Planes, Gains and Automobiles 2023

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!

Update – Nov 25 2020

Been a long time since I posted which seems typical of my behaviour with this blog. A lots been happening, I just left Cayman enroute to Canada where we’re moving into our newly built house (will post about that separately, it’s pretty damn cool too!) but we made a month long pit-stop in KTYS (Knoxville) to pick up a tool that would help me with one part of this blog, traveling. I bought a plane.

Ashley and I both had nearly completed our PPL back in 2008 but had to leave urgently right (like literally a week) before our Check-out ride to Cayman. We had intended on coming back within a month to get it done but we just never did and then we had kids…andddd that was that. We hadn’t picked it up again until now because it was just impossible in Cayman. Anyway, we ended up purchasing an SR22T Cirrus which is one of the safest prop planes out there, it has its own parachute system (entire plane) and the automation is astounding. It’s fully autopilot and has synthetic vision, live traffic, weather on board etc.

Cirrus has been amazing to deal with, literally one of the best companies I’ve ever dealt with. They came (for free) to pick us up in the Vision Jet because we were sorta stranded in Cayman due to it being Covid free and being locked down to the rest of the world. My rep finagled it by calling it a demo. The normal protocol is that they’ll come pick you up in an SR22 (one person) and bring you to Knoxville to take delivery. In this case, they picked us all up and in the SF50 Vision G2 Jet.

That was a blast. Maybe or maybe not – am I trying to build up experience and hours to get into one of those lol. A bit of a dream.

The other thing, Cirrus just started a PPL program and we’re the first students to partake. We’re here in Knoxville for a month training every day in our plane which is pretty cool. We’re less than a week away from Solo. In our off time, we’ve been mostly hiking and enjoying the outdoors since in Cayman, we were quite limited to just the beach.

We started off flying the club plane (because our delivery was Nov 18th). I have some slight PTSD from the training. So the call sign 8-6 Mike Juliette brings me some pits in my stomach. The instructor was extremely tough on us.

During training one day, we landed and saw our plane had made it to KTYS (Knoxville) for prepping before delivery. Got a snapshot before they put it away.

Here’s some delivery day photos. What a day. It really was like 10 years in the making. The original plans we had in our 20s was to become pilots and live that freedom. Just life and kids got in the way. Now with the kids in distance/home school there was no better time to dedicate a month to training and eventually instrument rating in the winter to finally be able to cross country. The thing is damn fast and has a great range. 1000nm (~2000 km) and boots at 187-200 kts. It can go to 25k feet too and is equipped with oxygen and FIKI systems.

Here’s our first Cross country (Ash flew there and I flew back)

As for trades,

I pretty much de-risked into the elections and was mostly ATM trades. I’ve added 10-20% sizing in the last week or two but am looking towards eventually setting up a 488 campaign now that we’re out of high vol. I did put on some Feb ATM SPX trades and I am playing with similar BWB setups in TSLA (given the recent momentum move up and iv spiking again). So I’ll be looking for opportunities in 488 and BSH factory build up as well as dabbling in ATM. That’s about it.

I am >30% for the year and happy that I’ll probably hit 40% for 2020 and move on to a more stabilised systematic approach in 2021.