Monday, November 19, 2012

Salsa and Beer is the Name of a Restaurant?


I’ve been to Los Angeles a lot this month for work. My passengers have had lots of productive meetings to attend, which meant that Gladys has visited Van Nuys Airport quite a few times over the past few weeks.

I love it.


Because they were washing the hangar floors, lots of beautiful airplanes were on the ramp today. It almost looked like Gladys was invited to a play date, huh?

Here they are on the swing set before they started playing kissing tag…one guess who’s idea kissing tag was?


This pretty CJ4 was actually the other airplane considered by my company before they decided to purchase the Embraer Phenom 300. Even though they seat the same number of people in back, Gladys looks like a giant next to this Citation. She is definitely a few grades ahead in school, if you know what I mean.

I’m so glad that we got Gladys. Something tells me that she is glad of that decision, too.


This big beauty, the Sovereign, can actually make it all the way to Hawaii. I wouldn’t mind a rough work trip to Hawaii here and there. That could be fun. Gladys is just shy of having enough fuel to make that long trip.

We don’t talk about it much. I prefer to focus on her many quality characteristic traits instead.


But we all have to agree that I fly the best-looking airplane of them all! Isn’t this thing gorgeous?!

Nope, not biased at all. Why do you ask?


I love that the passengers can see the flight progress as we go. As soon as a flight plan is entered into the Flight Management System (FMS) up in the cockpit, a bunch of pertinent information shows up on two screens in the back.

As we fly along, the moving maps update location, speed, altitude, and all sorts of information I’m sure that they don’t even care about! I just think it’s cool. We had something much older similar in the Beechjet, but it rarely worked properly.


I am all about passenger comfort, so it makes me very happy when these blankets, which I lovingly hand-selected from my favorite Homegoods store, are used often in the cabin. Even though Gladys has an awesome temperature control system, I just love snuggling up in a warm, fuzzy blanket. Not that I do that with these, but my passengers do.

And that makes me happy.


Away we go! We are actually just dropping off two passengers today, then flying back home. We have an avionics test to run on our way back. But we’ll talk about that in tomorrow’s post.

That’s what we call a “teaser,” by the way. It makes you want to read tomorrow morning, too. Right?


This was the nicest weather that we experienced today. For the rest of the flight, we were mostly in storm clouds of an awful cold front moving through. California was still feeling the effects the frontal pass, and we literally flew right into it today.


This is Prescott, Arizona from the air. Until I moved to this great state, I didn’t know how to properly pronounce this town’s name. Silly me for thinking that it was said the way that it was spelled!

Just to prevent you any future embarrassment, and so you can impress your friends at parties in the near future, I will teach you how the locals say it!

Say the word, “Triscuit,” like the cracker. And then put the “P” in front of it. It almost sounds like “Press-kit.” But you can get lazy when saying the last half of the word. It rarely comes out fully when the locals say it.

Now you know. You’re welcome.


So now the fun really begins. Actually, I kind of liked the weather on today’s flight. I’ve made this trip so many times lately that it was neat to have such a different perspective for our one-hour trip over to Los Angeles today!


Can you see this ragged layer of clouds? That is called “virga” and is simply rain that doesn’t reach the surface of the earth. It usually means bumps when flying through it, but it is always so pretty to admire…from afar.

Since it was on the arrival today getting into Van Nuys, of course we flew right through it. Hold on, everyone!


Some normally-sunny-and-bright towns that we fly over were covered in ominous leftover clouds from the cold front today. The bad news? That same cold front moved in for our entire weekend in Phoenix.

Do you have any idea how cold sixty degrees is for a high?! (Yes, I realize that I used to live in North Dakota. What’s your point?)


We went from ninety-two degrees to sixty degrees in one day. It was terrible. Hot chocolate had to be invited to that party.


Anyway, I really loved the clouds on our flight today. It made for lots of interesting things to admire, such as this gorgeous rainbow! What until you see how many rainbows we see in tomorrow’s post…

Another teaser? Wowsers!


Soon we were out of the clouds and looking for Van Nuys Airport. For a place that is usually clear, this was a surprisingly nice change. I really love overcast skies, in case you didn’t know that by now.


This place is usually pretty hazy, so we often have a hard time finding the airport. Today was no different, but the reason was because of low clouds instead of haze. As we flew along for our hour to get here, the weather kept improving in Van Nuys. We happily watched the ceiling get higher and higher.

Yes, we can check the weather from Gladys! Isn’t that so cool?!


Under cloudy skies, we touched down on Runway 16R and taxied to our usual FBO, Pentastar Aviation. We love them. And, for how much we’ve been there lately buying fuel, I think that the feeling is mutual.


Usually, it can be annoying when we are told that another airplane is going to butt in line ahead of us during the taxi ride. But, in this beautiful case of following a Bombardier Global Express for a mile, I didn’t mind at all.

Not one bit.

I’m just trying to imagine what it feels like to fly an airplane so big that the wings don’t even fit on the taxiway!


I always wonder where these big guys are headed when I see them pull up to the beginning of the runway. My imagination goes crazy. Is it Singapore? Venice? Moscow? With such a giant airplane, they could go anywhere!

Realistically, they probably just flew a short hop to somewhere exotic on the other side of the mountain! But we can pretend, right?


We were among more play date friends here at Pentastar. Did I not get the memo for today or what? This pretty Learjet was staged for departure when we arrived. I like the paint scheme, though I would paint an airplane with blue stripes if I had the choice.

Surprised? I didn’t think so.


Ha! Look at that! Another CJ4, just like we saw this morning on the ramp at home! I’m still glad that we have Gladys and not one of these. What would I even name something like this?!


Like they always do, Pentastar treated us royally and immediately began fueling Gladys for our flight home. She looks pretty under cloudy skies and blue skies both! Amazing.


After fueling but before our trip home in an empty airplane, we decided to grab some lunch. We love asking the Customer Service Reps where to eat because they know all of the good places. She simply said, “Why don’t you try salsa and beer.”

El Capitan and I looked at each other…maybe she didn’t understand that we were flying home right after lunch? The FAA is thankfully pretty strict on that whole eight-hours-bottle-to-throttle rule. And neither of us drinks alcohol, either, so that makes it easy.


She laughed at us when we explained our predicament. Then she explained that it was only the name of an awesome Mexican restaurant that she strongly suggested we try. Though they do have salsa and beer. I tried one of them.

We humored her and gave it a whirl. And it was one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed in California. I’ve been back since this shredded beef burrito, even!

It was a great trip to Van Nuys today, with lots of fresh and interesting weather to enjoy. Tomorrow, we will get to fly home in a little rocket with incredible sights. Don’t miss it!

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