL, SP Gyroplane
          Secretary, URA & PRA2
          Editor, Western Rotorcraft

          Comment


          • Thank you Paul; good information!
            Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

            Comment


            • I love to fly as much as I love to teach people to fly.

              It has been hot the last couple of days In Santa Maria and our natural air conditioning kicks in (the fog rolls in).

              AIRMET sierra was in effect for ceilings less than 1,000 feet, visibility less than three miles and mountain obscuration.

              I flew from Santa Maria (SMX) up to San Luis Obispo (SBP) for lunch at the Spirit of San Luis.

              SMX departed two faster planes behind me and asked me to turn left thirty degrees for clearance.

              It took me out to Guadalupe and a wall of fog along the shoreline intruding inland as I headed toward Oceano.

              I enjoyed the cool, moist air as I rumbled across the sky maintaining cloud clearance and mindful that the fog might roll in all the way to the hills and close both SBP and SMX to VFR traffic.

              I met a father teaching his nineteen year old son to fly and I thought what a lovely way to celebrate father’s day.

              I gassed up and headed for home finding that the fog had moved much closer in to SBP.

              It felt wonderful to climb up over the top of the fog into the cloudless sky.

              I love to fly!
              Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

              Comment


              • I planned to fly to Camarillo for lunch at the Way Point Café and then on to Santa Paula for open hangar day.

                A thick fog filled the Santa Maria Valley as I headed down to the Santa Maria Airport to search the sky for signs of blue beginning a little before eight.

                As is so often the case things didn’t work out as planned.

                Santa Maria didn’t go VFR till a little before ten despite my straining to find patches of blue and the temperature/dew point spread didn’t reach four degrees till eleven.

                There was a lot of blue in the sky and lots of scattered white clouds.

                As I approached Lake Cachuma I could see the fog spilling over the ridge with a solid layer completely obscuring the ocean.

                Santa Barbara was visual meteorological conditions 1,800 foot ceilings and six miles visibility in mist but there was no visual way to get down through the clouds.

                There was a strong on shore breeze that pushed the fog hard up against the ridgeline with it spilling over a little in places.

                The San Marcos pass was completely blocked so I decided to climb up to 5,500 feet over the wilderness area. I love the freedom to climb over all the obstacles in my way. My world of rugged mountains expanded as I climbed higher.

                With the head wind I was only making 50kts (58 miles per hour) of ground speed and it felt like we were stopped from that altitude. The terrain kept rising and I kept looking at my chart. It looked like 5,500 foot would manage the highest obstacle. With the mist blocking my distant vision it was hard to tell. Normally you can tell if you are high enough because the terrain behind the ridge gets taller as you get closer. The mist added mystery to everything.

                The mist even dulled the normally jewel like Lake Casitas.

                Because of my late start I decided to go directly to Santa Paula and found a spot in the heavy traffic picking my ground speed up to ninety knots (104 miles per hour) to fit in with the faster planes in the narrow pattern (two RVs and a Twin Comanche.

                I had a delightful ham and eggs at the Flight 126 Café and had a nice visit with a helicopter flight instructor from Tehachapi who may get a gyroplane add on to his commercial helicopter certificate. He had been one of the RVs in the pattern.

                I stopped by Pat’s hanger and got all the latest on recent aviation mishaps. As usual Pat’s hangar was filled with aviation luminaries.

                Several people asked me if I had seen the Red gyroplane and it tuned to be a different friend Pat in his red Calidus.

                Things didn’t work out like I had planned but they were wonderful never the less.
                Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                Comment


                • Vance, hope all is well in Santa Maria, I see fires were close to S.M.
                  Jay Gunderson

                  "Wise men talk because they have something to say;
                  fools talk because they have to say something."

                  Plato

                  Comment


                  • We have two nearby fires Jay. The Alamo fire is over the Twitchell Reservoir about ten miles east of our home and a new one started Saturday near Lake Cachuma called the Whittier Fire about 20 miles south east of our home. So far we appear safe with no plans for evacuation. If the winds shift it could head our way.

