C.K's Flight Log 2008

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Places I've been, how I got there, comments on airports and navaids. I fly out of Reid-Hillview airport and I'm parked at Hangar 2-10. Stop by and say "Hey"! Latest flights first : Note: All flights since May 2004 are in Mooney M20K 231 N3636H unless otherwise indicated. Flight track graphics from FlightAware

And send comments,dang it, flight@ravenware.com

17 Nov. 2008 BOI RHV Time 3.0
Few weeks until it's been stable enough weather to get the airplane back to San Jose on a Monday morning. WHo knows, it might be the last trip until March as the weather starts to close in.
Cold morning, 34 degrees F. Out to the airplane and spend 10 minutes scraping frost off the wings. The fire her up. Took three attempts, she was surely chilly, but she cauth and 3 minutes of nursing gat her smooth and ready to fly.
Got my clearance, switched over to ground and heard two 737's call for pushback, so I got my taxi clearance and hustled out to the runway. I know I can get there faster than them if we both start at the same time, so I did and got an immediate clearance to take off when I got to the hold bars instead of waiting 4 minutes while they took off ahead of me. They can bounce in my pitiful wake turbulence!
Then just a normal cruise down. Air was still and clear the whole route, except the Sacramento Valley, where there was a ground fog from 200 ft. to maybe 800 ft. Pretty to look at but no factor. Cancelled IFR above KSAC to avoid being sent south on the instrument route, nice 500 fpm descent from 14,000 ft. to 4,500 right by Livermore.
Landing at RHV I had a 172 taking off to my right and a Citabria making a wide pattern to my left that I was overtaking, so split my eyes between traffic as the tower cleared me to land ont he right. 30 seconds later the tower took pity on the Citabria and asked me to fly overhead and land on the left, zoom-zoom and me and the CItabria are landing side-by-side on the parallels. Nice landing, tucked her away in the hangar.

24 Oct. 2008 RHV BOI Time: 3.0

Ice is a factor now, so been a few weeks. Flew up to Boise on a Friday evening. Full night passing Reno, and if you haven't flown over the desert at night you should try it some time. Of course, I do not recommend you try it if you are a VFR pilot! The night was moonless, and there are long, 100 mile stretches where there are no lights anywhere, and with the full dark you will not have a horizon to view, you must fly on instruments. Take a look out the windshield to the left, all you see is black.
Of course, on instruments and an IFR flight plan it's great. One thing that's nice for us turbo drivers is your up waaaay high (17,000 ft) and you can see more stars than you ever thought possible. Even better than being on the ground in a really dark tropical island since you've got 3 miles less atmosphere to look through.
Coming into Boise things lit up, of course. Was able to pick out the airport beacon, but ATC held me a little higher than usual.









I also hadn't seen the KBOI runways at night before, so it took a little while to see. I was high and fast, and ATC actually asked me if I could make it. I said "Affirmative, speedbrakes" and there we go. Pop the airbrakes, get quickly to gear speed, gear down, quickly to flap speed, scoot on down the the VASI glideslope. Then landing, well, that was a little different. Speed control was perfect, but the sight picture is of course completely different. The centerline lights kept me aligned, but the runway edge lights did not give me a great perspective on how high above the pavement I was. With the nose up, it was basically search for the runway with my butt. In fact, I was actually just on the verge of initiating a go-around when chirp I made the prettiest landing of the month. Taxi to parking. Airplane is still there cuz of ice.


