Lesson 40 - Monday July 5th
Very Nice lesson today. We flew to Camarillo and back, and I don't think I made any majoy screw-ups.
Nice weather, and a little busy, as it's a public Holiday for 4th of July. We head up the coast first to Malibu, as Craig wants to check that his mother's house is not in danger from the wildfires which were raging around that area, but when we get there, no fires are in sight.
Craig basically said before we took off: "Take me to Camarillo". I'd been there before one with Tanya, so I knew the basic procedure. I said we could either follow the freeway, or track the VOR.
We end up doing both, after Malibu, we head inland, and once past the Santa Monica Mountains, I tune to CMA (Camarillo) VOR. Check the Morse code beeps, and then twiddle the knob until the needle centers, then fly the indicated heading (due west). I follow this for a while, then Craig tells me to just follow the freeway (the 101), as it sets you up better for landing.
Thousand Oaks is quite recognizable for the cluster of lakes, especially Westlake Village, where I used to live, so I could se quite well exactly where I was. I even managed to identify a couple of hilltops from the contours on the map. Plus, the freeway is pretty hard to miss.
At Thousand Oaks, I'd already got the ATIS, so I call in to CMA, tell them I'm at TO, they tell me to report at the Canejo Grade, which luckily I'm also familiar with, it's the big grade where the 101 descends from the mountains to the flat farmland around Camarillo.
So I report, descend, land not unreasonably badly, taxi off (which is a new thing for me, we did a touch-and-go with Tanya). Craig was basically doing a check-out flight, so I can fly there solo eventually (although I'm not sure if I'll have to fly there again with him after I solo), so he pointed out the fuel ramp, and the run-up area.
We taxied and held short, took off for a left downwind departure, and Craig suggested we practice transitioning the Van Nuys airspace. So we fly back along the 101, and around Woodland Hills I call Van Nuys and ask for the transition along the 101 to the 405. They give us a squawk, and as we fly along we get a few traffic advisories.
Then up and over the Sepulveda pass. There is some traffic, a Cessna ahead of us, also landing at SMO, so we angle off to the east a bit to give him room to land ahead of us, then turn in final as he's landing.
The landing goes reasonably. There was a bit of a crosswind, which I don't correct for very well, and I end up landing a bit wheel down, but actually quite smoothly. All is well. I felt very happy with the trip, and it seems quite plausible that I could do it again all by myself.
I'm off in Philly for a week, and when I get back, Craig says we will focus on going solo.
(c) 2004 Mick West