Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:26 pm

Hello everyone,

This is my first time writing a trip report so bear with me!

On June 2nd two classmates and I made the trip down to John Wayne Airport (KSNA) all the way from Calgary-Springbank Airport (CYBW) in a Cessna 172 (S model). As part of the curriculum in our Aviation Program, we have to do a US border crossing and to meet the requirements to get a Commercial Pilot's License, it is necessary to do a cross country flight to a destination that is a 300nm or more radius from the departure airport. This trip was meant to accomplish all of that for everybody on board. Weeks of planning went into this successful trip. It was a huge learning experience and an absolute blast! I'll split this report into two parts. Part 1 will cover the trip to LA and Part 2 will cover the flight back.
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Day 1
June 2nd
Springbank (CYBW) - Spokane (KGEG) - Redmond (KRDM) - Klamath Falls (KLMT) - San Carlos (KSQL)
Departure: 0533L
Arrival (KSQL): 1840L
Air time: 10.7 hours
Flight time: 12.0 hours
Alt: 8500 ft
Reg: C-FSTP

The first flight of the day was to Spokane International to clear US customs. This was the flight that caused the most nervousness. Because of our work schedules, we could only make the trip work if we left on the weekend. This was an issue since customs in Spokane is only open Monday to Friday. The 24 hour ones were all well away from the great circle route so they were a non-starter for poor college students! We organized an off hour appointment time with customs in Spokane. They were very clear over the phone that if we were late we'd be SOL so we gave ourselves a lot of buffer time and hoped for the best. We ended up making it 20 minutes early so it all worked out. The friendly CBP officer showed up not a minute early nor late. After about 20 minutes we were all cleared to enter the US. We started up the plane again and made a quick taxi to the Signature FBO to grab some fuel before continuing south to Redmond, OR. For the first three legs, the plan was for me to sit in the back and then I was pilot in command for the last leg into San Francisco. I apologize in advance for some of the blurry photos. The back seat was not super conducive to clear pictures with all of the bumps.

Leaving YBW bright and early at 0530..
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Departing off of Runway 17 to the south before turning west towards Canmore/Banff
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Following the Trans-Canada highway into the Rockies at 8500 ft.
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South of the Kooteney Crossing about to turn right to follow the Banff-Windermere Highway through this valley to enter the Columbia Valley over Radium Hotsprings.
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The Columbia Valley looking to the NW
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To the south...
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Short video I took of the valley. It was beautiful..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4fJPOL5Zbw

Cranbrook Airport (CYXC)
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The US-Canada border. We had to do a bit of circling before crossing as we had a bit of trouble getting in contact with US ATC. About 10 mins later, we were cleared to cross.
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Some views over Washington state
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My classmate following the ILS RWY21 perfectly into KGEG
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Some cool traffic at the international including a Mad-dog
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Holding short for an Embraer before departing off of 21 for Redmond. This flight was easily the most boring of all the flights. It was nothing but endless farmer fields and the odd crop circles until we made our way further west. It felt like flying over Alberta. We did get decently close to Mount Hood which was neat.
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Mount Hood
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Got to park behind a cool Dassault Falcon at the FBO in Redmond. We felt like Royalty at this place. Free coffee and snacks :D
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Took a video of the taxi into the FBO. Felt so out of place. (Apologies for the vertical filming)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpWITXg-F88

The next stop was to Klamath Falls. We could've made it direct to San Francisco from Redmond, but to count this flight as the 300nm x-country, my classmate had to make an additional stop since it's required to make 3 full stop landings and shutdown each time. ATC told us to go to the run-up bay and we just switched seats there and got the plane started up and took off to San Carlos airport (KSQL). I didn't get many pictures on the flight to KLMT because I took a nap. I was the one flying next and after 9 hours of flying, I figured it would be a good idea to be well rested.

Descending over Klamath Falls. It looked like they tried to be Hollywood with the big sign, but they had budget cuts or something and only got the K up on the hill. :lol:
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On approach to runway 14 at KLMT
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A handful of F-15's on the ramp
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The next flight to KSQL was quite interesting. The scenery was really cool and the air traffic in the Bay area was not something that any of us were used to. It was quite overwhelming. The approach into San Carlos was crazy too. There's 3 major airports and a number of GA airports all around the bay and all the approach paths converged over the area that we had to fly to get to our destination. At one point we had to fly at like 1200' over the water underneath the approach path of 28L/R at KSFO. I highly doubt we were within gliding distance of the shore at times there.

