Friday, December 7, 2012

The Desert over Arizona…From the Air


Yesterday, we flew empty to Van Nuys to pick up some passengers. When we arrived, we found out that they were still a few hours away from departure. What do you do when you have a few hours to kill?

You get some really good Mexican food, that’s what.


I’ll just let you drool over this for a moment.

We found this great place near Van Nuys Airport called “Salsa and Beer.” Since I don’t drink alcohol, now would be a good time to mention that I simply call it “Salsa.”

I decided to get their shredded pork tacos today. Man oh man, were these wonderful!


Now that I’ve made you want a burrito for breakfast, let’s get back to the airport to make sure that Gladys is ready for our short hop home.

Hello, Pretty Citation III.


These guys were staged next to us. And I mean right next to us. It became a competition to see who could leave first. We were hoping that they would leave, since the line guys had placed them so close and a little bit in front of our wing. It would be hard to finagle our way around this thing to make it out of the ramp area and to the runway.

We won. Or lost, depending on how you look at it. Our passengers arrived first, which meant that we had to squeak our way past this guy.

Gladys is wonderful in so many ways, but she isn’t always the best at making small turns. This was a tight fit today, and even the passengers noticed!


Before we headed out this afternoon, I was able to find a nice young man to fill our tires with some nitrogen. The left main was looking a little low, and it doesn’t help that we get in the eighties each day and then down into the forties each night at home. It’s hard for a tire to know what pressure to maintain with such huge variations.

These guys hooked us up. I owe them cookies next time that we visit.


Here is a view of the Captain’s seat up in the cockpit. It’s so comfy and covered in sheep. Not live ones, mind you, but soft and cuddly ones for sure.


After tenderly making our way past the Citation, we were soon at the threshold of the runway and ready for takeoff. As you can see, they have switched runways since we arrived a few hours ago. Perfect for us, since our taxi is only about a hundred feet from the ramp to this airplane!


This giant Gulfstream was in line for takeoff in front of us. I didn’t mind, as I got to watch his every move and drool. What a beautiful airplane!


And, with a tail number like that, there is a good chance that he could be heading to the same place that we are heading!


I cringe when I see the freeways from the air. The traffic is always packed on them, no matter what time of day it is. At least I’m not just imagining that we don’t move when we are down there among them.

It’s way better from up here, anyway.


Here is the small hog smog covering Los Angeles just over the hills from Van Nuys. Wouldn’t this awesome haze and pollution get old after a while?


It gets more clear as we fly north to join the departure out of LA Airspace. Just beneath us is the Burbank Airport, which apparently gets priority over Van Nuys traffic. Often, we are kept on the ground until an airplane has flown its approach into Burbank above us.

It can be a long wait sometimes…ten minutes is an eternity when you could already be away from LA in that time.


Once we finally were away from LA, it was fun to look back to admire the ocean.

IMG_5815  IMG_5816

The view from 33,000 feet today was gorgeous. I have the best office view out there, by the way.


And this was rather fun to see…a nice tailwind to push us home! You can see that the wind is coming almost directly from behind us at eighty-nine knots. Which means that we had a groundspeed of 542 on our quick flight home today!

She is as fast as lightning…and a tailwind doesn’t hurt one bit!


We always fly the ARLIN3 Arrival into Phoenix airspace when returning from Van Nuys, but we are usually given a turn towards the north once we are far enough past the active military airspace just to the west of Phoenix.

Sometimes they give us “Direct TIRON,” other times just a heading of zero-five-zero. It depends on the controller from Albuquerque Center. It’s a short-cut to our home airport, so I love it either way!

We then fly through Luke Air Force Base’s airspace before being handed off to Phoenix Approach. It’s always fun to talk to those military folk.


Phoenix is now coming into view. What a beautiful day to fly!


This is Deer Valley Airport, which is always super busy. We are usually vectored to fly just north of it so that we can keep a descent coming to arrive at our home airport.

Deer Valley is crazy town.


Hi, Home!


This picture is kind of fun…with Gladys’ shadow showing up on the taxiway.


Soon, we were on our ramp and getting passengers on their way. It’s so wonderful opening the door to absolutely perfect temperatures.

Why can’t it be seventy degrees all year long?


The pitot tubes stay hot for quite a while after we land, so I sometimes wait about ten minutes after landing to put them on before leaving for home.


This is one of the three pitot tubes that gets pretty smokin’ hot. Once it cools down, I will put on its little quilt to keep it safe from anything blocking it.

These tubes pick up all sorts of information that Gladys computes in the cockpit, so they are pretty important and need to be bug-free.


While I waited, a Falcon 7X flew by. Holy smokes, this guy is huge and lovely in every way!

Do you think that it would fit in my stocking?


We have a few days home, so a long weekend will be nice. In four days, we have a three-day trip back to northern California. How fun!


I love landing and walking towards this pretty girl for my ride home. Isn’t she wonderful?! I like her.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. Well lets make me hungry (all that good looking food),then you make me want to fly again (all those beautiful planes)Sooo,I just bought a Harley instead!..2nd best to flying!.. Whick

  2. Bwaahahahaaa! Oh man, whick. You crack me up! I hope you enjoy the Harley! My (registered nurse) Mom STILL won't let me ride motorcycles...

  3. Captain Micah, tell your Mom that their is a Motorcycle Club called "CMA"...stands for "Christian Motorcycle Association"..I'm joining soon, and you can tell your Mom that "HE" will lookout for you!...Good luck, Whick :o)

  4. Oh that food looks awesome and I love looking at all your gorgeous pictures. What a blessing to have a job you love and that is so much fun!!


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