Palomar for Breakfast

The last time I flew was two weeks ago, and I really wanted to get back up in the air. The weather was going to be semi cooperative Saturday so a trip was planned to Palomar. Last time I tried to get there for breakfast I wasn’t successful and had…

Written by
Richard Brown
Published on
21 Oct 2017

The last time I flew was two weeks ago, and I really wanted to get back up in the air. The weather was going to be semi cooperative Saturday so a trip was planned to Palomar. Last time I tried to get there for breakfast I wasn’t successful and had to divert to French Valley because of low overhead ceilings. I say that the weather was semi cooperative because while it was clear skies with incredible visibility, it might be a little bumpy. There was an Airmet for low level turbulence that was to expire about 45 minutes before our flight, but that didn’t mean that it would be smooth when we left.

We took off on 25, made a left crosswind turn and departed the pattern to the south-east along the foothills. It was indeed a little bumpy. My sweet wife suggested perhaps we turn around and opt for the very short flight over to Brackett. I told her I thought it would smooth out once we got past Santiago Peak. She was a trooper and we continued on south. Fortunately once we were past Lake Elsinore it smoothed out and was nice.

I have been asked if ATC (Air Traffic Control) ever has trouble with my tail number. Yes they do. Something about all the sevens and eights gets them mixed up. I try to put in a small pause, 78-878, which helps but isn’t a guarantee. I called up the tower from about 10 miles away.

Me: “Palomar Tower, Mooney 78-878.”
Tower: “Mooney 78378, Palomar Tower, enter right base runway 24, ident.”
Me: “It’s 78-878 and ident, we are 8 miles north, north-east of the field.”
Tower: “November 378, number 3.”

I didn’t bother correcting him because I knew he had my location on radar. However one minute later, moving along at a good clip in our descent, the Tower called us back up. He had been talking to other aircraft and with him calling the wrong tail number again I wanted to make sure that he was talking to me.

Tower: “November 378, verify you have the airport in sight.
Me: “If you are calling the Mooney it is tail number 78-878, yes we do have the airport in sight.”
Tower: “November 878, roger, fly direct to the numbers, runway 24, cleared to land.”
Me: “Direct 24 cleared to land, 878.”

Rather than line up on final we aimed for the end of the runway. I raised the nose for a moment to get under 120 mph so that I could drop the gear and slow down. We made a turn, lining up on a one mile final and settled onto the runway for a nice landing.

After exiting the runway and contacting Ground we found out that their transient parking was full. About a month ago they decreased the number of transient spaces down to just five because of jet blast from the commercial jets that land at the airport. The tower directed us to park at the Western FBO because it was the closest to the restaurant. We had a choice of paying a $20 ramp fee or buy 10 gallons of their gas. With their gas priced almost $2.50 a gallon more than at Corona we opted of the ramp fee.

The restaurant is nice with a view of part of the runway. The food was good and very reasonably priced.

After a good breakfast we paid the ramp fee to the FBO and I did a pre-flight on the plane. Determining that everything was good we climbed in, started up, and received a taxi clearance from Ground.

The flight back was great with a much smoother ride north of Lake Elsinore. With the winds out of the East traffic was landing on 07 at Corona. It was a little bumpy as usual as we crossed the mouth of the canyon on the base leg but nothing too bad. Thirty minutes after pushing the throttle forward and leaving the ground in Palomar we concluded the 60 mile flight, touching down on the second stripe.

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