It is fun to fly, and even more fun when the sights out the window are beautiful. One of my favorite little local flights is to head down to the coast near Dana Point, drop down to about 1,000′ and just cruise along. After working on some wiring that I hoped would fix the static in the radios with the intercom on I pulled it out of the hangar and got set to fly. The ceilings this time of year are often low (June Gloom) but they had lifted to about 3,000′ and while it was hazy, it was good for flying.
Starting the engine showed that at idle speed the radios sounded good so I taxied out to the run-up area. The pattern was busy with three planes working on takeoffs and landings but jumped on the radio in a break to get taxi clearance and after taxiing to 24 I called up the tower.
Me: “Fullerton Tower, Mooney 78878 holding short 24 and Alpha for a eastbound departure.”
Tower: “Mooney 78878, would you like a right downwind or left downwind departure?”
Me: “If I can get a left downwind that would be great.” (I was going to be heading east and then south so a left downwind would keep me from crossing the approach to 24.)
Tower: “Mooney 878, hold short 24, landing traffic.”
Me: “Hold short 24, 878.”
While holding short of 24 I was treated to a King Air landing. I’m still impressed by bigger planes going in and out of a 3,100′ runway. There was a Cessna landing number 2 after the King Air but he was far enough out and slow enough that there was room for me to get out before him.
Tower: “Mooney 78878, left downwind departure approved, runway 24, cleared for takeoff.”
Me: “Left downwind departure, 24 cleared for takeoff, 878.”
The last step before taking the runway was to flip on the the electric fuel pump and push the mixture in full rich before advancing the throttle. I took off and after a short climb began my left turn. There are some interesting conversations you hear on the radio. The Cherokee in the pattern had just landed…
Tower: “Cherokee xxx, it looks like you have a flat tire.” (No answer from the Cherokee)
Tower: “Cherokee xxx, it looks like you have a flat tire.”
Cherokee: “Ok, thank you.”
By this point the Cherokee must have been close enough that the tower could see the tire was indeed flat.
Tower: “Cherokee xxx, your tire is flat, stop taxiing.” (No answer)
Tower: “Cherokee xxx, your tire is flat, STOP your taxi.”
At that point he must have stopped as the tower was also calling for an available maintenance truck to assist.
It was hazy, which while it doesn’t make for the best views, it does typically mean the air will be smoother. It did not disappoint as the flight was as smooth as can be. The clouds were breaking over San Pedro and what started out as a hazy, overcast flight gave way to beautiful views of the sun on the ocean.
Approaching the Port of Long Beach I climbed up to 2,100′ and called up Long Beach tower to request a transition through their airspace en-route to Fullerton. I was cleared to cross mid-field at or above 2,000. There are some things about flying that still amaze me, one is that I can fly right over the top of a busy airport, but it is fun to look down and see the runways and terminal right below you.
Once about a mile past the airport tower removed the altitude restriction and gave me an early frequency change so I could call up Fullerton Tower. A great flight, great views, and the static in the radios was gone.