Monday, November 5, 2012

Santa Monica, Not Claus


I rarely get to fly really early in the morning any more. I’m not complaining about that, just so you know, but it was really nice to see Gladys in the early-morning sunlight today.


One nice thing about departing at 7:30 AM is that I had hardly any traffic to fight on my drive to work around six. It was awesome!

These guys are also headed out early today. What a pretty plane…the Falcon 7X! My goodness, this airplane is huge. You could do several cartwheels inside without hitting a thing. That is how I officially measure airplane cabin size, by the way?

“Yes, it’s beautiful. But how many cartwheels can I do inside?”


With the Ground Power Unit plugged in, Gladys was all avionics-upped and ready to go for our flight this morning. It’s just a quick day trip today. We are headed to Santa Monica Airport in southern California!


With two passengers in back, we were soon on our way. It was a busy morning getting into Los Angeles as we joined the morning rush. I guess I was too excited about no traffic on the way to work this morning…it all caught up with me here!


Palmdale had a neat cloud hanging over it. My camera couldn’t quite capture the 3-D look. You’ll just have to trust me that it looked cool enough to try to snag a picture.


It can be risky to try to land in Los Angeles so early in the morning. Clouds and fog often hang out until late mornings here. We did have clouds this morning, but they were already breaking up enough to safely get down to the tiny Santa Monica runway.


And I’m glad that the clouds were on their way out, because it’s always helpful to be able to see mountains when we come into an unfamiliar airport! I’ve only been here a few times before!


And these are just some of the very tall reasons that Santa Monica doesn’t have an Instrument Landing System approach. These skyscrapers are right on the descent path to the runway.

Buildings, just like mountains and thunderstorms, always win. Always.


Sorry for the bad picture of the airport. You can see the beach just past it. The runway is less than 5,000 feet long. Not a problem for Gladys, but it’s certainly one of the shorter runways that we use.


We made it safely down and began our taxi to Atlantic Aviation. We will only be here until about 2:00 PM this afternoon, and then back home!


Since it is a very expensive popular destination, lots of pretty airplanes were on the ramp today. Gladys looks tiny next to a Gulfstream IV.


The overcast cloud layer hung out most of the day, which I kind of liked. Remember…we don’t get clouds at home! So I like the rare run-ins that I get to have with them!


I ordered some fuel so that I could rest for the remainder of my short time here in Santa Claus Monica today. Here is the fuel truck ready to give Gladys some gas!


The line guys wanted to leave her up against this hangar, but we asked for an easier spot from which to be staged for our departure this afternoon. So they moved her to a storage ramp until later today when we got a front-row departure spot.


Little versus big. Aren’t both oh-so-pretty?


It’s a nice FBO. I especially love the neat metal exterior. So industrial!


Enough chit-chat, though. Let’s get some breakfast! The restaurant was just a short walk from Atlantic. I love when I can just be on foot to grab some food.

Have I ever told you that breakfast is my favorite meal to enjoy while eating out? I love eating breakfast in a restaurant!


And I did something risky…something that I’ve never done before. I ordered some cinnamon bread French toast. Oh my goodness, was it ever delicious. But warm syrup makes everything taste better, right?


Back at the airport, I walked to Gladys on the far ramp to grab my flight bag to pay for fuel. I passed this pretty helicopter on my short walk. They’ve blocked the tail number from tracking, so I can’t find out the specific model of this one.

Ken, can you please help me? It’s your own fault for knowing everything under the sun about helicopters…is it an Agusta?


I guess I should do some studying on helicopters, huh? I’m much better at identifying airplanes.


This sign cracks me up and frustrates me, all at once. People buy homes near an airport for super cheap, then start complaining about all of the noise. I don’t know how to tell them this, but they bought their house by an airport! Of course it’s going to be loud!

Santa Monica is one of the worst airports in the Los Angeles valley because of their noise restrictions. A jet can’t even land here after nine o’clock at night. We wouldn’t want to disturb the people who bought their homes so close to the runway, after all.


To cheer us up from silly people, let’s go look at some pretty airplanes! These guys landed just behind us and came all the way from Baton Rouge this morning. What a pretty Learjet 45. It’s less than a year old, too, says the pilots that I talked to for twenty minutes about airplanes.

That’s one of my favorite things about being on the road. I can talk airplanes as much as my little heart desires!


Wow. I’ll take this right now, please. It’s a Citation Sovereign, which always makes me drool. I’m unfamiliar with my “PR”-designated countries on the N-number. It doesn’t up show in a short online search, but I’m guessing somewhere in Europe.

Man…I need to study lots of things, apparently!


This is the inside of the FBO. I didn’t spend much time here today, since it was gorgeous outside. Anytime I can sit outside and watch airplanes, I do.


A pretty Hawker was on the ramp with us today.


And look who finally got pulled up to the departure ramp today! And it’s a good thing, too, since my passengers arrived an hour earlier than expected. We were ready for them!

Gladys is always ready.


We were cleared to “line up and wait” on Runway 21. This used to be how they gave us clearance in Canada, but in 2011, it became the standard format for all controllers to clear an airplane onto the runway. We used to call it “position and hold.”

Ah, the good ol’ days.


Here is Santa Monica Tower. These guys were super nice to us. I just feel bad for all of their community-imposed noise restrictions!


No one cares about how noisy we are up here, so let’s be off! If you look closely, you can see the Santa Monica Pier to the right.


And the coast line is always so pretty from the sky. I craned my neck to get a peek of Disneyland from the air but couldn’t see it today. And it hurt my neck. I hate being old.


Soon we were far away from the beach and back in desert land. Hi, Home!


It was a great, quick, and wonderful work day. Any time that I get to go flying is pretty wonderful, though.


We pulled into our ramp, and the line guy had my passenger’s car pulled up. Just like they always do. We have the coolest hangar space!


This pretty guy was getting fueled up for a trip later tonight. He’s big.


Oh wow. What have we here?! It says “Experimental” on the door…could it possibly be true that I am seeing my first Gulfstream 280 today!? It hasn’t even been certified!

Often, aircraft companies will make a nice “test airplane” to show to customers while the airplane is getting close to certification. These demo flights can seal the deal of customers making orders. This beauty had been here today giving a demo to a potential buyer.

And I got to see him before he left. Holy smokes!


Of course, I waited to watch him take off. This is going to be good.


It’s pretty common for airplanes to make me smile, but this one simply took my breath away. What a gorgeous machine!


So as not to hurt her feelings, I paid some more loving attention to Gladys as well. She did so well for us in the past seven days. Four trips in a week!


Here is Big Guy again. Or at least his bum. He has a third tiny engine in the tail called an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) that helps start the engines without draining battery power. It also helps to run the air conditioners and avionics before the engines are started.

Air conditioning before engine-start is certainly a wonderful idea here in Phoenix!


What a lovely day in the sky. Now I am home for a few days before our next fun trip. It will be hard to wait that long to be flying again!

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, sis...especially if you're partial to
    I noticed something really exciting, though!!-in the pic of the clouds over Palmdale there is a hidden Mickey!!
    Yes! 3 short weeks from today we will arrive at Disneyland! Yay! I can hardly wait! Are you sure you won't change your mind and meet us there??


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