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Mt. Shasta (14179')
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Cool Norcal terrain.. Around this time, Norcal Approach asked us if we had this Lufthansa 747 at our 12 o'clock in sight. It was sure hard to miss! I wish I got a photo of it, but I'm sure it wouldn't have turned out great with my iPhone. I'm pretty sure it had the new livery too.
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The Sonoma Raceway
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Looking south towards downtown SF
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Over Oakland. Just noticed that there was an airliner in the distance. Shows how close we were to the larger traffic!
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All two of my landings in San Carlos :lol: :?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6iBGGltFHU

Shutdown checklist complete. In total we logged 12 hours of flying that day. We were so beat. Thankfully we could walk to the hotel. We freshened up and tried to do a little exploring of San Francisco before heading to sleep. We caught an uber and did the mandatory walk on the Golden Gate bridge and then we grabbed some dinner. That's all we really had the time and energy to do. We wanted to do an Alcatraz tour, but the wait list was 5 months!! :shock:

Saw a Qantas 747 while driving to the Golden Gate. First time for me! Also saw my career goal Cathay Pacific A350 through the fence. The view was too obstructed to take any good pictures though as you can see..
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We caught a beautiful sunset while at the bridge. It was incredibly windy and cold though! Not what I was expecting in California.
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Some blurry pics of downtown SF and Alcatraz from the bridge
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For dinner we went to this Mac and Cheese Restaurant that my classmate was raving about called Mac'd. It was really good, but man did we instantly regret it after :lol:

After dinner we caught the uber back to the Fairfield Inn & Suites by San Carlos airport (was an excellent stay by the way). Everyone else fell asleep, but I was really enjoying driving through the streets of San Francisco at night. It's a beautiful city. I really wish we could've stayed longer. I'll have to come back another time. We had a good sleep and then as soon as we all woke up and got freshened up, I called to file our flight plan and we checked out of the hotel. We walked over to our plane to get it ready for the flight and paid the airport fees and then we blasted off to John Wayne airport (KSNA). This was the only flight for the day and it was my leg (as in I was PIC). Since I started flying, it was on my bucket list to fly between SF and LA in a small plane so it was amazing to finally do so. Despite the busy airspace, it was fairly easy to navigate, especially with flight following. The procedures were simple to understand and it was a pretty seamless flight. In total, the flight time was 3.4 hours.

Day 2
June 3nd
San Carlos (KSQL) - Orange County - John Wayne Airport (KSNA)
Departure: 0921L
Arrival: 1229L
Air time: 3.1 hours
Flight time: 3.4 hours
Alt: 9500 ft
Reg: C-FSTP

We took off on the same runway we landed on, runway 21. We were instructed to do the standard woodside departure which means after turning downwind, we were to continue straight until over Woodside road, then follow that road until out of the busy airspace before proceeding on course. It was a fairly uneventful flight until LA airspace where we were given a bunch of vectors and then we were cleared to cross through class B airspace over KLAX to get to KSNA. We also basically got to do a parallel approach with a Delta 757 at SNA too (they were well behind us until short final when they caught up).

Leaving San Carlos
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The Pacific Ocean
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A little clip of our climb out of San Carlos heading SW bound. Again, apologies for the vertical filming :oops:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkoea6__X_Y

Nothing but water :o
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Over Santa Cruz
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Some enroute scenery
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The San Gabriel Mountains north of LA
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Santa Monica Airport (KSMO). I wish we could've landed there, but it was crazy expensive...
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Downtown LA
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The highlight of the flight... flying over KLAX!
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The Queen Mary
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Looking behind us to the west
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From the Queen Mary, we were told to fly direct to Huntington Beach then over the ATC tower at KSNA to join the left downwind for runway 20L. Our plane really looked out of place on the ramp in KSNA! We were treated like kings at ACI Jet. For any GA pilots out there. I'd definitely recommend that FBO. The entire wall of snacks and drinks was enough for me lol.
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I hope you guys enjoyed this trip report! I'm definitely open to any constructive criticism. I'll upload Part 2 in the next couple of days. This is a lot more work than I thought it would be! :lol:

I'll finish off this report with some average touristy pictures.. :D

First thing's first, we had to go to the In 'N' Out at LAX to watch planes...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtIpmoDt0x0

After we got that out of the way, we went to go visit all the cliche spots...
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Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:07 am

