Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Longest Flight of My Life


As you know from yesterday, I get to go to Disneyland for work this week. Yes, it’s a tough job. But I am willing to be a team player and take these punches with the rest of them.

It’s rough. But I sure do love my job. So let’s get going, shall we?


We didn’t wait long in Bremerton for our very-excited passengers to arrive. The kids had just been told that morning where we were headed. What a fun surprise!


Alright! We’re back in the sky and headed south to heaven on earth! I have been to Disneyland three other times in my life, but it has been over ten years since the last trip. I’m really embarrassed to admit that. But that is why I am so freakin’ excited, OK?

It’s been in a while! Too long!


Sorry for the hazy picture, but we passed Portland on the way to California today. I love Portland, but I’m not nearly cool enough to live there. I would have to have more tattoos and body piercings and care about organic food, from what I’ve seen.


We’re getting closer! Now we are over central California, where such lovelies as oranges and avocados are born. I enjoy flying over all of the pretty farms and am always amazed how they can get irrigation out here in the mostly-dry climate!

I’m glad that they manage it. Have you tried pistachios?!


Finally, a view of the Pacific Ocean. This means that we are finally coming into the Los Angeles valley. But, thanks to busy airspace and us being the little guys, we were slowed down and vectored like crazy this afternoon.


This looks like a nice place to live. Beach? Check. Mountains for camping? Check. A severe lack of LA smog? Double-check.


We start one of our many turns for vectoring today. Why are they taking us away from the city?! Don’t they know that I have places to visit, people to see?


We had to fly the full arrival, which is rare. I can usually sweet-talk a shortcut, but not today. And not in this airspace. So we flew over Catalina Island before we turned eastward towards land.


At least we are headed in the right direction now! Look at all of those beaches!


I love this shot, dividing the land from the sea. If you look really closely, you can already see a ton of uber-tanned bodies laying out down there!


Here we are on downwind for our runway to John Wayne Airport. Can you see it? We had a very long downwind because of several airlines landing in front of us. Sometimes, being the little guy isn’t much fun.

See you soon, John Wayne Airport! After we go tour the rest of the city by air, apparently!


I just hope this is an accurate statement, but here is a picture of Disneyland from the air, several miles away! Butterflies again, people! I can hardly wait to explore it all!

With my Mama! Eek!


Finally, we turned back towards the airport. As we did, I had a nice view of the Goodyear Blimp Airfield. Look at all of that prime real estate going to good use. Can you see the giant hangars in which they keep the blimps? Pretty cool stuff.


Now we are lined up for a long Final to Runway 19R to John Wayne Airport. Look how busy that freeway is. The traffic is what prevents me from ever being able to live in California.


Hello again, John Wayne Airport. We are finally getting close enough to meet you in person for the day. And I am pretty happy about that, if you must know.


We made it safely down and then had to find a spot on the packed ramp to park. I guess everyone got the memo about going to Disneyland today? This place was a madhouse!


After getting my passengers on their way, I headed back out to Gladys to unload the crew’s things. I even bought some bottled water to keep in the hotel room rather than paying $20 a bottle at the park.


More shots of airplanes on this very busy ramp. This airport is a popular reliever airport for Los Angeles International, so it is always hopping. I just love seeing so many pretty airplanes on the ramp.


We parked at Atlantic Aviation for our three-night stay. I felt badly for the line guys because there were so many airplanes coming and going that they had a hard time keeping up with it all.


Here is another view of the FBO. I am far out on the ramp to the other direction. I just checked on to see where my Mom’s airplane is, and she should be landing any moment! Holy smokes!


It’s a good thing that I wore my sparkly princess shoes to work today, huh?

Prepare for a whole lotta Disney, because that is what I am all about for these next few days!


  1. Reliving Disneyland, awesome post Micah, love the pictures!

    Nice shoes too, Princess Pilot for the day (and everyday it seems)

    Have a good day!

  2. Nice aircraft Micah. Love the winglets and pressure fueling. Have you ever had to gravity fuel the aircraft? Noticed an AOA probe. Do you fly to AOA or use stall warning? Does the Phenom 300 have a pusher or shaker? What's Vs0?

  3. Nice aircraft Micah. What's the Vs0? Does she have a pusher or shaker? What sort of ice protection? Looks like bleed air for the surfaces. What about windshield? What's a typical approach speed?

    1. Hi Ken! I don't know why, but it makes me exceedingly happy to know that a REAL airplane (and helicopter) buff reads my blog!

      The maneuvering speed is 205. And it handles really well when slow, too. In fact, you have to slow it down to 180 knots about fifteen miles out or you will never get down and be able to slow for landing! It's sleek...but manageable.

      We true out at 450 knots at cruising, and it can do that even at 43,000!

      It's a pusher system, and the calm female voice says it enough times to get your attention. We check it for proper operation every time that we start engines.

      The ice protection is ALL BLEED AIR and is insane. If we are getting near some precipitation that makes us wonder, we simply turn on the Engine 1 and Engine 2 Anti-Ice systems. About eight seconds later, the engine inlets are heated up. The wings and h-stab do the same thing. There is a negligible loss of power when you turn everything on, but when you turn it off, you feel a slight surge of power back. It's a really neat system and very well-designed.

      The windshield is heated electrically in four panels. If one fails, the other panel moves to its place to make sure everything is heated for visual reference. It is really nice, except I had to get used to its "blurry" view when we descend for a landing. I thought that I needed new glasses...

      Depending on the weight, we have an approach speed anywhere from 105 all the way up to 114. Today, with just two pilots and no passengers, our approach speed was 106.

      We have only fueled this airplane all the way twice, but luckily it was just last week. So I remember (I'm old now...). We were able to put 5400 pounds using the single-point (I will NEVER be able to go back to normal fueling now) but we really needed the 5700 pounds of total fuel that Gladys can hold in order to make it nonstop to Teterboro. So we were able to sneak another 14 gallons per side over each wing. I had to unlock the cap with the key (you have to lock it back up to remove the key...weird?), and then we put some more fuel in until we thought she was going to burst! It gravity-feeds really well. When you think it can't take any more, another few gallons disappears inside. I guess like all fueling, patience is key.

      When we are cruising at 43,000, which is the preferred altitude for this airplane, we burn about 450 pounds a side. Our first hour, including our climb to altitude, we usually burn around 1,200 pounds. It is very fuel-efficient and a smart plane! The engines produce 3,360 pounds of thrust per side. Beefy for an airplane that weighs less than 18,000 pounds! The max takeoff weight is 17,529 pounds. Quite bigger than anything I've flown before and a LOT of fun!

      But she broke down in LAX last night at midnight, and I just got home. So maybe now isn't a good time to talk about her many qualities. We have an electrical solenoid in the yoke that mechanically locks the flight controls for wind gust protection. Unfortunately, last night, we couldn't get the mechanical actuator to release the rudder. And it's really hard to steer on the ground let alone fly without a rudder!

      We got it fixed today, but my pax had to commercial home this morning. Wop wop.

      I love these questions! Let me know if you have any more!!!!

      Thanks, Ken. And your wife is very funny.


Make my day. I love comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...