Lesson 56 - Monday Sept 23rd
A Paso Robles Mission
So today Craig says we are to go to Paso Robles, since it's the shortest and narrowest runway around these parts, but also because an ex-student of his, Ian, who need to pick up his plane.
I chat a bit with Ian while waiting for Craig to finish with his previous student. Ian tells me that the checkride is not really particularly hard, and the examiner does give you a bit of slack for non-fatal mistakes.
Off we go, in 8074T, right turn at the shoreline, then along a bit. We climb REALLY slowly, we don't make 1000 feet until the coastline. It's the extra weight, plus the heat gives us a higher density altitude, so less power (hot air is less dense, so you get less oxygen in each intake).
Eventually we start tot rack the Fillmore VOR, which is only recently back in service after being destroyed by a brush fire last year. That goes reasonably well, until I get distracted, but we manage to keep on track.
Eventually I see the VOR, and having looked on the map, I can see the town of Paso Robles, which is not on the way to anywhere, it's an old town though, had a famous Hotel built there in 1891, by some hot springs (Agua Caliente).
Anyway, it's a stunningly clear day, and I don't have any problem finding the airport. It's uncontrolled, so I have to make announcements. Luckily someone else is there ahead of us, and we discern the active runway is 22.
We cross midfield, and descend into the left downwind for 22. TPA is 900 feet. The runway is really very narrow.
Craig takes over the radio announcements, as I get a bit confused about what to say, so I can just fly the plane.
As I turn base, I see a hawk, just hovering slightly below us, and off to the left, so we are turning around it. I stare at it for a few moments too long, and looks track of the airspeed which drops to 65 kts. Craig helpfully points this out, and I stick some power in, and drop the nose slightly until we get back the speed.
Then we are on final, there is no VASI/PAPI, and it's a narrow runway, so I get a bit confused as to what height I'm at. But with a bit of the usual adjustments, I land the plane, not too bumpy either.
We drop Ian off, and the it's back to runway 22, and takeoff. I forget to announce we are taxiing. I need to pay more attention at uncontrolled airports, as I've not been to very many.
On the takeoff roll, we are at about 40 kts when Craig's door pops open (there is actually only one door, on the passenger side). He must have not latched it fully shut. But he just tells me to "carry on", so I up and take off. Now we'd been doing a "short field" takeoff, so I had 25 degrees of flaps in, but the opening door, and craig's subsequent attempts to close it distract me, so I'm climbing even slower than last time, but with less weight. I'm confused, but the plane is flying, so I just carry on.
Craig finally gets the door shut, and tells me to raise the flaps, and we carry on our merry way, tracking the SMO VOR home.
On the way back Craig tells me that Ian is actually Ian Copeland, the famous music promoter and one of the Copeland brothers (Stuart and Miles being the others). That's two famous rockers this year so far.
Landing at SMO is uneventful.
(c) 2004 Mick West