I was looking forward to today ever since that Mooney fly-in at Santa Maria got rescheduled because of bad weather forecast. It would be a chance to meet some of the other Mooney owners from MooneySpace, meet a WWII P-40 fighter pilot, and fly someplace new. All week long the forecast was looking good, that is until the end of the week when it really mattered. Friday night it was looking like it would be IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) which meant I wouldn’t be going. Hoping that it might change I got up this morning and checked again. No luck, the forecast was showing MVFR (Marginal Visual Flight Rules) for five hours but going back to IFR by 3pm. Not wanting to risk going against the forecast I made other plans for a fun flight.
A friend who flies out of Corona and is IFR rated was taking off as we were fueling up for our flight. He later texted that even though he had filed and flown an IFR plan it was VFR conditions the whole way there. The forecast IFR afternoon conditions never materialized either and at 10pm it was still VFR conditions at Santa Maria. However, it has often been said that it is better to be on the ground wishing you were up in the sky, than up in the sky wishing you were down on the ground.
My backup plan was a flight to Lake Havasu for lunch and then flying over Anza Borrego State Park on the way back. We took off just after 11am and climbed up to 7,500′ for the flight east, picking up flight following about ten minutes into the flight. It was a beautiful flight with some bumps as we flew over Needles.
Lunch was great, we saw a C-130 landing in front of us as we sat at the hold short line, and then we were off on our way back. Instead of flying straight back we detoured a little south to over fly Anza Borrego. There was a lot of green on the hills, and when we got to Warner Springs the entire valley was green.