                    Sunday ATC asked a tanker how the Alamo fire was going and he described it as a sleeping giant.

                    The Whittier Fire has grown to 7,800 acres and is five percent contained as of this morning.

                    The Alamo Fire is 29,000 acres and fifteen percent contained as of this morning.


                    This should be a particularly bad fire season because of the recent rains has more than the usual amount of vegetation.

                    I did not take the picture of the fire near Lake Cachuma and pulled it off local Chanel 7. It appears to be close to the beginning and you can see the vertical development. That is what we saw from Lompoc.

                    Saturday morning the sky had black layers going across it and there was a lot of tanker traffic. It had cleared up a little by the time I flew to Lompoc (LPC) with a client for the Cub Fly In. We looked off to the east from Lompoc and saw what appeared to be a thunderhead. Apparently the fire is so hot it causes a convective event. When I called for my weather briefing before the flight back to Santa Maria (SMX) there was a new temporary flight restriction (TFR) over Lake Cachuma and the one over Twitchell reservoir had been expanded from a five mile circle to a larger polygon.

                    I flew The Predator up to San Luis Obispo (SBP) Sunday being careful to stay out of the TFR and out of the track of the tankers. On the way back I was number nine in the pattern at SMX and made three standard rate (two minute) three hundred sixty degree turns for clearance over the Guadalupe VOR. The big tankers are heavy and slow and don’t maneuver well. They like to launch them in groups for their bombing runs so traffic can be a challenge. With fires in two directions and restricted air space on one side there are fewer places to hold.

                    As you can see in the pictures from Sunday’s flight; the smoke was in layers and in a layer visibility was down to about 3 miles. I worked to stay out of the layers.
                    Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                    Comment


                    • Thanks Vance for your update on the local fires, glad to hear there not affecting the Santa Maria area, but of course, the fires can be a tragedy where ever they are.
                      Jay Gunderson

                      "Wise men talk because they have something to say;
                      fools talk because they have to say something."

                      Plato

                      Comment


                      • A client canceled his flight today so I decided to fly to San Luis Obispo (SBP).

                        My path was limited because of two firefighting temporary flight restrictions (TFR) for the Alamo fire just to the North East and the Whittier fire to the South East.

                        I heard the magic words, Gyroplane Two Mike, runway Three Zero clear for take off, straight out with a slight left approved and as I launched I delighted in my three dimensional playground and the freedom of the skies.

                        Winds were light but there was still enough turbulence to where I had to work to maintain my altitude. SBP tower was busy and we found out spot.

                        As I taxied to parking I was pleased to see a gaggle of Mooneys; some with familiar paint jobs.

                        Palmdale, Los Angles, San Jose, Fresno and Santa Maria were represented by Mooney enthusiasts. Mitch invited me over to the table on the patio of The Spirit of San Luis restaurant and we had some nice hangar flying with some remarkable aviators.

                        My route back to Santa Maria was limited to the coast so I asked for a left turn out to the east with a turn to the south along California Highway One through the Avilla Pass.

                        Take off was short and quick with winds 300 degrees at 16kts and I asked for an early left cross. It was approved as requested.

                        It was a little warm and humid at SBP so I loved the cool ocean air washing over me as I exited the Avilla over Shell Beach. That is part of the magic of flying an open aircraft low and slow.

                        Pismo Beach looked like a popular place on Saturday with a steady line of RVs headed for the dunes.

                        I was set up for a left down wind but tanker traffic had ATC move me to a right down wind and I was to report midfield so I flew along the bluff of the Nipomo Mesa where we live.

                        I was about to report when I heard; “Gyroplane two Mike Golf; make short approach; runway 30 clear to land I have a tanker on a two mile straight in.”

                        I take this as a high compliment because if he wasn’t sure I could get off the runway quickly he would have simply told me to extend my downwind.

                        I dove for the taxiway Alpha Four running her up to 100kts (115 miles per hour) making a steep turn around the tower and setting her down as nice as could be at Alpha four and scooting across the hold short line.

