November 12th 2002, Santa Barbara

After many tries, I was finally able to hook up with a fellow graduate of FlyCalifornia, Brian Gunn, for a shared flight. We had been hoping to go to Big Bear but high winds over the mountain passes made that unwise in our little Cessna 172 so we opted to go to Santa Barbara. I would fly there, with him doing the radios, and he would fly back IFR.

The day was as clear as I have ever seen and if I hadn’t been doing the flying I could have taken some great pictures of the coast, Mission Bay etc. From Oceanside at 6000 feet we could see all the way to the oil drums next to the Queen Mary.

Our route would take us through the LAX air space which would be a first for me. With Brian doing the radio we quickly got flight following and were cleared for the North Hollywood Route which would take us directly over the right hand side of the airport, at 9000 feet. As you can imagine we had some great views of the jets flying underneath us as they came in to land, and of them taking off and flying above us on their way out. At this point I should have given my camera to Brian but didn’t think to. So no pictures of this either.

Santa Barbara weather had the wind blowing at 260 degrees which had us thinking we would land on runway 26 but the controllers must have wanted to test my crosswind landing skills as they assigned us 15L. As we got closer to the airport it was very hard to pick out runway 15 until we right over it. Because I didn’t known where exactly the runway was going to be, my approach speed and height were not very good when we arrived at the runway. In trying to correct those we ended up landing a little bumpily and off centre into the crosswind. A few seconds of uncomfortable feelings and I had the plane back where it should be and we taxied to Signature FBO for lunch at the Elephant Bar.

After lunch, we swapped seats in the plane and Brian did his IFR thing. I didn’t have anything to do so I was able to finally take some pictures. Unfortunately, it got dark real soon after take off so there aren’t very many. Here are some of the airport:

Here is the city after take off:

On the way over Oxnard, we were warned of three incoming C-130 Hercules planes that would be passing over us. I got a couple of neat pictures of them heading in:

Other than that, the trip home was uneventful as SoCal Approach guided Brian back to Montgomery Field.

I love my AnywhereMap GPS, but it lacks one neat feature – the ability to dump a map of where you flew after you get home. Brian’s Garmin handheld, on the other hand, does do this and he sent me an image showing our flights: Click here to see it.

The track in yellow is the route I flew, the track in white is the one Brian flew (as guided by ATC). My flight was 209.9 statute miles whilst Brian flew 242.9 miles; interestingly, it took me approx 2 hours, 11 minutes and Brian 1 hour 55 minutes. One reason for that is that Brian flew at a much higher power setting than I usually do – I’m going to copy that for my next cross country flight.