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Training, hours building and first job prospects in America

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Training, hours building and first job prospects in America

Old 23rd Apr 2002, 18:29
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Fabulous account you are giving of your trip to California, Whirly! Unputdownable, so to speak. Enjoy the remainder of your adventure.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 01:38
  #102 (permalink)  

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Tues 23rd April
Flew to Santa Barbara today. Nick, who's here from the UK doing a PPL and about a week off his check ride (Skills Test in UK-speak), decided to come with me, to navigate and generally get experience, and I like having someone to fly with and chat to. We got slightly lost on the freeways, but basically got from Long Beach to the coast via downtown LA, which meant we didn't have to go through anyone's airspace. Then a fantastic trip along the coastline, till we got to Mugu, some military something or other; they weren't allowing anyone in their airspace at all due to an accident over the weekend. Low cloudbase and haze, so couldn't go inland over the hills and didn't fancy 5 miles out to sea, so retraced our steps to better wx, over the mountains at nearly 3000 ft to hit the freeway, followed that, then back by the coast. Got to Santa Barbara, where I was meeting an old friend I've known since I was nine years old, who lives there; last saw her about five years ago. Lunch, long chat, took her husband up for a quick spin; she didn't want to go. Lazed in the sun, then managed to get all the way back along the coast as the Mugu restriction had been lifted. About 300 ft all the way, and the LAX shoreline transition at below 150 ft. Absolutely fantastic, and I can now cope with the radio. 4.2 hours flying, and I'm knackered, but it was a wonderful day.

RW-1, the money tree was an inheritance, which is running out fast, but may just get me to an instructors course, if I work and save a little bit too. After that it's get paid to fly, or maybe do the odd half hour once a month or so. But I don't care; I'm having such fun.

Catalina Island tomorrow, wx permitting. Watch this space.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 02:59
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Thats the spirit Whirly, do it now when you can.

Tomorrow may never come.

Fly safe:

Cat Driver

................
The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no.
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 12:48
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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You'll have to do a top ten list of places to visit when you get chance....

And you've given me an idea for this years summer holiday - not that Mrs. Horn will want to go , but my twin brother is an FE/ATPL(H) and I'm sure he like to go two-up to the US!!

Any photos yet? (not that it sounds like you have a hand free or anything!).

Still jealous.

This serialisation is better than Eastenders...

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Old 24th Apr 2002, 13:39
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Reading this is reminding me of my trip to Long Beach last November. It was mainly a mountain flying course. I did a trip from Long Beach to Palm Springs, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Big Bear and back to Long Beach. Did it in 12 hours in an R22, taught me a heck of allot.

Grand Canyon was a running landing at night and it was great to fly into Las Vegas airport with the controller talking me in. This would never happen at Heathrow.

Big Bear was high altitude training so more running landings and takeoffs.

Catalina is great fun, just make sure you do it 50 foot above the waves. Did it also in a 44 and have some great video footage.

If you get a chance to fly with a Robinson safety pilot, get him to show you some engine failures on takeoff. This was something never taught to me.

By the way, have you got use to flying over Long Beach at 500ft, still scares the hell out of me.

Have fun
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Old 24th Apr 2002, 16:21
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Ok, someone here close to death and rich please add me to their will, I have some serious time to build hehe ....

I promise the $$$ will be well spent, and I'll make sure the finest casket is used for you at the site of your choice if burial is preferred.

Good going whirly. I have $$$ too, just using it for the training though, wouldn't mind getting some turbine later on, seems a person up in Lantana is doing something to the tune of $100 an hour, possible traffic flights, have to check it out ....


