Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunny Van Nuys to Sunny San Diego


After a wonderful day of flying and an evening spent in Van Nuys, it was time to head a little further south to San Diego for just one night. By distance, this should only be about a twenty-minute flight for us. But we double that in anticipation of traffic and being slowed down to land at the single runway at San Diego International Airport.

Here Gladys is on the ramp and ready to go. We are scheduled to be wheels-up at noon. They arrived five minutes early, like always.

Have I mentioned how much I love having prompt passengers? I am sure that comes as no surprise to anyone.


Fuel was necessary to make our short trip, so they pulled the truck up to our single-point fueling port on the right-hand side of the airplane.


Lookin’ good, Gladys!


This is the right main landing gear. I’m sure that you’ve laid awake at night wondering what this looks like. Now you know.


Sometimes I am amazed at how a little bit of proper lighting can make a normal shot extra nifty. Isn’t this sun-peeking-through shot pretty?


This Learjet was on the ramp with us, waiting to leave as well. We actually had to wait for their Ground Power Unit (GPU) after they left before we could plug it into Gladys to get the avionics loaded. They give some pretty intense route clearances leaving this place, so we wanted it all set up before our passengers arrived to prevent any unnecessary waiting. I really hate making them wait.

The Lear eventually left, and we only had the cart for a few moments before my passengers arrived. We had three peeps heading down to San Diego with us today.


After we fired up the engines and taxied out, we were behind this Citation X from XOJet. I actually applied to work for these guys last fall when I was searching for a new job. They have a few dozen airplanes that are chartered out for business. This particular airplane had a very narrow time window for his clearance to get out of Van Nuys, so they let him go in front of us. Airspace fills up pretty quickly in these parts.

By the way, I’m so glad that XO didn’t call back, and that I have my dream job instead.


We waited at the beginning of Runway 16R for about five minutes before we received our IFR release to enter the busy airspace. They have to plan for everyone in the sky here since it’s so busy, and sometimes we have to wait on the ground for a hole to open for us. Or a hole to be made for us.

Hurry up and wait!


Finally we were airborne and our way to San Diego! Goodbye, Van Nuys! See you tomorrow!


On our way up to 11,000 feet, which Gladys reached in no time at all, we passed downtown Los Angeles. Look at all that smog! I’m glad that I don’t live here.


And here is a shot of one of the busiest airports in the nation…Los Angeles International, or LAX. Can you see that cloud layer slowly moving over the runways? I’ve been here a lot, and I certainly prefer Van Nuys to get in and out quickly. LAX is such an airliner airport that little guys like us get last priority.


Now we’re getting closer to San Diego! Hi, Coast!


Here is Catalina Island from the sky. Hubby has been here on a short cruise with his sister, when he came to visit her while she lived in San Diego. I wish he was with me today so he could go deep-sea fishing. All that boy wants is to catch a marlin!


Gladys’ moving map is letting us know that we’re getting closer to San Diego. We are about to pass Carlsbad on the coast, which is the home to Lego Land. But I’m sure you already knew that.


Hi, San Diego! Boy, you look nice today. I think I should get out there and enjoy you for a few days. How does that sound? Oh, man. We just a clearance to expect a long downwind so they can sneak in some airliners in front of us. See you soon later, San Diego!


Just liked every other coastal city in California, San Diego is one packed place. With perfect weather year-round, I can see the appeal. This was a shot taken on our extended downwind leg in the traffic pattern. We are probably ten miles from the airport here to let everyone else in front of us.

Sometimes, being the little guy isn’t very much fun. We’re paying for fuel, too, you guys!


Finally, we are given our clearance to turn our base and then final legs. This little extension added about fifteen minutes to our flight. Awesome. They must not know that I have plans to visit an air museum after we land.


We eventually made it to land on Runway 27 towards the beautiful ocean. We pass right next to downtown San Diego, but I didn’t have a chance to photograph that today.

This is a picture of a Continental United Boeing 757. I interned with Continental when I was in school. It was a very educational (and hot and sweaty in Houston) summer, but it showed me for certain that the airlines were not for me. I wanted to go corporate aviation all the way.


See how close the skyscrapers are? Downtown is just a few miles away. I love landing here. I’ve been here several times, but never longer than landing at midnight and leaving by 7:00 AM the next morning. This was my first time here to actually have time to explore!

I was slightly stoked about this. Slightly.


San Diego is busy busy busy. And they get some big boys in here. I am sure these airliners were all packed because of the big events going on in town this week. Though I know nothing about it, Comic Con was going on while we were here!


I don’t know why there is only one FBO here, but they certainly get all of the private aircraft landing at the airport. This is a gorgeous (I want that) Bombardier Global Express. Huge, fast, beautiful. More expensive than I could ever afford, but it’s fun to admire on the ramp. They pulled in right behind us.


They parked us right behind a Bombardier Challenger that had its APU running in anticipation of arriving passengers. This ramp was packed and busy and fun!


Well hello, Giant Falcon Jet. I love you.


We made it safely to San Diego and got the passengers on their way. Now it was my turn to play! Woot woot! I love my job!

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