The big aviation trip of the year was the flight from LA to Toronto and back during the march break holidays. It was a bittersweet departure as I had just picked up (the day before) my new car and I really wanted to play with it, drive it, enjoy it, but instead I got teased and had to park it in the hangar just hours after as I had an early departure the next day. Such a sweet machine but maybe a bit too much. Whatever. You only live once.
I flew myself and my family to Toronto and used the flight back as an opportunity for additional training in Instrument flying. On the way back, the family flew commercial, and I met up with a friend and my instructor for a 4-day training session/boys’ trip. I am instrument-rated, but I like to manage my risk and occasionally get solid refreshers and higher stress training. Mitigating risk. The CSIP that does it is also a friend, so the trips are always fun. It’s been sort of tradition to fly one way with him as we usually go back to Canada on holidays.
On the way to Toronto, we flew through the desert and over the rockies and into the midwest plains. The usual first stop is Page, Arizona (Lake Powell) and from there we typically stop in Omaha or somewhere like that, usually for the night. It takes about 9.2 hours of flight time to get from LA to Toronto in this plane. The jet version is about 5.5 hours. Not bad.
So in the picture below, we were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. Just kidding, that’s a Hunter S. Thompson quote, but the picture above the clouds was in fact above Barstow.
Pretty uneventful trip, took 2 days, flew IFR most of the way which makes it very easy. You’re part of the system and on a air highway, so things just flow better. When I arrived, I instantly headed up for some relaxation at the favorite part of my house. A few local friends came over and used the weeks to see family and friends.
On the flight back, the plan was to get to LA relatively quickly then use a few days to get more used to flying IFR in the LA airspace. We flew first into Milwaukee to clear customs, always easy, and ended the night in Omaha. I actually like Omaha quite a bit. Always have a really good time there. Unfortunately, it was raining this time so it was a bit more annoying.
The following day we departed for Salt Lake City which was a bit out of the way, but we just didn’t feel like doing Vegas again and none of us had been, so it seemed like a good idea. It was. Good learning moments and also very cool scenery.
Pretty complicated airspace given the mountains and class Bravo. So, my instructor task loaded me by having me cancel my IFR clearance into SLC and reroute to a small airport sandwiched between the bravo and the mountain peaks. Was high task load and brought in a bit of problem solving. The airport is just below Ogden in the image below. Fun stuff both in departing and arriving 🙂 Good training.
The next day we made it back to LA where I reunited with my car (and my wife) for a quick dinner and that was that! Successful flying and some good lessons!