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  #1  
Old 04-29-2016, 11:44 AM
MikeyDale's Avatar
MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Garden City Texas
Posts: 919
Default San Diego Trip

My first flight in my RV7 was last May. In September of last year I caught myself flying around Charlie airspace in Abilene, Tx so I would not have to talk to ATC! I told my wife "this is ridiculous for us to skirt around these airports because I do not feel comfortable talking to ATC!" I have been a country pilot since 1989 mainly because my airplane back then had no transponder. I kept my plane on a pasture strip in West Texas and you can go just about anywhere in the US just going from one uncontrolled airport to another, and that's what I did. Plus, I sold that plane and didn't fly for about ten years so I forgot what little I knew.....But now I have this new magic carpet and I knew it was time to grow up and learn how to talk to these guy's. So, to make a long story short, one of my New Years resolutions was to learn radio communications! For 3 1/2 months, I spent every spare moment studying Sporty's communications videos, listening to http://www.liveatc.net/ , studying airspaces, watching utube videos, practicing radio calls, and flying into and landing at Midland, Tx KMAF (I bet those guys got tired of my studdering and stammering and probably sat around joking about the hick with the RV in Garden City came by again for a touch and go today!) I cant explain why this aspect of flying is so hard for me but it is! But, after 3 1/2 months of hard work, I felt like I was good enough to go on a trip with my wife to San Diego, California! At first I thought, "we can land on the outskirts, maybe Ramona or Brown Field, and not have to deal with all that Bravo and traffic", but I caught myself, slipping back into my old ways again! No, I decided we were going to fly right into Montgomery!


First real landmark of our 926 mile adventure was the Guadalupe Mountains between Midland and El Paso...... We departed at 9 am with some low broken clouds from our farm in Garden City but they turned into clear skies after the first 30 miles. Unfortunately, the story of the day was headwinds and turbulence. I knew it was coming but we had hotel reservations that Saturday evening in SD so we braved on. I called up KMAF after we started our climb (oh, that hick again coming for a touch and go) and asked for flight following to Lordsburg NM, our first restroom and fuel stop. The call went great and I even remembered the squawk code the first time! My confidence was elevated!


Mountains in New Mexico. Turbulence was rough but my wife was hanging in there. Higher was a little smoother but we paid for it with higher headwinds. A C-172 near El Paso near us and going to Phoenix was reporting to ATC GPS was showing 50 kts per hour ground speed! Bless their hearts! Our lowest groundspeed was 105 kts groundspeed flying at 10,500'. I was handling the hand offs from flight following like a pro!


Fueling up at Lordsburg, NM. A 3:20 leg and about halfway to SD. My bladder was stretched to new limits because of those darned headwinds! Fuel was 4.20 though so that was some consolation!


Really enjoying my Skyview! Also, I built a bracket for my Galaxy 7 smart phone in the middle of the panel. It is running free Avare app which is very handy with VFR sectionals and backup navigation and ground speed. What was really surprising, is it never lost GPS signal on the whole trip, even though it is directly under the aluminum glare shield!


Next Stop was Yuma Arizona. Class D with Tower. Cleared to land on Rnwy 35 with 30knts from 320 degress. Head winds had started shifting from the North so we are making better time now.


At Million Airs Aviation and fueled up with 3.85 100LL. Checking Stadium TFR's and such. Not far to go now!


The flight from Yuma was turbulent but the winds had turned full out of the North now so we made good time. So Cal Approach cleared me thru the Bravo long before we got there but I still descended and stayed out of it. Flight following turned me loose just before Lake Murray. I had planned and practiced this approach many times in my mind. I called up Montgomery Tower and that's when the pressure was on! They gave me a straight in for 28R but had one touching down, and a Cherokee in front of me, two planes on downwind, and I'm on 3 mile final! So this is the traffic I been hearing about! Tried to slow down for the Cherokee but the controller said I was getting to close so we had to do a 360 turn.


And there it is! After 900+ miles, it was a sight for sore eyes!


Had a little trouble with Ground Control but we finally tied down at Gibbs Aviation and celebrated our journey!
__________________
Mike Hillger
RV 7 FLYING SINCE 4/2015!
Garden City, Texas
First Flight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqgxhWH3pqA
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Last edited by MikeyDale : 04-29-2016 at 03:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2016, 12:21 PM
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MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
 
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Location: Garden City Texas
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We spent the next day, Sunday, going to church and riding bicycles around Mission Bay and enjoying our beach front balcony at the Blue Beach Hotel!


Monday was spent at the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum! Actually, I could have spent three days here!


Next day was my special excursion! I had planned to fly to Catalina Island for lunch, then back down to San Diego for the "San Diego Bay Tour" before landing back at Montgomery. This is where Gibbs Aviation saved the Day! After we took the 40.00 cab ride to the airport, I realized I had left my airplane keys in the hotel room! Gibbs just loaned me their van and we went back and got them. Those people at Gibbs are as nice as they come! This pic is after we took off and turned North up the coast towards Catalina Island. I called flight following and they took good care of us!


