|2006/02/12 Flying weekend / Mammoth Flight|
π 2006-02-12 21:45 by Merlin in Flying, Snow
Since I hadn't gone flying in a while, and the conditions looked bad for snowboarding, I used the weekend to keep up my flighing skills.
Saturday, I did a couple of different flights in an Cutlass (Cessna 172RG) to work towards my complex rating (variable pitch propeller and retractible gear), and those went reasonably all right considering that I was not super awake and sharp.
For sunday, I had decided to go to the mountains anyway, and did my reconnaissance flight to Mammoth lakes. Getting there can be tricky since you really have to worry about winds and the direction they're blowing (since they can induce tumbling downdrafts and smack your airplane down the face of the mountain faster than you can climb out of it)
Turns out sunday had the best weather you could possibly get: calm and reasonably cold (cold = better plane performance).
I ended up landing at Mariposa-Yosemite/O68/KMPI , then crossed to the other side of Mammoth and landed close to the ski resort ( KMMH ), checked out the airport, and then went north for the scenic Mono lake which I hadn't seen in a while ( Lee Vining O24 )
The flight itself ended up being fairly easy and the only time I was slightly nervous was when heading up the closed HWY 120 from Mono Lake while still climbing to 12500 feet at a respectable 3-400 ft/mn: this was the first time that I was nervous seeing peaks around me instead of under me. I'll take that as a healthy fear :)
All in all, I was very happy to have Einar, our CFI, in the plane, as I felt it was good to have a second opinion or someone making sure I wasn't making any bad decisions. Outside of my so-so performance with radio calls, things went all right.
I should also mention the backup photographer in the back seat who took great pictures when not sleeping on the job or not too jittery due to too much caffeine or overindulging with a 10x zoom :)
(actually those pictures below are quite nice and steady)
You can also look at the rest of the Mammoth Flight Pictures