Tell us more when you can, if you are not sleeping it all off.
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Old 25th Apr 2002, 00:31
  #107 (permalink)  

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Wed 24th April
Didn't sleep well, too excited after wonderful flight (I'm like a little kid at times), and also had a mild stomach upset (too much lunch in Santa Barbara?). Didn't feel that great in the morning today, but flying to Catalina with Sergio, a CPL with about the same number of hours as me; met him a few days ago here, and he too likes to fly with someone else and chat, so planned to go together. So I figured I'd be safe to fly with someone else along. Had the instrument R22, which I'd never flown, so Sergio flew us out. Nearly didn't go as it was raining!!!!!! Not allowed; this is sunny southern California, not the UK. Having discovered you can phone and get a wx brief and talk to a Real Person, not like in the UK, I now make the most of it. I phoned and said although all TAFS and METARs looked fine, it was raining hard, and did he know anything. He gave me latest reports, of a low to the west, with details of cloubase etc, and it sounded OK - Catalina's only about 30 miles anyway. So Sergio flew us over the ocean to this beautiful island, with a runway on a hill at 1600 ft - slopes at both ends and must be hairy for f/w, as Flying Lawyer pointed out. By the time we got there the sun was shining, and we had lunch looking out over this absolutely beautiful island. Then I flew us back; by now I was feeling better, or I did as soon as I started flying anyway. Managed to get all the radio calls right and land without scaring either myself or Sergio. A good day.

I'm doing an hour's night flying over the city with an instructor tonight, just to see what it's like. Tomorrow I'm going on the Robinson factory tour; I may fly the 0.3 hr to Torrance to save a long drive, other than that I'm having a day off flying; I've done about 42 hours since I've been here and I'm really really tired. But less than a week to go, and so much I still want to do!
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Old 25th Apr 2002, 02:08
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Cool

Hey Whirlybird,

May I ask what your cost have been to achieve the 42 hours of flight time? I am more interested in the average cost per flight hour.

Thanks,

Ruben
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Old 25th Apr 2002, 17:57
  #109 (permalink)  

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Right, I'll try and answer questions etc first...

i2, I haven't worked out the average cost yet; I intend to, at the end. I think I'll find that with the cost of coming over here etc, it'll be about the same as the cost back in the UK. But out of that I've got a free holiday (if an exhausting and stressful one), learned to fly two new helis, got a lot of instruction, learned loads, and had a fantastic time. But I'll give you details later.

Steve, I just LOVE this low level flying - LGB at 500, and the LAX transition at 150. I can't get enough of it! I'm gonna have to be real careful when I get home, where they won't let me do it.

Rotorhorn, I have pics, but not that I can post; don't have a digital camera, sorry. I keep giving my camera to co-pilots, who waste lots of film for me. Top ten places? Nr Fairy may be better for that; he went more places. But I'll do my best, and mine will be different from his I guess.

Wed 24th April (continued)
Did an hour's flying with Kevin, who runs Rotor Aviation (who I highly recommend - better say that; he might read this and it's his PC But I do recommend him, seriously) A tour over LA, across LAX at 1500 ft, shoreline transition past Santa Monica Pier all lighted up, Hollywood, downtown, back to LGB. The city looks beautiful at night. I could have done it alone, but I'd probably have got lost. But these guys have it easy, compared to the night flying I've done - trying not to fly into clouds and hills back home.

Off to Robinson factory tour soon. Avoiding the traffic by flying to Torrance. Tell you all more later.
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Old 25th Apr 2002, 23:03
  #110 (permalink)  

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Thursday 25th April
Just back from Robinson Factory Tour. I thoroughly recommend it. Nice to fly in; you can just park at the back. I rather like this commuting by heli. Torrance is quiet and not at all like LGB; I just told the ATCO I was unfamiliar with the airport and asked him to direct me, and he did. When I came to leave he asked me to hover taxi to taxiway Alpha, and when I asked where it was, an amused voice answered: "Just go back the way you came". Anyway, the factory tour is really interesting; I recommend it. I also managed to buy a special cushion that fits R22 and R44 seats; I've wanted one for ages. I would have got the cushion cheaper if I'd been buying a helicopter; well I was tempted, but...
Got lost on the ten miles or so of concrete jungle back to LGB, but arrived with no major mishaps; just 0.4 hr instead of 0.3.

