2006 Flying Stats

Been another disappointing year, flying-wise. I had hoped to complete my Commercial rating but being out of work for three months killed that idea, can’t see it happening next year either right now. Anyway, here are the sorry statistics for the year 2006.

  • 15 daytime landings; 5 night landings
  • 12 approaches (all simulated)
  • 4.5 hours of instrument time (all simulated)
  • 2.4 hours of night flying
  • 13.0 hours total flight time

I read quite a few flying-related blogs but I’d like to single out the following for an extra special thank you this year for keeping me in the air vicariously: Big Country Flying, the IFR Pilot, and Pilot in Training (who we all look forward to celebrating her exam success next year).

Personal Minimums

Was reading some aviation magazines and blogs last night, mostly about “exciting” flights or accidents and it got me thinking that despite 300 hours of flying time I am still quite the ‘fair weather’ flyer. I find it hard to understand people who fly VFR into IMC because if the weather looks anything like it would be like that I don’t go, or I file IFR. Maybe this makes me a wuss, I don’t know. It obviously means I don’t fly as much as I could (though to be honest my wallet is the main captain of that decision).

Shortly after getting my Private certificate I took a short VFR trip to Riverside Municipal airport. Visibility was 4 miles which is VFR, right?! Getting to the LA basin I was met with a wall of haze, very hard to see much of anything. I had my Anywhere Map GPS showing me the way but it was not pretty. The tower gave me “suggested headings” to find the field but I can’t believe how late I saw it; the tower was still reporting 4 mi.

There are a few small hills on the way out of Riverside back to San Diego and I decided that my GPS would keep me out of the way. So, of course, on departure the PDA that was running the software froze and that was no longer an option. Some quick dead reckoning came up with turns and times and I was soon out of the murk and my heartrate back to normal. I called FlightWatch and RAL was still reporting 4 miles.

I really can’t believe that was 4 miles or, if it truly was, then I can’t believe that VFR minimums are 3 miles because I couldn’t see much of anything useful. So one of my personal minimums is 5 miles vis if I am going VFR, less than that and its IFR.

What You Don’t Want to Hear on the Radio

Spent some time listening to the radio in the car park at Montgomery Field this evening. A plane was coming in from the west and was given a clearance to enter on a right downwind for 28R. It is important to know that almost adjacent to the airport on the north is Miramar Marine Corps Air Station….

MYF: Enter right downwind for 28R
Cessna-123: Downwind for 28R, airport in sight.

MYF: C123, immediate right turn 40 degrees
C123: Right turn 40 degrees

MYF: C123, you are in Miramar’s airspace, turn right 40 degrees NOW
C123: ok, ok, turning right

MYF: F-18s entering the pattern, you are in Class Bravo, turn NOW

The Cessna pilot got a little snippy with the controller so I wondered whether he would get an instruction to call the tower but he landed without further incident. Either way, going into Miramar’s airspace with F-18s in the pattern is not something I’d want to do.