Not sure why I can't edit anymore, but at KSQL we took off and landed on rwy 30, not 21 :lol: :lol:
Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
seven3seven
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:55 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:40 pm

Would have been a much shorter report if you'd put it in San Francisco bay
My views are mine alone and are not that of any of my fellow employees, officers, or directors at my company
 
Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:24 pm

seven3seven wrote:
Would have been a much shorter report if you'd put it in San Francisco bay

Sorry?
Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
Gr8Circle
Posts: 2508
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:28 pm

Very nice TR....great pics....thanks :)
 
Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:24 pm

Gr8Circle wrote:
Very nice TR....great pics....thanks :)

Thanks man! Glad you liked it :)
Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
atsiang
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:40 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:25 pm

Wow, this is very nice trip report! Not something you see regularly. Pictures are amazing and even wish you had even more pictures of your journey from Canada to LA.
 
Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:35 am

atsiang wrote:
Wow, this is very nice trip report! Not something you see regularly. Pictures are amazing and even wish you had even more pictures of your journey from Canada to LA.

Thank you! I’m happy you enjoyed it! There will be a lot more pictures to come in part 2 :)
Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
seven3seven
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:55 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:17 pm

You said yourself you were out of glide range over the water. Ask someone about old and/or bold pilots
My views are mine alone and are not that of any of my fellow employees, officers, or directors at my company
 
Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:50 pm

seven3seven wrote:
You said yourself you were out of glide range over the water. Ask someone about old and/or bold pilots

Yeah I misunderstood and thought you were saying my report was too long or something.

You’re right. We debriefed this with our CFI . We were following the shore for the most part, but about 3-4 miles southeast of San Carlos, Tower gave us a heading instruction for traffic avoidance that put us over the water because there was a twin screaming in behind us who didn’t have visual contact with us. We had foreflight open and our glide ring was just on the beach and we double checked our engine instruments making sure they were were in the green. We also had a wind that pushed us slightly into the shore so we thought we’d be ok with the heading he gave. In hindsight, we should’ve said unable though and let ATC figure out a solution, but there was a number of factors in play, including some human factors. We were new to the area and their standard procedures, atc spoke so fast (compared to what we were used to) that we didn’t want to interfere with his flow, we didn’t want to get eaten up by a twin who still didn’t see us at that point hence the heading given to us, we figured that the controller knew the big picture better than us given the complex and busy airspace, and we definitely had a bit of get-there-itus after sitting in a Cessna for 12 hours (Air Canada HD economy has nothing on us). It was definitely not the safest decision, but we lived and we certainly learned about it.
Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
Chemist
Posts: 333
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:46 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:52 pm

Regarding the weather in San Francisco, there is the famous quote attributed (falsely) to Mark Twain “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

Regarding bold pilots and flying over water. Yes, traffic is heavy in California. There are quite a few places where ATC is going to route you over water and there is not a lot you are going to do about it other than having life vests in the plane. For example, the typical departure from Santa Barbara on the 15s is to send you out over the water, about a mile offshore before you can turn and resume navigation. I'm sure it is similar in the very crowded airspace of the Bay Area.
 
Redwood839
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:26 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:17 pm

Great Trip Report! I do something once a year kinda similar but the other way around. I fly from KWHP to 65S and back. I love that place.

The LA area can get very busy with planes but thankfully everyone knows what they're doing, and SOCAL and LA Center are usually great with giving flight following.
 
andymartin
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:57 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:24 am

Fab pics, superb report. Just one thing, why are crops grown in circles??
 
wntex
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:54 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:59 pm

Great report! Nice to see a change to a GA trip report. Good job with the details, photos, and navigating safely.
"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now." -Zig Ziglar
 
Speedalive
Topic Author
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:39 am

Redwood839 wrote:
Great Trip Report! I do something once a year kinda similar but the other way around. I fly from KWHP to 65S and back. I love that place.

The LA area can get very busy with planes but thankfully everyone knows what they're doing, and SOCAL and LA Center are usually great with giving flight following.

Thanks! Sounds like a fun trip! I found the LA area to be super organized and I always had an idea about what ATC would want. San Francisco on the other hand... :mrgreen: If I were to do this again, I would stop a lot more frequently. It's far too long to be sitting in a 172 for practically 2 days straight.

andymartin wrote:
Fab pics, superb report. Just one thing, why are crops grown in circles??

Thanks Andy! I have no idea. I think it's just a more efficient method to water the crops?

wntex wrote:
Great report! Nice to see a change to a GA trip report. Good job with the details, photos, and navigating safely.