Spending the rest of the afternoon on PPRuNe, as there's a talk here tonight on helicopter flying by Don Shaffer, who I haven't heard of, but most other people seem to have. So no point in driving back to where I'm staying. A free afternoon on PPRuNe; just like home really.
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Old 25th Apr 2002, 23:17
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for the updates Whirlybird.
So did you try the buffalo burgers at Catalina Airport?
What did you think of the setup at Robinson? Impressive isn't it.
You understandably love the greater freedom the FAA way of doing things gives you. I think it places more responsibility on the pilot to use judgement properly, but at least they treat qualified pilots like qualified pilots capable of making judgements.

Perhaps you could give us your views on the American style of aviating when you get back. Simpler and more sensible low flying rules, perhaps?

Hope you get to San Diego. Low level right down the coast, but watch out for the US Army Apaches on the way!
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 00:24
  #112 (permalink)  

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Heliport,

I'm a vegetarian! However, if it hadn't been for a mild stomach upset I might have tried the buffalo burgers anyway, but I didn't dare.

I was impressed with the Robinson factory, very much so. The woman doing the tours really knows a lot too, especially for someone who doesn't fly. Unfortunately you're not allowed to take pics.

Our low flying rules are really over the top. And the Americans seem to use helicopters as helicopters, whereas the Brits almost use them as substitute aeroplanes.

I'm looking forward to San Diego; any problems with getting through that Restricted area on the coast on the way?
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 08:13
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Heliport - I was just about to say something about the San Onofre restricted area when Whirlybird mentioned it !

It's because ( partially ) of the nuclear power station at San Onofre, but the restriction stops at about ( from memory, Whirly has my charts ) 200' MSL, so as long as the cloud base is OK there's not a problem. Or - and this wouldn't be my option without a lifejacket and contact with some sort of controller - you can avoide it at any height by detouring over the sea about a mile offshore.
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 08:44
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Whirlybird
I had no difficulties.
The only minor problems were holding for quite a long time before the Mil controllers answered VHF calls, and understanding them when they did!
There's a Marine Corps base on the coast at Camp Pendleton. No problems being cleared through when I was there, but they are America’s "9-1-1 Force In Readiness" so you'll need to make sure things haven't changed. Lots of interesting helicopters to see, if you like mil helicopters!
The restricted area is a nuclear power station on the coast line not far from Camp Pendleton. I can't remember the name (San Something!), and I haven't got US charts to hand, but it was no problem at all.

When you speak to the Mil as you approach San Diego, get clearance to fly out to Point Loma (easily identified).
When you get to Point Loma, tell the controller you want to route to Downtown, crossing at the Coronado Bridge. (Enormous bridge you can't miss as a nav point.) The Mil controller obtained clearance for me from San Diego International and then handed me over. SD Int are more helpful than many small UK airfields.) Don't be afraid to explain you're sightseeing, say you want to follow the coastline north and they'll help if they can. The only slight problem is you'll probably have to stay low level. (Don't you just hate that!!! )
You'll see the US Navy mothball fleet at Coronado and the Coronado Hotel, a very distinctive old red rooofed building used by Edward and Mrs Simpson.
As you cross the harbour towards downtown San Diego, the view is stunning and, as you fly back up the coast, you'll fly over a series of beautiful bays.

Some instructors in the LA/Long Beach area will tell you the coastline route to San Diego is too difficult because "like you have to speak to the military and all that". Don't listen to them. It can be done and it's worth it. Southern Cailifornia is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and San Diego is the jewel in the crown.

If you have time to visit San Diego (recommended), then Montgomery Field is the obvious choice but, if you just need fuel, then Palomar a smaller friendly airport on the coast near Carlsbad is much easier than going over to Montgomery which is off route, a major GA airfield and can be very busy.

Woops! Just seen the time. Off to Court.
'Enjoy' as some of our American friends say!

Tudor

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 26th Apr 2002 at 09:18.
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 18:00
  #115 (permalink)  

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Hi Whirly,

Never had any problems or delays through Long Rifle area. First time I went down to San Diego I flew to San Diego International and was routed between the comerical traffic, at one point we were number 3 to a 757 and asked to expedite our approach due to following traffic - a 737!

