Welcome to leftturnwhenable

Welcome to leftturnwhenable.us, my personal blog for flying and flying-related activity. Mostly I anticipate it being trip reports, hopefully some trip videos, interesting articles on flying, anything I want, really.

The site started out as a sub-domain of my personal blogging website and the old posts can still be found at flying.guapacha.com. Over time I will move the old trip diaries and training diaries to this site. I was going to move the old posts but have decided to leave them there.

I can’t say there will always be something interesting here but I hope on occasion there will be something you find of interest. Comments are always appreciated!

Thanks. Paul.

Looking Forward to 2008

I’m not even going to bother reviewing 2007 as it sucked more than 2006 did. I was doing ok until some medical issues had me pretty much grounded from August onwards. Instead, I’ll do the usual ‘here are my aviation goals for next year’ and who knows, maybe I will achieve some of them this time?

  • Stay current on everything all year long
  • Make one cross country trip to Northern CA or out of state (and not Vegas)
  • Finish my Commercial certificate; I just need to iron some things out for a checkride
  • Win the AOPA Cardinal (and sell it for something I can afford to pay the tax on)

There, doesn’t that seem doable?? Anyway, wishing you all a Happy New Year and a safe 2008 in the skies.

Odd Changes to IFR Currency Rules

Was reading my AOPA Pilot magazine and found the article on the proposed Part 61 changes. Along with AOPA, I find a couple of the ones relating to IFR currency to be a little odd:

  • Add one hour of simulated cross-country practice to instrument currency – here in SoCal, at least, you are mostly going to get your currency by simulation, either under the hood or on a sim. In either case you probably already get this as there aren’t many places you can do both a precision and a non-precision approach without flying “in the system”.
  • Require pilots to wear a “view-limiting device” while training on a personal computer-based aviation training device (PCATD) – this one really confuses me. What benefit does it give to wear a hood in the sim? In actual IFR I don’t wear foggles and the experience is much much better as my head is free to move around. The weak point with the sim is the lack of turbulence – perhaps a better suggestion is to force the CFI to shake your chair from time to time??

Busiest US Airports of 2006

According to the FAA, the busiest airports in the US for 2006 were:

Rank Operations Airport
1 976313 Atlanta
2 958643 Chicago O’Hare
3 702713 Dallas-Fort Worth
4 656842 Los Angeles
5 619474 Las Vegas
6 609522 Denver
7 603246 Houston Intercontinental
8 546510 Phoenix
9 515868 Philadelphia
10 510918 Charlotte
20 394915 Van Nuys
24 362796 Santa Ana
42 278388 San Diego-Gillespie Field

It is interesting to see that Gillespie Field is busier than Montgomery Field, busier even than Lindbergh Field (by about 4800 ops!). But I suppose I can say that I have flown in and out of 3 of the 50 busiest airports in the US.

Happy New Year!

Ok, its 2007, time for this year’s new year’s flying resolutions, presented roughly in order of likely completion:

  • Stay PIC, night and instrument current all the time (night can lapse for the summer)
  • Shoot some flying videos (already got the equipment for that)
  • Fly once a month, even if just pattern work
  • Take up more (cost-sharing) passengers
  • Make some cool GPS tracks a la Jason (AnywhereMap is the best flight map but no native trip log available, sigh)
  • Make a long cross country at least one state away, UT or CO preferred, (Northern CA would suffice)
  • Get a new rating, seaplane, commercial or MEL
  • Buy a plane (lol)

A very happy and safe new year to you all.

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.

A Failure to See and Avoid

Amazing to think that no one was killed in this accident in which a plane landed on top of another just as it had touched down.

Another report I read reported that the accident pilot was transmitting on the wrong frequency and so did not hear the earlier pilot announce that he was on final, also. Obviously the second plane was on a higher path than the first and, being a low wing it would have been difficult to see beneath him. Either way, its incredible to think that at no time did he see the other guy. One of the dangers of uncontrolled airfields!

Back in Town

I’m not sure anyone reads this blog these days (if they ever did!) but in case anyone was wondering where I’ve been recently, the answer is Tokyo! I was sent there by Sony to do performance testing on the new Playstation 3 for the Japanese launch next week. Having now had my hands on the real thing rather than the test units we have in San Diego, I can say they are fantastic if you like games.

Had planned to be IFR and night current by now but the trip put a stop to that. I’m real jet lagged so not sure I will get back into the air next week. I’m going home to England for Thanksgiving so shall try to get back up at least once before then.

Didn’t see a single small plane the whole time in Japan.

Getting Back Into Things

The next few weeks should see me back in the saddle. I have two sessions booked with my CFI for a combined BFR and annual flying club review. We will do (at least) one approach under the hood so by the end of that I will be fully current, except for the night flying. I’m tempted to go up this evening and take care of that but we’ll see how I feel by then: sunset is 7.59.

My medical expires at the end of August. Now that I am over 40, I will be on the two year renewal schedule. Not sure who to see this time. My last AME was in Palm Springs, an old guy who was hugely popular for medicals, a conveyor belt of people going in and out. My recollection of the exam was chatting about places we had flown to and the colour eye-sight test that is required for the 2nd class cert. The previous guy was very different, did a bunch of tests including a urine test which I assume was for diabetes. None of what he did was required and I assume was just a way to charge me more than he needed to. Now I’m working in San Diego again I don’t want to travel to Palm Springs but at the same time don’t want another expensive, and over the top, exam.

No Wonder I Couldn’t Sleep Last Night….

KIPL 221053Z AUTO 28020G28KT 10SM CLR 21/08 A2961 RMK AO2 PK WND 29028/1044 SLP028 T02110083

KIPL 221153Z AUTO 27027G38KT 6SM HZ CLR 21/08 A2961 RMK AO2 PK WND 27039/1130 SLP028 T02060078 10256 20206 51015

KIPL 221253Z AUTO 26030G39KT 6SM HZ CLR 19/05 A2966 RMK AO2 PK WND 26041/1232 SLP043 T01940050

KIPL 221353Z AUTO 26028G35KT 9SM -RA BKN070 OVC095 17/08 A2971 RMK AO2 PK WND 27037/1311 RAB45 SLP060 P0000 T01670078