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A Scotsman and an Englishman in “The Glens of LA”

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A Scotsman and an Englishman in “The Glens of LA”

Old 11th Mar 2015, 01:23
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A Scotsman and an Englishman in “The Glens of LA”

At the beginning of March, I saw a post from piperboy84 that indicated he was in “The Glens of LA” and not in Angus. Since I was in Santa Monica, I contacted him to see if we could meet for a beer. It turned out to be lunch at the appropriately named (but not very good) Spitfire Grill, adjacent to Santa Monica airport.

Having discovered that, in spite of our different heritages, we were mutually compatible , he agreed to take me for a tour of the Los Angeles basin in a 172.

We met at Justice Aviation on Friday, did the pre-flight, taxied out, did our run-up, obeyed the signs as much as possible:


waited for departing and arriving traffic:




and then took off over "Harrison Ford’s Golf Course” - his Ryan had been removed that morning, the day after the accident:


We did a climbing right 270° over Santa Monica:




to arrive at 3500’ over SMO for the Special VFR Route over the top of LAX. The lower level Mini Route, where you have to talk to LAX Tower was closed, because the SMO VOR was out of service. The Special VFR Route has a dedicated Squawk code and traffic frequency, which you use to make blind position reports, but no clearance is required. Imagine that over LHR!


A nice view of the new Bradley International Terminal:


Heading south from LAX. Torrance Airport is in the middle distance and the Palos Verde hills beyond. Catalina Island is on the horizon. Torrance is home to the Robinson Factory and is officially Zamperini Field, named after the hero of the movie “Unbroken”:


We reached the coast and turned east over the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. This is a very high-density traffic area. There have been several mid-airs here:


and then we said hello to the Queen Mary (note the Foxtrot Class sub by her bow and the dome that once housed the Spruce Goose), before heading northeast towards Fullerton:


On the way to Fullerton, we flew at 2800' over the top of the Long Beach and Los Alamitos Class D zones (snow on Mt. Baldy 10,064’, in the San Gabriel Mountains at the top left):


and then landed at Fullerton (note the VASIs are showing pb84 is slightly high, but given the obstacles in the undershoot, I would class that as good airmanship!


To be continued (due to 15 image limit)

Last edited by India Four Two; 11th Mar 2015 at 15:57.
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 01:24
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A Scotsman and an Englishman in “The Glens of LA” Part 2

After we discovered that the Fullerton airport cafe, at which we intended to have a coffee, had been closed for a year, we took a short break, started up and headed for home at 1800' (controlled airspace base gets down to 2000' on the LAX extended centre line), via the east side of downtown Los Angeles. About here, a Malaysian 777 flew over the top of us on right base for LAX:


We continued northwards towards the Griffith Observatory (Burbank is beyond the ridge of the Hollywood Hills):


and then turned left past the Hollywood sign:


It was about this point we scared the s**t out of a thermalling California Gull - we missed it by about 10’! Lots of expensive homes down below in the Hollywood Hills:


We then headed for home (Century City and Fox Studios in the foreground):


pb84 is deliberately landing long to avoid an extensive taxy to Justice. Note that there is no grass anywhere on the airport:


Here’s our route:


Thanks to pb84 for a great flight, which apart from the scenic value, has demystified for me, the radio procedures in the Los Angeles area and has made me look very carefully at the airspace configuration and the altitude limits. It was a very useful preamble to the FAA license conversion I’m planning later this year.

We had requested flight following from Socal Approach south of LAX when transiting the very busy training airspace in that area, but that wasn’t absolutely necessary. For the whole flight, the only controllers we HAD to talk to were Santa Monica and Fullerton towers plus blind position reports while transiting the Special VFR Route through the LAX Class B and Class D airspace. Quite remarkable and of course, no landing fees. Not many places for a forced landing either!

1.3 hours - $218 (about £145)!

I would recommend this to anyone visiting Los Angeles. Just phone an FBO ( I can't specify a particular one - that would be advertising ) and tell them you want a dual sight-seeing flight and specify where you want to go. Instead of just flying round the LA Basin, you could fly to Catalina Island for lunch or coffee, or fly up the coast towards Ventura and Santa Barbara

pb84, we’ll have to do it again in Calgary or Angus, not forgetting the beer this time!

Last edited by India Four Two; 11th Mar 2015 at 20:47.
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 07:15
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Excellent report India. Do they have glide clear rules in the US?
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 11:33
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Nice report, thanks
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 11:45
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Good flight. LA airspace looks very complicated, but once you get to know it a little it's really not that bad. It's much, much easier than say San Diego's layered class B airspace for instance. And one could practically fly around the whole LA basin without even having a radio installed if one wanted to.
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 16:48
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thing,

There is no "glide clear" rule. Here are the rules:

91.119 Minimum safe altitudes; general
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere – An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) Over congested areas – Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open-air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 17:02
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Ta. Hard to tell from photographs but some of those areas looked pretty well 'urban'!!
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 18:10
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Great photographs, and great report. Looks like you two had fun. Done it a few times myself, although I rent from Van Nuys. Never yet made it to Catalina, on the bucket list, although, do you not require a check ride to land there?? Might be wrong on that. Anyway makes you wonder what all the fuss is about in the UK.
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 18:23
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Great photographs, and great report. Looks like you two had fun. Done it a few times myself, although I rent from Van Nuys. Never yet made it to Catalina, on the bucket list, although, do you not require a check ride to land there?? Might be wrong on that. Anyway makes you wonder what all the fuss is about in the UK.
Yes I think all FBO/rental places require a Catalina sign off, however in the unlikely event that I pass my CFI check ride next Monday I would be able to sign you off for Catalina when renting from Justice, the hamburgers would be on you !
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 18:59
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Ta. Hard to tell from photographs but some of those areas looked pretty well 'urban'!!
thing,
You are right. Just look at the map - "yellow" equals "urban". If the FAA strictly enforced the rules, there would be no SE GA in the Los Angeles basin.

After leaving Fullerton, pb84 and I were discussing forced landing options. There's always the choice of gaps in the freeway traffic - I figured a nearby, nice straight railway line would be a better option. He preferred the concrete ditch which is the LA River, but there's always the risk of meeting the Terminator on a Harley!

maxred,
Catalina is a must. I did it two years while trying out a Cirrus SR22 at Van Nuys. There was a 'marine layer' all across the channel and the runway (1602' MSL) was perched on a mountain sticking out of the fog.

I can see why a checkout is required though. My instructor told me that the runway was quite rough. Since he didn't know me from Adam and this would have been my first landing in the Cirrus, I readily agreed with his suggestion that he should do the landing. He did let me do the takeoff.

Also, as you can see from the photo below, there is significant potential for "curl over" on the approach:





pb84,
Good luck with the check ride. Will I have to call you "Sir" if you pass?
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 19:48
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Fantastic photos. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th Mar 2015, 21:12
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Yes I think all FBO/rental places require a Catalina sign off, however in the unlikely event that I pass my CFI check ride next Monday I would be able to sign you off for Catalina when renting from Justice, the hamburgers would be on you !
I am sure you will passGladly buy you a hamburger on Catalina, I just need to get myself back to LA. There is a plan......
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Old 13th Mar 2015, 03:05
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Great pictures. I flew out of LAX for years in various Boeings and Airbuses, but never got those views.
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