We flew up to Dana's Point then turned toward the island. It was a 35 mile stretch over water and I asked for 12,500'. The controller asked me later why so high and that that was kind of unusual. I told him it was the first time over water with a plane I built myself and I felt comfortable with a little gliding distance! He laughed and said good choice! Actually, the angle back to land was about 13 miles at the middle but it was still stressful to us! I will tell you, I've never done so many instrument scans over such a short distance before!


The Airport in the Sky is what they call it!


Landing on Catalina Island!


Stopped on the taxiway on the West end of the runway for this Photo Opp!
We had a great lunch there and I highly recommend going to Catalina Island! We toured the whole Island while descending and it is beautiful!
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Mike Hillger
RV 7 FLYING SINCE 4/2015!
Garden City, Texas
First Flight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqgxhWH3pqA
Dues Paid
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  #3  
Old 04-29-2016, 12:24 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
 
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Good job, Mike. Nice trip report.

I learned to fly in a towered environment, so communicating with ATC has always been pretty second nature. After not flying much during the 7 years of building, though, those skills got rusty. What I found is that using flight following on every cross country flight was a good way to shake the rust off those skills. Not as high pressure as the terminal environment, but still enough to ease the transition.

Now if I could just find the time, I'd love to take some of those longer x-countries like you just did!
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  #4  
Old 04-29-2016, 01:05 PM
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MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
 
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Location: Garden City Texas
Posts: 919
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The trip back to the mainland was uneventful and we flew down back along the coast to La Jolla using flight following all the way. They turned us loose and I called up Lindbergh Tower and asked for clearance to cross the Bravo at the departure end of San Diego International at 500' for the San Diego Bay Tour and they gave it.



This pic is crossing the Bravo just across from Mission Bay.



At Ocean Beach Pier he turned us over to North Island Tower and they gave us clearance for the Bay tour at 800'!


What can I say! The Bay Tour was an experience of a lifetime!


We later asked North Island Tower for clearance to climb to 4,000' after crossing Coronado Bridge and crossed back over Lindbergh field via the "VFR Corridor" and dropped in and called Montgomery and landed completing the excursion!
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Mike Hillger
RV 7 FLYING SINCE 4/2015!
Garden City, Texas
First Flight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqgxhWH3pqA
Dues Paid

Last edited by MikeyDale : 04-29-2016 at 03:51 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-29-2016, 01:22 PM
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MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Garden City Texas
Posts: 919
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The next day, we wound down at the San Diego Zoo and had a great time!


On Thursday morning, we got up early to moonlight on the water! I wanted to leave very early to beat any coastal fog that might roll in.



Route planned for home. Actually we flew South of Gillespie on departure and of coarse, we called up our friends, So Cal Departure for flight following. We only stopped one time for gas at Lordsburg as we had better luck with the headwinds even though a cold front had just blown into Texas. Total miles traveled 2082, burned 80 gallons gas at an average of 4.50 per gallon for a cost of 360.00. All in all it was a great trip and now we are all primed up for Oskosh!
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Mike Hillger
RV 7 FLYING SINCE 4/2015!
Garden City, Texas
First Flight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqgxhWH3pqA
Dues Paid

Last edited by MikeyDale : 04-29-2016 at 02:03 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-29-2016, 01:35 PM
crabandy crabandy is offline
 
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Location: Ottawa, Ks
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Absolutely fabulous!!

Looks like the "uncomfortable" has become old hat, great job on the ATC and airspace! I can't wait to take my bride to Catalina Island and the Bay tour, I better get started reading those charts!
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Last edited by crabandy : 04-29-2016 at 01:53 PM.
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  #7  
Old 04-29-2016, 01:35 PM
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Pat Hatch Pat Hatch is offline
 
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Good going, Mike! The folks at Vans have got to have a lump in their throats after reading this one. The company should be proud of all the fulfilled dreams that they have made possible!
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2016, 02:00 PM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Location: Utah
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Incredible! Thanks for sharing. That picture of a carrier is a winner!
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2016, 02:06 PM
krw5927 krw5927 is offline
 
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Location: Wichita, KS
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Great trip report, Mike! Glad to see you're getting comfortable with ATC. Just remind yourself there's another really cool guy or gal on the other end of that radio with many of the same interests - only a different day job. One who probably wishes they could switch places with you and go flying on that fun trip!
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2016, 03:10 PM
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colojo colojo is offline
 
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Location: Newport Beach, CA
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Great trip report, great photos! Looks like you lucked out with some exceptional weather. San Diego can often be a bit hazy.

Your photo of the approach to runway 28R at MYF really brought back some memories... I got my PPL at MYF back in 1985.
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