Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Mountains of Van Nuys…From the Air


Today, we head back to Van Nuys to pick up some passengers that were dropped off last week. It’s been a very busy month of flying, and I have loved every minute of it.


Gladys looked excited to go flying today, too. Maybe that’s why we get along so well? I opened the door and climbed inside.

That is something that never gets old for me…climbing into an airplane.


After putting my flight bag in a safe place inside the cabin, I began my walk-around of the airplane. We have “six pins,” as I like to call them when I am doing my verbal checklist. Three are little covers that protect the pitot tubes from the elements and bugs, and three are actual pins that lock each gear in place.

If these pins are in, we can’t retract the gear when we takeoff. So I remove them and then put them out to be counted by El Capitan before we head out on each flight.

Safe redundancy in an airplane probably never killed anyone.


The pitot covers are almost like little quilts that go over the pitot tube. All six pins have a big ol’ “Remove Before Flight” red tag attached to them. Because we won’t make it far without them removed…


I am always the first one to the airplane, so I get her ready for the day. Today, while doing my checklists, I got to enjoy some pretty airplanes take off. This is a Citation X. Not to be confused with the Citation Ten.

Same airplane, but one is newer and nicer, supposedly. Citation is calling it “the most dominant aircraft this side of the sound barrier.” What an awesome jingle! I’d buy one!


And then, after watching a few airplanes take off, I turned around to see this beautiful sight. Wowsers, she is a looker!


Just like it always is, this airport was hopping! Another airplane entered our ramp and was marshaled in by our line guys. Busy busy busy!


It’s finally our turn to leave! We are empty today, heading to bring some folks home from California. While we wait at the beginning of Runway 21, a Piper lands in front of us.


Realistically, if I ever get an airplane, it will probably be something similar to this. I did all of my flight training in Piper airplanes and love them. Wouldn’t this make a cool “minivan” someday for my family?

It’s as close to a minivan as I hope to ever get…


Now that everyone is safely out of the way, it’s our turn to take to the skies! What a beautiful day to fly. Most days are…


I love this almost-surreal picture of the desert with the wispy clouds above.


Just truckin’ along! We flew some of the JOHHN1 Departure to get out of Phoenix airspace today. And, the last point on the departure was the first point on the LYNNX8 Arrival into Van Nuys. We left around eleven o’clock this morning and landed around eleven o’clock in California.

Oh yes. Gladys is that fast! (Just kidding…there is a one-hour time difference heading to California now).


On our way to Palmdale, which is where we begin our turn towards Van Nuys, I noticed all of these windmills on the mountain. They probably aren’t this tiny in real life.

Sorry. Maybe if you squint, you can see them?


Soon we were over Palmdale. I’ve flown over this city a lot this year!


And now, the beautiful mountains really start kicking in. Isn’t this a gorgeous shot?! I love the blue lake nestled between such dark mountains. It looks nice enough to visit sometime.

Aaaaaaaaand, I probably never will. But that’s OK.


This valley is so crowded that people even live up in the mountains. I can’t imagine having to live here…so many people!


We are getting close to Van Nuys now. Can you see it? Because of the winds, we once again landed on Runway 34L. Here we are setting up to enter for our downwind leg.


But first, a few more cool mountains that we fly over each time that we visit this airport. I think that I would get lost up there with so many random trails and roads!


We were soon on the ground and soon admiring rather large and beautiful Bombardier Global Express airplanes. Pretty…and big!


Just like they usually are, the Gulfstreams were all still parked here on the ramp. Do you think that these guys ever go anywhere?!


We were parked in the number-one spot, but they moved us to make room for other landing traffic. Just before leaving for California today, we found out that our passengers weren’t going to be able to leave until 2:00 PM.

Which means that we have time to grab lunch before we head home. Yippeeeeeee!


Van Nuys is a busy airport, too. And, because they were using Runway 34L today, we got to see lots of airplanes fly directly overhead.

It was pretty fun, if you like airplanes. And I do.


In particular, I like this airplane! Hi, Gladys!


Although, this old Challenger was pretty on the ramp, too. The Global Express that we just passed is just a stretch version of this Challenger. Amazing, huh?

And, in case you’re wondering, whenever you fly a small airline on a CR-J airplane…it is also a stretch version of this Challenger! Now you know.


Wow, I probably just put half of you to sleep. I guess these airplane posts are more popular with whick and Peter Lifesaver and Ken and Ted.

And I’m just fine to have some airplane buddies along for some of my rides!


This ancient Gulfstream was made back in the seventies before I was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. It has an old low-bypass engine on it, which means two things: it is incredibly loud, and incredibly inefficient with fuel. Which is why they had to design it with giant wingtip tanks to hold more fuel.

I haven’t seen one of these in a long time, so today felt extra special! They are hard to find these days…


And we’ll end today with the greatest eye candy of them all. We are headed to lunch, then back home with a few passengers in back. Check in tomorrow for all of that fun!


  1. Wow what awesome photos! I am new to your blog and am so glad to have found it!! What a cool job you have.

  2. Hi Alicia! So glad you found me! It's so cliche, but...welcome aboard! :)


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