Thank you wntex! Glad you enjoyed it :)
Aircraft flown:
i) in the front seat: Z42, C172, C182, C240, PA34, TBM9;
ii) as pax: BE20, LJ35, DH8A/C/D, DC93, E190, A319/20/21, B736/7/8, B762/3
 
crownvic
Posts: 2208
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:52 am

Great report...I spent a lot of time in the 172 back in my Embry-Riddle days... Great story, I enjoyed the LAX overflight (where is Sam Chui ?) LOL
Thanks for posting.
 
Redwood839
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:26 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:14 pm

Speedalive wrote:
Redwood839 wrote:
Great Trip Report! I do something once a year kinda similar but the other way around. I fly from KWHP to 65S and back. I love that place.

The LA area can get very busy with planes but thankfully everyone knows what they're doing, and SOCAL and LA Center are usually great with giving flight following.

Thanks! Sounds like a fun trip! I found the LA area to be super organized and I always had an idea about what ATC would want. San Francisco on the other hand... :mrgreen: If I were to do this again, I would stop a lot more frequently. It's far too long to be sitting in a 172 for practically 2 days straight.


Agreed. I used to X-Country to Vashon Island off Seattle in a 182 from KWHP and by the time I got off the plane I actually hated flying. Different scenario in the Mooney now, so much quicker and comfortable.
 
klm672
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 1999 6:09 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:02 am

Great pictures, thank you!
 
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DL747
Posts: 799
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:57 am

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:24 am

Lovely report! Nice to see the Bay Area from the air, and I concur Eastern Oregon is deathly boring. You beat me to the Sonoma track by about two weeks; I was there for the NASCAR event. (No I am not a redneck, nor am I a hick, or a racist, nor do I wear a stained tank top. Ok I think I covered all the cliches lol).
Hey, thanks for stopping by! My photos can be found here: https://www.airliners.net/search?user=17 ... lay=detail
 
EAR111pt2
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:31 pm

This is something that we need more of! GA trip reports. Eastern Washington/Oregon is ok scenery wise, nothing like out in the western parts of those states. The letter on the hill is a common sight in the Western US. It represents the town or a local college (Western State in GUC, as an example-GO MOUNTAINEERS!). Looks like a fun trip to SoCal was had by all.
 
cschleic
Posts: 1520
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 10:47 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:35 am

Speedalive wrote:
Redwood839 wrote:
Great Trip Report! I do something once a year kinda similar but the other way around. I fly from KWHP to 65S and back. I love that place.

The LA area can get very busy with planes but thankfully everyone knows what they're doing, and SOCAL and LA Center are usually great with giving flight following.

Thanks! Sounds like a fun trip! I found the LA area to be super organized and I always had an idea about what ATC would want. San Francisco on the other hand... :mrgreen: If I were to do this again, I would stop a lot more frequently. It's far too long to be sitting in a 172 for practically 2 days straight.

andymartin wrote:
Fab pics, superb report. Just one thing, why are crops grown in circles??

Thanks Andy! I have no idea. I think it's just a more efficient method to water the crops?

wntex wrote:
Great report! Nice to see a change to a GA trip report. Good job with the details, photos, and navigating safely.

Thank you wntex! Glad you enjoyed it :)


On the crops, yes, pivot irrigation. You don't have to move around a lot of pipes, etc.

Great trip report! That was quite the flying adventure. Good details and photos. Having lived in both western Oregon and the Bay Area, it was great to see all the familiar airports and nearby sights from the air. And flying in and out of Redmond (RDM) is beautiful...very volcanic landscape. Well done.
 
77H
Posts: 1090
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:27 pm

Re: San Francisco & LA from Canada in a C172 - Part 1

Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:05 am

Chemist wrote:
Regarding the weather in San Francisco, there is the famous quote attributed (falsely) to Mark Twain “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

Regarding bold pilots and flying over water. Yes, traffic is heavy in California. There are quite a few places where ATC is going to route you over water and there is not a lot you are going to do about it other than having life vests in the plane. For example, the typical departure from Santa Barbara on the 15s is to send you out over the water, about a mile offshore before you can turn and resume navigation. I'm sure it is similar in the very crowded airspace of the Bay Area.


When I was doing my long XC for my private cert at ASU I chose Carlsbad, CA. I was also routed about 2 miles out over the Pacific before being asked to do 360 loop back over the coast. Luckily I was allowed to climb to 3500.

77H

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