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This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience.
Specifically, I have a page for my Trips to Oshkosh, the mecca for pilots

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2007/05/29 Flight to Santa Monica and Catalina
π 2007-05-29 09:39 by Merlin in Flying, Nflying

I went to work there for a few days and flew to Santa Monica airport with a coworker and my boss. I wasn't able to rent the Trinidad TB20 I like to fly (cheap and fast), but I got a C182 G1000 instead, which while expensive got us there and back in a bit less than 2.5H each way.

Since I was feeling a bit weak/tired during the flight, I used the O2 bottle I had when we climbed at 12500ft, to stay focussed. This turned out to be a little hard because for some strange reason, I had a very bad need to go pee, even though I had gone right before the flight, and hadn't drunk much of anything at home. Before some of you ask, I had the pilot pee bags in my flight bag, but unless it was an absolute necessity (which it got close to in the end :), I wanted to avoid doing #1 in front of my manager in the right seat :)

This flight was nice for me as it was the first flight where I was able to use my IFR rating solo: LA was still mostly overcast at 2200ft when we arrived around 12:30.
The only little problem was when I messed up my last radio handoff where I got two frequency digits swapped and lost radio comm for a little while. I've always wondered if I'm slightly dyslexic sometimes or if it's just the occasional brainfart... Anyway LA Center got worried a bit when they lost me for a few minutes, and they were glad to have me back when I checked back in on the old frequency and got the correct frequency instead.
Flying IFR over LA can always be challenging when they give you a victor airway to find and join, and the map is full of them, but I eventually found it and got on it.
It was a soft IFR day, just the usual overcast over LA and I wasn't in the clouds long, but I shot the VOR/GPS alpha into Santa Monica, went through the layer and was nicely pointed at the runway, and managed a nice and soft uneventful landing even though I had to pee so badly by then that I could barely raise my legs to put them on the rudder pedals.
Once the plane was parked, I barely managed to make it out the plane to the FBO's restrooms, my kidneys were hurting by then, but all was well a few minutes later :)

A few days later, we flew to Catalina, which I wanted to do VFR because there's no reason to fly IFR if it's going to be a scenic flight, but we had to wait past 13:00 to have reasonable VFR conditions over overcast/smoky/foggy LA.
We headed for Catalina via the special VFR corridor over LAX, but we weren't able to circle the Island because one half of Catalina was still low IFR.
That said from what we were able to see of the Island on the flight out (after the obligatory Buffalo burger at the restaurant there), there were more obvious signs of the fire that raged over the Island a few weeks prior (although the Island's vegetation did look a bit sparse like I'm pretty sure it was before)

The flight back to SMO was uneventful, and so was the flight back to PAO, in nice VFR conditions each time. Oh, and Rob did a great job flying the plane on the way back (and he gets credit for the a few of the pictures)

The rest of the pictures are here

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