                        ATC said; “Thanks for the help Vance, Gyroplane two Mike Golf taxi to parking via Alpha, Mike; monitor ground.

                        Some friends were watching the tanker operations and clapped as I went by.

                        It was a lovely end to a magical day of flying.
                        Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                        Comment


                        • I love the freedom of the skies and the people at the airports.

                          Sunday the blue skies called to me. I thought I would go visit with people at Oceano and walk to any number of nice restaurants for lunch.

                          As soon as I was up about 300 feet above the ground leaving Santa Maria (SMX) I could see a line of fog along the shoreline and it was not a good day to fly up the beach. I let the tower know I would be making a slight right instead of a slight left.

                          Oceano was just on the edge of the fog but I didn't want to get stuck there if the fog bank shifted so I told San Luis Obispo Air Traffic Control (ATC) I would be coming in through the Avilla Pass. As I approached the shoreline I could see the fog in the pass so I stayed at 1,200 feet and flew over the entrance to the pass and dropped down to 700 feet through the pass. I love the freedom altitude gives me.

                          On down wind I was number two behind a reginal jet; "caution wake turbulence". I watched their take off roll and they rotated well past taxiway Foxtrot so I was good to go. I had set up to touch down early in case the jet lifted off early so I flew down the runway at about 50 feet and set her down right at Foxtrot and scooted off the runway. As soon as the rotor stopped I slipped between a Mooney and a Cherokee Six.

                          As I was working through my post flight list a uniformed attendant from ACI Jet stopped by and began by admiring my parking job and asked if he could help me with anything. I am too cheap for full service so I told him no thank you.

                          There were two young men in camo flights suits who waited till I put my post flight checklist away before approaching. They were the mechanics for the two Ospreys out of New Mexico. They have been flying around Nipomo lately. I was very impressed with these two that give hope for the future of the USA.

                          After lunch a Cobra pilot was fascinated with The Predator and asked a lot of good questions. I also met a fellow from South Africa, his wife and two friends who had flown out of San Carlos. I love the people airports seem to collect.

                          As I taxied for takeoff the two Cobras and two Ospreys were off to my left so I pulled out my camera.

                          I still wanted to visit Oceano so I thought I would get gas there. ATC launched the two Cobras before me and I made a left crosswind departure and soon saw the Avilla Pass was filled with fog so I turned left and climbed to 1,500 feet and made ATC aware of my altered flight path. I love that freedom and reveled in it as I flew over the low hills on the edge of the Edna Valley and saw that Oceano wasn't going to work out. All of Arroyo Grande had disappeared beneath the fog and there I was with blue skies making my way back to Santa Maria.

                          I sat in the afterglow in front of the hangar for a half hour and was grateful for the freedom aviation provides for me.
                          Last edited by Vance; 07-24-2017, 11:08 AM.
                          Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                          Comment


                          • Great photos, Vance. The Ospreys are so unusual looking parked on the tarmac.

                            Your shots of the fog banks are beautiful.

                            Comment


                            • I had hoped to fly in the Wings Over Camarillo air show as I had before and it just didn’t work out. Displaying is the second best way to have fun at an airshow.

                              I had a lovely adventure going to Camarillo that was enhanced by Steven; a friend/client that has a strong desire to learn to fly gyroplanes. He is a Marin businessman that is only slightly younger than I am and has never flown anything before. He has a regular Saturday appointment and when he called me Friday to confirm I told him about my plans to attend the Wings Over Camarillo Air Show Sunday flying down to Santa Paula after his lesson on Saturday and he asked if he could join me.

                              I explained at length the somewhat long walk from the Santa Paula Airport to the Ocean Gateway Inn, our inability to have a change of clothes, the somewhat hostile weather environment, our inability to leave Camarillo before 5:00 and the likely hood we would not make it back Sunday evening because of weather. Steven had appointments Monday in Marin and it is about a six hour drive from Santa Maria.

