Sunday, January 15, 2012

Short Flight Fun

After two days of cross countries, I expected yesterday's flight to be relatively boring. My flight was to fly my hubby up to Livermore Airport (LVK) so he use the gift certificate for an hour of aerobatic flying I gave him for his birthday. Livermore is relatively close to Reid-Hillview (RHV) and I was expecting a very brief and uneventful flight for myself. I was wrong.

The weather was perfect for flying and, being Saturday, everybody wanted to get into the action. RHV was hopping. There were five airplanes in the run up area for 31R, three planes behind me on Zulu and another two planes on Yankee. The planes in the run up were pointed all kinds of directions and there was limited room. After about 15 minutes of waiting and jockeying for position we got through our run up and cleared to take off.

Less than 10 minutes later I made my call to Livermore tower over the Sunol Golf Course. The skies were very busy there too. There was a Grumman about 500' overhead inbound for LVK and another plane off our 3 o'clock at the same altitude. The tower told me to maneuver to follow the Grumman for 25L. I immediately slowed the plane down to about 85 knots. Jeff suggested I should fly S-turns as well to give the Grumman more space. I'd never done S-turns before but I quickly got the hang of it.  I was told I was #3 for 25L (out of 5 planes coming in for the same runway).  My S-turns and slow flying worked and the Grumman had plenty of room to land and taxi clear of the runway before I was on short final.

After we taxied over to Attitude Aviation where Jeff's lesson was going to be held I was really happy. Dealing with the busy confusion at RHV and then the congestion coming in to LVK was a lot of fun for me. I remembered how much fun I had one time coming back to RHV with my CFI when things got so busy for the tower they told all other aircraft to just stay out of the airspace. This experience was very similar.

Jeff had a blast doing his acrobatic flight in a Great Lakes bi-plane. I got to wander around Attitude Aviation's hangars and check out the cool planes they had there. These guys definitely had some great toys.

On the way back to RHV things were still pretty busy. As we turned towards Calaveras and home we heard the following conversation on the radios:

Livermore Tower: N123, traffic 2 o'clock, same altitude.
N123: Traffic in sight, what should I do? 
Livermore Tower: It's a big sky, N123. Just don't hit that traffic. 

Jeff and I laughed and laughed. Yes, it is a big sky... sometimes it can get a little crowded though :)

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