Just some stuff I want to share with you

Posts in category Holiday

Holiday: the small gap in your schedule where you don’t visit the office to do your work…

Bridge… What bridge?

I think this is the best day of our flying tour. We stopped at nice places and we’ve seen things that I thought we would never get close to.

While loading up our plane, we saw the new Cessna 162 SkyCatcher; this is airplane was recently introduced to the market. It’s not yet available in Europe I think. It’s a small 2 seater aircraft; very basic but with a glass cockpit. The stick is a bit special. It moves from side to side in order to control the ailerons. According to the owner, that’s something that looks strange, but works great. Nice plane, but not for me… It’s too small, too light. I really like the 182 we’re flying during this tour. It’s got a great engine; enough power to take 3 people, a lot of luggage and still allows for enough fuel to fly for at least 3 hours.

We’re on route to Murray Field, but before going there, we will make a detour to see mount Shasta. Today’s tracks will bring us back to the coastline and therefore we need to fly over the mountain range between us and the coast. The weather is good; visibility perfect and the wind isn’t very strong. Good conditions to cross these high hills.

Then we follow the coast to another beautiful airport: Shelter Cove. This is a place where people that can afford it, have their second, third or fourth house. They come here to play golf or just relax. And that’s all that you can do here…

We were just in time for the weekly farmer’s market.

After some fish and chips at the local “restaurant”, we pottered around before taking of for the next stop.

We filmed the departure of “Team Slow”; right on the centerline at hole whatever of the golf course. I can’t imagine doing something like that at an airport in Europe… It’s great to fly in the US!

On to Sonoma; another stop to stretch the legs.

Next stop: Half Moon Bay. This is where we will say goodbye to Marianne and Henk; they will spend a few days in San Francisco and this airport Is the perfect stop to take a taxi to their hotel. On our way to the field we had the opportunity to fly along the bay area. Here’s the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

Here’s Alcatraz.

And the world famous Golden Gate Bridge.

It still amazes me that we are allowed to fly here. This is one of the biggest cities of the USA; there’s a big airport nearby and the bridge must be one of the most protected locations in this country. But there we are at a 1000 feet over it… It’s a big place…

The G1000 is extremely helpful when navigating this area with all its different airspaces. Another nice feature: TIS or Traffic Information Service; it shows aircraft that are close to you. Have a look at the screen:

Time to say goodbye to Marianne and Henk and get out of here. We’re running out of time and the fog is coming in. On our last track to Monterey it’s strange to see the fog over the ocean and touching land. It’s difficult to distinguish land and water. We made it just in time to Monterey; both from a daylight as a fog point of view.

We ended this very pleasant day in a nice restaurant at the pier. As stated in the beginning of this post: this was the best flying day so far. The views, the weather, even the landings; everything was just perfect.

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures and the tracks of today:

Going North…

Today we will do our most Northern track of the tour. We started our day by flying to Placerville. There’s nothing at this place, it’s just a stop to stretch the legs and have a drink.

We then moved on to Sacramento Executive for lunch. We (Jeroen, Niels and I) stopped at Red Bluff; “Team Slow” didn’t stop at this airport, since it would take too much time. The “Fast Boys” didn’t stop here either; they took a slightly different track. It’s the benefit of a faster plane; you can get to places a bit faster and therefore cover more miles in a day.

The last stop of the day is at Benton/Redding.

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures and the tracks of today (track between Placerville and Sacramento Executive is missing. I don’t have an idea why…):

It’s a special day!

We started flying today at 10:10 and the date is 10-10-2010… No, it wasn’t planned, it just happened and it’s going to be a special day. Just read on.

The first stop of today is Barstow – Dagget; a small airfield in the middle of nowhere. It’s just a stop to relax; have a drink and then move on. There are so many fields like this in the US. Their in the middle of nowhere; have hardly any services (besides fuel, coffee and a toilet), but there’s always people around to “manage” the field. Like at this place: there are 2 men in the “office building” to manage this airport. Strange…

The next stop is Mojave. It’s in the middle of the Mojave dessert; an ideal place when you want to work on stuff that you don’t want a lot of people to see. Strange and wonderful things happen at this airport. There are numerous companies working on all sorts of new aircraft and technology.