3-6 Oct. 2008 RHV AVX RHV Time: 4.0
Down to Avalon, Catalina Airport, for a jazz festival.
First time to Avalon and the airport in the sky, Catalina's airport. Flight down was normal, I filed V-23 along the coast to see the sights. ATC kept trying to give me Direct various places, I kept saying no no, I really want to fly down the coast. There was a good cloud layer over the ocean from San Francisco all the way down to San Diego, so I didn't know what to expect at Catalina. 45 minutes out Catalina's automated recording was saying sky clear so I figured we'd shoot the approach and see what was up. As we got near (BTW, I carry life jackets in the aircraft) it was certainly going to be interesting. Clouds reaching over the peak of the island, apparently, but the ASOS was still reporting clear. I did the GPS-A approach but had to break off for a VFR aircraft ahead of me going into the airport. I cancelled IFR, did a left 360, then went on in. Clouds to the left, clouds to the right, and clouds dead ahead, but it was completely clear at the airport itself.
Dived on in at the runway. The view wasn't a challenge, thanks to Bob King taking me to Willets on my Mooney Checkout . The winds were a little bit of a challenge, slight left crosswind and a bit of a downdraft. But I was a little hot and a little high in anticipation for that, so was just perfect. A little solid on landing to make sure I stuck it, and my partner complained that I didn't land right on the centerline this time, but off at the first exit and park.
Back on Monday. One advantage of a 1,600 ft. high airport was that I could talk directly with SoCal approach to pick up my clearance. Cleared, took off, nice easy takeoff. Taking off on Rwy 22 means you can only see half of the runway ahead of you, expect that and you're not running out of room unitl after you get over the hump. The runway is also very bumpy, it was not an issue on landing but as I accelerated on takeoff the nose was hopping all around, and the mains actually left the ground at 60 knots (I rotate at 65), so don't think that you're airborne yet if you get bumped up, wait for the speed. Then off the end, and there were no down or updrafts, or sidedrafts, as I crossed the cliffs, which might be unusual. And gentle flight in a straight line from off shore to San Jose.
Our NorCal controller as I got close to RHV was, I think, still a bit new and she was getting a little excited over small things. Kept me high into RHV, and I went around the first landing attempt. Probably could have made it, but I'd rather go around.

27-28 Sept. 2008 RHV BOI RHV Time: 5.5
Quickturn up to Boise and back. Pretty much standard.

26 Sept. 2008 RHV BUR RHV Time: 3.6
Back and forth to Burbank for family business. GOt down to the Ellay basin about 11:30, and boy was it bouncy. Lots of thudding around the mountains.
Flying back was a bit worse, 3:30 in the afternnon or so, and the flight was bouncy almost all the way back. Abeam Paso Robles over the inner mountains a sailplane popped up on me way closer for comfort than I would like. Told ATC, he could barely see a primary return on his RADAR. Can you please get a transponder if you're going to be flying up above 10,000 ft.

21-23 Sept. 2008 RHV BOI RHV Time: 5.6
Slight marine layer on takeoff, only about 200 ft. thick. Clear over the Sacramento Valley, but then a thick cloud base started building up underneath. Dead smooth, thick stratus. Started out at 17,000 ft. Past Tahoe I could see that the clouds were rising and it was still just about 0 degrees C outside, so asked for 19,000. Got it, climbed up. Another 15 minutes and things were still rising, climbed to 21,000. Still rising, said "what the heck" asked for and got 23,000. Airplane climbed well all the way up. At 23,000 ft. the outside air temp was -18 so an worries about icing (there was none forcast) went away. Clouds kept rising, but my service ceiling is 24,000 so I stayed where I was. 45 minutes of the remainder of the flight was solid, smooth, IMC with no trace of ice, just flying inside a cotton ball. Descent into Boise was break out/back in, until finally breaking out at 6,800 for a pretty landing.
Flight back was normal too. RHV was overcast so I shot the GPS 31 approach to a nice landing.

13-15 Sept. 2008 RHV BOI RHV Time: 5.9
Nothing to report. Actually I'm writing this down like 3 weeks later so I don't actually remember anything, sure there was something.....

23-25 Aug 2008 RHV BOI RHV Time: 6.3
Nice flight up, good tailwind. Nothing particularly interesting. Flight back, uug. Didn't even touched 140 knots ground speed until near Reno, long slow slog against the 40 knot wind. Suprisingly enough only two little bobbles of turbulence along the way, I expected more from the ridge peaks. Canceled IFR right after Tahoe so I could get down to 10,000 ft. or less to pick up some speed.