Only thing I will say is return up the coast in day light! The cliff and mountains are hard t see in the dark - I done it - slowly with landing light on and cliff edge in view all the way to Dana Point! NOT recommended!

Fly safe.
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 18:35
  #116 (permalink)  

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Thanks, Flying Lawyer and pilotwolf.

I was supposed to go to Big Bear today with an instructor, but we have low cloud, rain, and risk of thunderstorms. So the mountains are out, but local stuff is OK. So I'm hoping to persuade another instructor to fly into LAX with me. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 20:24
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Exclamation

Whirlybird,

Just a quick note...

Ever since that "idiot" in Florida commited suicide by smashing his Cessna on a high rise building, the San Diego Bay "tour" into the bay has been banned. The bay goes in to downtown where all of our high rises are so they do not allow GA to fly into the bay now.

Hopefully one of these days they will lift this ban because it is an awesome flight!

Good luck with your flight to San Diego! I was born and raised here so "mi casa es su casa"!

Ruben
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Old 26th Apr 2002, 23:05
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Now that's the word I was looking for when trying to describe the stunning views of your beautiful bay area: Awesome!
I assume you can get close enough to see the bay area and the downtown skyline? Is overhead Coronado permitted?

If you've got any ideas which will help Whirlybird's planning, please post them. Even if she takes an instructor from Long Beach, he may not know the San Diego area well enough to make the best of the new restrictions.
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Old 27th Apr 2002, 00:19
  #119 (permalink)  

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i2, thanks for the info on San Diego. One of the instructors here said you couldn't do it, so I was wondering.

Flying Lawyer, thanks for asking people to help me out!

OK, today's report....

Fri 26th April
Tim, the instructor, said we could try and fly to LAX (Los Angeles International) if I wanted to, but they might not let us in if we didn't have a good reason. I said I wanted to give it a try. So we left, headed out to the coast, and I made this hopefully professional sounding radio call to LAX. They cleared us to their midfield helipad between the two runways! But they did it by a route Tim had never taken, out to the coast, down to 150 feet, then in to the helipad. That was OK, except you can't see the airport from 150 feet, so we had to climb a bit to see when we were between the runways. Then over the central section with airliners on both sides, and round the tower to land into wind on this rooftop helipad, wow!!!! We made it, but the tower asked us to phone them. Oh ****, what had we done, or not done? We found a phone and I called them. Apparently, we'd been a little bit too close to a taxiway. I said we hadn't, but he had us on radar, so I gave up arguing, apologised and thanked him and said we'd do better next time. Actually, considering it's one of the busiest airports in the world, he was pretty nice about it. Anyway, I've landed a heli at LAX, !

Came back via the shoreline transition at 150 ft; this is becoming normal. Then the coastline right to the Queen Mary at around 200 feet, having fun zooming in and out of little bays and avoiding the birds and kites. I could do this for ever. Maybe I'll go the whole way to San Diego at 200 ft.

Keeping my fingers crossed for Big Bear tomorrow.
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Old 27th Apr 2002, 00:37
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Cool

Yes, you can get close enough to see the bay but you just can't fly into the bay...

If you are coming from the north along the coast, which Whirlybird will, once you get to La Jolla, just south of Torry Pines Golf course, you'll want to contact Lindbergh Field (SAN) and request to fly down to Point Loma. They will normally tell you to report at Crystal Pier and fly at or below 400ft or 500ft and report again when over the Ocean Beach Pier. You'll then be clear of Class Bravo and you'll need to contact North Island (Naval Air base). Before you would have requested to fly around Point Loma point and fly into the bay, over the Coronado Bridge, to the Blue Crane etc. but, now you'll can only request to fly around the point (Point Loma) and directly to the Coronado Hotel. Then you'll have the choice to either fly along the coast south to Silver Strand Beach or fly to the south bay.

Although you can't fly into the bay like before, you'll definitely still enjoy the flight!

Good luck and please tells us all about when you get a chance!

Last edited by i2gofly; 27th Apr 2002 at 00:39.
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