Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Flying with the daughter

Not me, this time. This is a tale of a trip undertaken by a recently retired F-18 pilot and his daughter, banging around California in a rented Cessna 172.

Here's just a taste:

Beat the weather with a good half hour to spare. Filed for our old hometown at Hanford, but ended up stopping for gas at Bakersfield Meadows, having tried and failed to land at the muni airport on the south side of town after working the fuel/distance math and realizing we could make the last leg home undramatic. Winds 130 at 17 gusting to 30 at the muni, and not quite sure we wouldn’t crash on the first attempt. Discretion being the better part of valor with precious cargo, we retraced our steps and found the runway at Meadows more nearly into the wind. It’s alarming how much a light aircraft can get beat around.

Courtesy car for lunch, a quick turn on the ramp and we were on our way.

It turns out that the Sierras stab straight through the direct course from Fresno to Los Angeles. Which is something I’d never quite noticed before, from 27,000 feet. Climbed all the way to 9500 feet (!) before finding that we couldn’t stay up there until we’d burned some fuel down. Took a hard look at the hard terrain in every direction. Got the hell beat out of us crossing the mountains, what with all that high pressure air rushing to fill the low pressure boundary to the north. Told my daughter to cinch up her seat belts, it was about to get rough. She did, and promptly fell asleep.

That’s trust. Or innocence, maybe.

Read the whole thing:

Part 1
Part 2


  1. I'm a daily reader over at Lex's place, and I loved the first three or so paragraphs in part one. The way he describes the 172 in the begining is hilarious, but true. About half my time (a whopping 40 hours) is in the 172 and I love it. A good plane and a great story!

  2. yep you turned me on to lex for which i must say a big thanks.