23 June 2008 BOI RHV Time: 6:00
Monday was again fun. Took off for Lakeport to drop the airplane off for maintenance. Flight was mostly normal, but only for those of us who fly high and have good nav gear. I was over the Rome VOR with a thick layer of smoke under me, and overheard some poor pilot calling ATC....
"SLC, Piper XXX. I'm over a thick layer of smoke, I can't see anything, I need to get back to an airport. Can you tell me where I am?" ATC gave him a code and an initial vector to Winnemucca, but this poor lad needed steering directions all the way to the airport.
BUY A GPS! If you don't have one, BUY ONE even a cheapie automotive one, With GPS there is no reason to get lost, and the fires in California prove that weather is not the only thing to worry about.
Got into the Sacramento Valley and it was horrible. Thick columns of smoke popping up 5-8 different spot in my field of view, a thick layer over the whole Valley. Ukiah (KUKI) was reporting 3/4 mile visibility in smoke. I got near Lakeport and said "forget it". I could get in on a GPS approach, but I would be picking up a ferry pilot to fly my airplane back to Lakeport from RHV, and they require it be VFR for the pilot to take it (a reasonable precaution). Well, it wasn't VFR with all this smoke. So down to RHV and a pretty landing, though a little long.

14-17 June2008 RHV BOI RHV Time: 3:00
Off to Boise. Flight plan wasn't in the system initially, RHV dug around and found it under a watercooler in the back, I think. Pretty strightforward flight to Boise, nothing in the air but me and a couple of Horizon flights. The smoke from the fires you've been reading about was intense, a thick blanket over the whole inland valley up to the Sierras. Wouldn't want to be flying without a good GPS! Nothing much beyond that, 'cept BOI landed me on 28 R instead of Left, which was at least something out of the ordinary.
Monday was a little different. Took off, climbed, passing through 4,900 ft. I heard and felt a little pop. Engine immediately lost some power. My normal climb setting this low is still 40 inches of manifold pressure, and I was showing 32. Dammit. Figured it was a turbo or induction issue, but when through fuel switching and a mag check just to be sure. FIrewalling the throttle gave me just 34 inches of pressure, which ain't no way to run an airline to San Jose. "Boise Departure, Mooney 3636H, I've lost some engine power and would like to return to the airfield" "N3636H, right turn 280, airfield is 2 miles to the north [I was effectively still in the pattern as I was turning on-course], do you need any assistance?" In otehr words, are parts falling off or pretty flames coming out anywhere?" Boise, negative assistance at this time""3636H, cleared for the visual 10R". Nice easy landing, nothing got more serious. Tell you what, if you're going to have an in-flight emergency I strongly recommend a turbo problem 2 miles from and 3,000 ft above an airport! Parked the airplane at TurboAir and said "Please Fix" and flew commercial back.
Turned out to be what I suspected, the clamp on the turbo outlet had broken and the outlet hose had come loose, meaning I was flying a normally aspirated engine.

17-19 May 2008 RHV BOI RHV Time: 6:00
Ice is finally gone, the Boise Comet rides again!
Wasn't carrying much this time, jsut half a case of wine, so loading and getting out of the hangar was pretty fast. Last thing that would be pretty fast.
Clearance delivery took 8 minutes, they hadn't lost it, just took too long findin' it. Up and out over SJC, nothing at all remarkable. At 17,000 ft settiled in to cruise, and cruising along with a spring headwind, so only making 160-170 knots. Oh well. Nothing doin' until Reno approach where one of the controllers was very chatty and happy. Then, uuuh, nothin;

Last of the snow in about the same place I snapped the first of the snow last October, right before reaching the Owyhee mountains. Landing in Boise was a little interesting, it's been a few months since I landed on a 150 ft. wide runway so my perception of my height was a little off and I flared early. One bounce, touch down and bouce again and feel the bounce getting bigger, so heck with it, I went around. Second landing was perfect.












Tahoe in the Spring

Monday was back to normal winds on the nose, so another 3 hour flight. Lots of dead air, even more than on Saturday. Watched the ceilings lift on my XM Weather equipped 396, so canceled IFR near Sacramento and nice landing at Reid.












Long winter, just some currency flights until