Today was a gorgeous day in Southern California, temps in the upper 60’s, clear skies, light winds, a great day for flying. Having just wrapped up the annual inspection I needed to take the plane up and make sure everything was operating properly before taking anyone flying.
I had 16 gallons of fuel in the plane and decided to hop on over to Flabob where fuel is 55 cents a gallon less than at Fullerton. When you’re going to put 36 gallons of gas in it’s worth the fuel to get there and back, plus I needed the flight. I haven’t been to Flabob in three and a half years, since we went airport hopping during my PPL training.
Everything looked good during run-up and after taxiing to runway 24 I was cleared for either a right or left downwind departure, my choice is what the tower said.” I told him I would take the right downwind, lined up on the runway, and pushed the throttle in. I lifted off, pulled the gear up, and was pleased to see that the adjustment my AP/IA and I made to the governor was almost perfect. The engine was only making 2,650 rpm on takeoff and should make 2,700. The difference of 50 rpm doesn’t sound like much, but we are looking for “excess power” so the 50 rpm does make a difference and could be felt. It did momentarily go to 2,710 but about a quarter turn of the prop control had it right at 2,700. Honestly if I was just looking at the old tach instead of the digital engine monitor you wouldn’t even know the difference on that 10 rpm.
I picked up the ATIS from Riverside and called up the tower to request transiting their airspace en-route to Flabob. I was given clearance to transit at or above 2,300′ and dialed in the CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) for Flabob on the standby to monitor traffic there, I wouldn’t have much time after getting the frequency change from Riverside Tower. Flabob’s airspace is a 1 mile radius around the airport cut out of Riverside’s airspace.
Riverside gave me an early frequency change and I made a call that I was entering a left downwind for 24. There was one other plane just departing.
Pilot: “Flabob traffic, xxxxx taking runway 24 for a left crosswind departure to Riverside, Flabob.”
Unknown Pilot: “Now that’s a pilot, flying to Riverside instead of walking.”
Little did I know I would soon be that same pilot…
I made a left base east of Mt Rubidoux and turned final lining up on about a 1 1/2 mile final. The plane settled in for a nice smooth landing and I taxied off to the fuel pumps only to see a sign that it was out of service… My hangar neighbor had just been there Saturday and there was no NOTAM that the pumps were down, but there was the sign so I decided to hop over to Riverside where the fuel was a little more than Flabob, but still much cheaper than Fullerton.
I taxied down past the a DC-3 painted as the “Flabob Express” and a couple of C-47’s. There was no traffic in the pattern so after configuring for takeoff I rolled onto 24 and pushed the throttle in. I knew I wouldn’t have much time so prior to departing I picked up the ATIS for Riverside and dialed the tower frequency into the standby position. As soon as I pulled the gear up I switched frequencies and called up Riverside Tower.
Me: “Riverside Tower, Mooney 78878, just departed Flabob, inbound with Hotel.“
Tower: “Mooney 78878, enter either a right downwind or right base, runway two-seven, cleared to land.”
Me: “I’ll enter a right base, two-seven, cleared to land, 878.”
I had barely raised the gear and I was already powering back to slow down so that I could drop the gear and get configured for landing. After fueling up I departed Riverside to the southwest to fly past Santiago Peak where there was still a little snow from about a week ago before turning north and heading back to Fullerton. With just a touch of a tailwind I was seeing ground speeds of 170-177 mph on a shallow descent and it was smooth, like being on rails.
It’s great to have the plane through annual and get her back up flying and have everything working like it should. Time to get some more hours and trips in the coming weeks and months.