Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 3rd: San Diego...From the Air

The next morning we got up a little earlier, had breakfast, and hopped in Jen's car. A short drive later, we were at Brown Field Municipal Airport (KSDM)! Jen had asked if I wanted to go flying while I was visiting...of course the answer was yes!

Jen asked some of her coworkers for flight school recommendations and they said that First Flight was a great place to fly. I emailed them the week before to set up a flight, and when we got to the airport that morning we met up with my instructor, Travis, and the Cherokee Six I'd get to fly. New airport and new airplane...I like it!

We actually had two flights scheduled for the morning, so we went over the plan for the first flight, grabbed headsets for everyone, and topped off the plane.

Everyone fit! The Cherokee Six has six seats and can carry full fuel AND just over 1,000lbs of payload. If I had known how much stuff you could cram in these, I might have considered one of these when I was looking for a new plane last year! From this picture on, Mark took all of the pictures; I was up front flying.   :)

We took off from SDM and headed east, where we were able to get permission to fly over the water for a bay transition. We dropped down to 800', which kept us mostly out of the way of the other traffic and also gave us a great view of the area.

We followed the bay around and flew right past North Island Naval Air Station. The tower had us do a tight circle for spacing while a plane took off and climbed out past us. It was really neat to be so close!

We flew past Shelter Island, too. There were a LOT of boats.

We flew past Point Loma and out over the water. The tower had us drop down to 500' for more traffic, then we eventually turned around and followed the bay back down to the south.

On the way back, I got to see the submarines Travis had pointed out to us earlier. There is a submarine learning center here, and you could just make out the submarines from the air.

We also got to see how they wash the helicopters at North Island - they spray water on them while they're running. We also saw a hovercraft offshore, but I couldn't get any of my pictures zoomed in enough to show the detail. It was really neat, though!

I couldn't believe how close we were to San Diego International! Jen has a friend who works in the tower there; we found out after we were already out of the area that he would have let us land there if we wanted. I'll have to remember that for next time!

We got a nice view of the USS Midway on the way back, too. I couldn't imagine landing on that!

We flew out of the bay to the south and headed back toward Brown Field. The tower approved our climb, but I don't think they realized that they had also approved a descent through our altitude for the F-18 that was inbound to North Island. Oops! We saw him, judging by his evasive maneuvers he saw us, and everyone on our plane got an up close and personal view of an F-18 from the air. (This picture doesn't exactly do it was impressive!) We made it back to Brown Field just fine and had plenty of time to get ready for our next flight.

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