                              Steven was undeterred so it was time for a new plan. We would meet at the airport at the Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX) at 8:00am and get The Predator ready for the flight and leave for Camarillo (CMA) as soon as SMX became VMC.

                              I was in the middle of replacing the fuel lines and servicing the fuel system and Steven came by Friday evening to help. I made a maintenance flight a little after 8:00pm and everything seemed to be working well. I love turning on all those lights at night with the touch of a button in the aircraft and I was now night current incase Sunday went long.

                              I arrived early Saturday and checked my work in the light and then Steven helped me give The Predator a bath as we searched the sky for a patch of blue. The temporary flight restriction at Camarillo started at 11:30 so we needed to leave Santa Maria no later than 10:00. The sky did not cooperate and it was almost 11:00 before the aerodrome became visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and the temperature/dew point spread was still less than my minimum of four degrees so we went back to the original timetable and figured we would leave for Santa Paula after his flight lesson.

                              Eighteen members of the Santa Ynez EAA were in the SMX tower taking a tour as we did our pattern work so I said my little prayer; “please don’t let me screw up!”

                              Visibility was six miles in mist as we took off for Santa Paula (SZP) from SMX around 3:00 after lunch. This is Steven’s first real cross country and I had not prepared him for it properly. I told him to climb to 3,500 feet and gave him ground reference points to manage the flight over the San Marcos Pass. He flew to practical test standards most of the time with an occasional lapse. My trepidation about going beyond Steven’s capabilities was waning.

                              There was some thunderstorm activity about 35 miles to the North East so there was a fairly strong wind out of the south causing some down drafts on the lee side of the ridge line near Lake Cachuma.

                              I knew the controller working Santa Barbara Approach and he commented on our being at 3,600 feet when we hit a little updraft. As a VFR pilot I am expected to maintain plus or minus two hundred feet. He expects plus or minus 50 feet from me; aviation humor?

                              Heading east over Lake Cachuma the San Marcos pass is a little hard to see. We sort of turn right to traverse the pass and it was harder to recognize the pass in the mist that made the mountains look more like shadows.

                              I was able to talk Steven through the pass. He seemed uncomfortable being up against the mountains to catch the lift. These were the strongest updrafts Steven had been in and he managed it well pulling the power well back. We stayed high through No Name pass so our track was less critical. The mist made the height of the mountains difficult to judge and I explained to Steven we only needed 2,500 feet to clear the mountains by 500 feet.

                              They were landing on runway 22 and even though we had discussed the pattern entry at SZP it had not sunk in so I talked him through it. There were four aircraft in the pattern so I took the controls over the golf course incase things happened fast. Our landing was uneventful and after fueling we prepared The Predator for her stay; chaining her down with her gust lock and rotor bag on and her cover in place to keep the moisture out of the cockpit. We spent some time talking to one of the locals helping Steven to understand the bond of all pilots.

                              We took our helmets and the GPS with us and made our way to the Ocean Gateway Inn having a lovely dinner at the restaurant next store to the inn.

                              To be continued.
                              Last edited by Vance; 08-22-2017, 10:46 AM.
                              Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

                              Comment


                              • This is the second part of our Wings Over Camarillo adventure.

                                Sunday morning I checked the weather at 6:00 AM and CMA was already VMC with a 1200 foot ceiling.

                                The buses didn’t run till 8:20 so we walked to SZP arriving around 8:00.

                                During preflight I found a broken body mount and called my friend Sam. He had people working in his hangar at SZP and told me to use whatever I could find. I love the fellowship of aviation and all the friends I have met through flying.

                                After pulling off the front nose panel I found that the two front body mount brackets had broken. There was a truck with a utility body on it and I asked my new friend from New York if he had any of these particular brackets on his truck. He had three so with the use of Sam and Rowena’s hangar we were able to pronounce The Predator airworthy by 9:30 and we were flying by 10:00 in plenty of time to arrive before the air show temporary flight restriction at 11:30 closed CMA to arriving traffic.

