Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Palo Alto/Bay Tour C172 Video

5 minute video of my Bay tour out of Palo Alto -

ATC clips were taken from
Radar plots were taken from
SFO noise monitoring website.

Palo Alto C172 Flight

After waiting for many months, my business trip finally went ahead The weather sucked most of the week whilst I attended my conference. Temperatures in the mid 50's, cloudy, some drizzle and wind. Reminded me of a summer's day in England!

I woke up on Sunday 28th Febuary to a clear blue sky. We arrived at the airfield to discover that the aircraft hadn't returned from the previous flight. After a short tour of the airfield grounds admiring the other aircraft, N84695 arrived. We walked over to the fuel pumps to start the pre flight. I was very impressed with how my pilot for flight prepped the airplane. He performed a very methodical pre- flight inspection.

During the preflight, ATC switched from RWY 13 back to the preferred direction RWY31. By the time we started her up, there was already a backlog at the holding point for 31. After a few minutes waiting we were cleared to line up behind a Citabria (N59WD).

Our planned departure was to take off on 31, climb to approx 1500' QNH on runway heading and turn west towards the mountains >2500'. We then planned to route to the Golden Gate bridge via Half Moon Bay and north under the SFO Class Bravo. Shortly after rolling out on a heading of 270 in the climb to 2500' we could see a layer of low cloud lingering over Half Moon Bay. We turned north and continued a climb to 3500'. On contact with NORCAL , we were cleared through the left side of the SFO Class Bravo. At this point I was at the controls and for the first time in my short life as a student pilot I had to nail the heading and height requests passed on from ATC. Whilst transitioning the Bravo, I got a great look at the traffic heading into and out of SFO. Departures were on 01L/01R and landing on 28L/28R.

We were then cleared to continue VFR onto the Golden Gate Bridge and Alactraz which was fun. For the return back to home plate, we planned to head down the coast towards Half Moon Bay, but the low cloud had not cleared. NORCAL advised us to contact SFO Tower for another Class Bravo transition. We were subsequently cleared through the Bravo with the request to keep highway 101 on our left. Any closer would mean infringing SFO traffic.

After passing the lake at "Slack" we were advised to contact San Carlos tower. There was then a mix up with our squawk code. We had changed back to 1200 VFR, but ATC wanted us to remain on 0375. We soon rectified the problem, but I learnt about how ATC can be pretty straight to the point when talking to you.

San Carlos passed us back to Palo Alto tower. Appeared to be at least four other aircraft in the circuit, but we managed to fit in a touch and go before coming to a full stop.

All in all it was a great adventure me. It's everything I thought it would be. I enjoyed the sightseeing. Most of all I enjoyed the chance to be in some busy airspace close to an international airport.

My sincere thanks to TR for taking me flying.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Waiting ages for a bus

There is a saying in the U.K. "you wait ages for a bus then three come along". I had only once before seen an Airbus A380 from a distance prior to the 21st February.

When I recently departed for California on a business trip from the U.K. onboard Speedbird Two Eight Five (BAW285), I saw three A380's Airbuses depart Heathrow whilst we were taxing from Terminal 5 to runway 27L.

First I saw an Emirates A380 rotate and then as we approached the active runway, I caught sight of a Sinagpore followed by Qantas A380. The Qantas bus departed from interection N2E and we lined up behind via N1.

I managed to capture a video of the Qantas bus departing 27L ahead of our flight. Apologies, the video quality is not brilliant.

My flight to the US ended up with a foggy, damp landing on 19L at SFO.

Next up in the blog is my Bay trip report from my C172 flight out of Palo Alto.