WOW! What an AWESOME day! Special thanks to Barbara and Eric for their help and coaching and joining us on the flight to ensure this was truly a special day.
We all agree that this went very well and something to have experienced. Would we do it again? We may not be able again in normal conditions for sure. Here are a few excerpts from something I plan to write to submit.
It was a busy flight but we did it! Justin and I in Lucy, Dave and Sam in his Piper, Greg And Jana in his Cessna, Barb and Hannah in the Husky and Eric in the special Skywagon. We met at KCPU just after 0830 and after a weather check we finalized plans for the fight. I had planned on Eric leading and handling the radio communications but the group had other ideas. Yup, you know what happened.
Lucy led the gaggle and Justin and I were the interpreters on the radio. I do mean that literally because to us, we did need to decipher many ‘coded’ communiques, which was the only real challenge of the flight in retrospect. I could not have comfortably done this without his help. He’s a pretty good pilot I must say even if I am his dad. We were very busy in that cockpit. Calling out flaps in the pattern, checking heading/altitudes, speed, frequencies, what a great flight! As you know it is routine for the professional pilots to fly into an international airport but for us Normal private pilots It can be a real challenge. So, not challenging enough, we added a second international airport and then topped it off with a Class Bravo Bay Area Tour as well.
I lost track on how many times we were tossed from one frequency to another. I will keep my scratch pad notes for sure. But, we had a good plan, stuck with it and it went very well. SJC to KOAK on the map looks like KCPU over to Columbia, but it ain’t the same! Memorable phase for sure. Leaving KOAK the chuckles began. Flight following knew we were coming so they made it a little fun for us. As we ‘checked in’ the controller advised incoming flights of our location as 4 Cessnas, one Piper and sang ‘and a Partridge in a pear tree’ to God and everybody on the radio. Cute. Reply by all was we will keep an eye out for the gaggle. It’s in the records.
One introspective I wanted to pass here was our flight level was 1,500’ over the bay and as I observed the SF skyline while Justin had the controls I realized a couple things. We were more than a few stories below the height of a few of those man made pinnacles of the bay and that made me put into my perspective how the traffic worked there. We were all comfortably on our different floors of the big bay box skyscraper, moving about on our way. Looking up one ‘floor’ and down one ‘floor’ were all the other tenets of the sky.
The bay was beautiful yesterday with a layer of white cotton below just low enough to allow a peek of the GG towers to poke thru. Beautiful. Alcatraz, Angel Island, Dave’s alma matter San Quentin off in the distance, Treasure Island and so many other amazing landmarks were a cornucopia of sites to behold. Around the bend and over open water with KHAF in site we headed for our last stop and and took a breath. Man, that was fun. Standing on the tarmac we heard a very familiar roar which brought our eye to Highway 1 and the site of at least 20 McLarens and a number of Audi R8’s. Think of that percentage of the economy racing by.
Then, I got my radio rating from all. Eric was generous and Barb was brutal, but I think I passed. I didn’t make the honor roll but not bad for a back of the class Boy and first time leading a flight. After lunch we decided we didn’t want to traverse back into that primordial soup of the sky and over San Carlos so we headed back north to the Sausalito VOR and over the north bay back to quiet, comfortable KCPU. So very nice to be back on Jumbo and just with friends again.
It is in the log books my friends. We are a fortunate group, aren’t we...