                                CMA was busy but not chaotic. We were number two behind a King Air and I made a short, steep approach for runway 26 and set her down right at taxiway Bravo.

                                I contacted ground as instructed and they told me to taxi east on Foxtrot and contact the event ground once past Alpha.

                                I did and they asked; “parking or display?”
                                I told him that gyroplanes are interesting and it would be nice if they made room for us in the display area. He concurred and we taxied to Golf two, shut her down and they helped park us on one of the helipads.

                                I had not even finished securing The Predator when Tim showed up with his red Calidus and slipped in next to us. He had brought chairs and a cooler in his back seat which he shared with us.

                                Sammy Mason (the son of Rowena and Sam where we had repaired The Predator) was one of the first aerobatic performers in a Pitts and gets better each time I see him fly.

                                I do not have a camera that can capture the performers so I just took some pictures of the goings on.

                                They had a D day parachute reenactment with original style chutes with very little directional control and a fast descent. All but one hit the target and all landed hard. One parachutist landed in the crowd adding to the authenticity of the reenactment because many of the jumpers on D day missed their target by some considerable distance.

                                There were lots of world war two vintage aircraft flying with a nice aerobatic performance by John Collver in his AT6 Texan “War Dog”.

                                Vicky Benzing in her Extra 300S gave a spectacular performance that took my breath away.

                                There was a great deal more that I have left out for brevity.

                                Steven wandered around the event and was amazed at the diversity of the displays.

                                We prepared The Predator for flight as lots of military aircraft flew. The TFR ended at 5:00 and I was hoping to beat the rush for departure. We needed to push out away from the crowds before starting the engine so Steven’s mission was a little undefined and challenging. We timed it just as airshow ground handed the control of our portion of the movement area and we were second to depart with Tim close behind.

                                I had the controls because I was expecting the unexpected and turned them over to Steven as we crossed the first ridge near Lake Casitas.

                                This was the most turbulence Steven had flown in and he did well later telling me he felt comfortable.

                                There were scattered clouds over Carpentaria so I took the controls rather than trying to explain which way to go around the clouds while talking to Santa Barbara Approach.

                                The mist with the sun behind it restricted visibility and made it hard to judge distance so I made the decision to stop for gas at Santa Barbara in case the weather deteriorated.

                                I made a somewhat inelegant landing trying to stop before taxiway Hotel so that I didn’t cross runway 25 because there was someone doing pattern work on runway 25.

                                I contacted ground and taxied to self-serve.

                                This was Steven’s first landing at a class C airport and he felt it was “very orderly”.

                                We talked to another pilot who had just come down from the Gaviota Pass and he recommended Gaviota over the San Marcos Pass for turbulence from the convective activity.

                                I asked clearance delivery for a straight out from runway and my read back was correct.

                                We climbed into the mist and saw some clouds ahead. Visibility was reported at ten miles but the sun reflected off the mist and made it hard to see or judge distance. The higher we climbed the harder it was to see the road so I took back the controls because I didn’t want to miss the turn over the Gaviota pass and fly into restricted area 2534A.

                                Once we had made the turn I turned the controls back to Steven and his flying continued to improve. We followed California Highway 101 and turned left at Los Alamos to approach the airport from the South West to reduce the glare from the setting sun.

                                I have a new appreciation for how a cross country flight can help a student pilot’s skills even if he does not possess the skillset to complete the mission unassisted.

                                After an extensive blow by blow debrief in the hangar Steven headed back north and called me this morning to tell me he had made it safely back to Marin and that he loved our adventure together.

                                Next Saturday is an Air Show in Paso Robles where Paul, a friend with a Magni is going to fly his first Air Show.

                                Steven is doing proper planning for this cross country complete with waypoints and estimated time of arrival.

                                He has a new appreciation for why that is important.
                                Last edited by Vance; 08-22-2017, 10:51 AM.
                                Regards, Vance Breese Gyroplane CFI http://www.breeseaircraft.com/

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