You can’t see a thing, until you walk into the local restaurant. Here we met Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan. Yeah right, you think… Lex just asked him if we could take a picture. Not a problem at all. Great guy; that’s the way to do it. Unfortunately, Burt already left otherwise he probably would also have joint the photo session.

So, why would Richard Branson be here on 10-10-2010? Well, we found out after looking at one of his websites: www.virgingalactic.com. This is one of the things that happen at this airport. We were just a few hours too late, otherwise we may have had unique pictures…

The next hops brought us to Bakersfield and we ended our day at Mariposa-Yosemite; a small town close to Yosemite national park. This is another beautiful airport to fly into. The scenery is fantastic and the airport is slightly upslope which makes it even greater to land at.

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures and the tracks of today:

Viva Las Vegas

We’re having a “day off”; so no flying today. Well even when we planned to go for a flight, most of the pilots were not capable of doing so after last night…

I pottered around with Niels. After walking from the Stratosphere (which is at one end of the boulevard) to the MGM (which is at the other end), we went back with the monorail.

We bought tickets for the Cirque du Soleil show KÀ at the MGM Grand. I think it’s one of the best performances I ever saw! It’s an amazing combination of performance, sound, light and technology. Visit it when you have the opportunity!

After all that excitement, we looked at the outdoor shows and ended up at the hotel just before midnight.

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures of today.

Hey, there’s a big hole in the ground…

It’s hard to believe that the weather in the San Diego region is still poor. We’re having the best flying conditions one can imagine. After an American breakfast (yeah right…) it was time to move on again. Just after takeoff at Page, we overflew this nice scenery.

We’re in the “Grand Canyon” region. Everyone knows the tourist spots at the canyon, but there are far more similar locations. Just have a look at the pictures.

Lex and Max finally managed to orchestrate a nice “fly-by”.

We are on route to Grand Canyon National Park. This is the airport where all the helicopter rides over the canyon start. It’s extremely busy in the sky and we have to make sure that we follow the instructions. When we are on the base leg for landing, the helicopters pass below us! There are no facilities on the airport, but there is a small area nearby for lunch. This is also the place where you can find the IMAX theatre. We didn’t visit it, but I did a few years back and they show a very nice movie about the Grand Canyon; visit it when you’re here!

After lunch it was time to move on to another airport in the area: Grand Canyon West. It’s a great airport to fly to. The airport is more or less at the edge of the canyon. On our way over, we have magnificent views. This landscape is amazing.

Once you’re on the ground, fun is over. There’s nothing at this airport at all. It’s here to bring tourists in or to execute a scenic flight over the canyon. That’s it. It’s also the starting point for a short bus tour. The tour will bring you to 3 different points where you can overlook the canyon.

At one of these points you can visit the Sky Walk; a construction with a glass floor over the edge of the canyon.

Having looked at all these nice sceneries, it’s time to move on to the place of all sins: Las Vegas! It’s getting late and the sun is getting at its lowest positions. The windscreen or our plane is extremely scratched and having the sun right in our face makes it very difficult to see. By the time when we are over Las Vegas, we’re asked to “report when Stratosphere in sight”. The Stratosphere (see picture: it’s the pointy one on the left/bottom side) is the tallest tower in Las Vegas, but we couldn’t see it until the point where we almost passed it… From that point onwards it was just a short flight into Last Vegas North.

It took some time to book a hotel room; it’s Friday and almost every rooms seems to be booked. We ended up in the Stratosphere hotel (yep the one that is part of the big tower). After another great day of flying, we ended up in the Stratosphere restaurant. The restaurant is located almost at the top of the tower and rotates; you’re having a good view on the whole city while having dinner.

After dinner it was time to get out and “do Vegas”. Due to the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” rule, I can’t tell you anymore…

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures and the tracks of today: