Another business trip to Southern California, this time to see a prospective new client and try to talk some sense into a current client.
The weather was going to be marginal, so Graeme drove to Placerville so I wouldn’t have to do an approach into Auburn or Truckee to get him. This way I could launch into low weather and fly into clear weather as we flew south. But I didn’t get off the ground before we had a bird strike. I didn’t feel or hear it, but I clearly saw it coming and there wasn’t anything I could do. Fortunately it was small bird, but I did abort the takeoff, shut down and inspect the propeller. I also had to clean the windshield and pull feathers and stuff off the wing.
We only had short bit of flying in rain before we broke out and had a dramatic flight with lots of different layers of clouds. We had a meeting in San Diego, then a meeting at Santa Monica airport. You may have noticed I don’t have many aerial shots of cities. For one, they don’t have the same allure to me as the mountains, and two, I’m usually too busy flying to take photos. Especially in the LA basin, where I don’t have a brain cell to spare while flying, watching for traffic and trying to stay on the ever-changing IFR routing they give me.
So this time I gave Graeme the camera, and he got some excellent shots of the LA area.
We then spent the night and headed out to Las Vegas for a quick meeting before heading home. I almost canceled because the winds were expected to be 50 mph by the afternoon. So we flew in early and expected to be out by 12 or 1 pm. It was calm when we landed, but by 11:00 am I was looking out the window and saying, “we really have to leave. “. Everyone would keep talking. I just had to interject, “I’m sorry, but I mean it. We really have to leave.”
We took off in a 35 knot wind, with a 20 knot crosswind component. I had the control wheel cranked over and rudder mashed. Everything was fine until the last few seconds before taking off, when the plane plane started going sideways. Luckily we were in the air by the time we ran out pavement or hit a taxi light. As we took off, as planned, one wing dipped significantly and we swung into a sideways crab down the runway.
As we got in the air we could see a massive dust storm approaching Las Vegas. I wish I could have gotten a photo, but I was extremely nervous trying to get above the Red Rocks area so we wouldn’t get slammed by a rotor. We did get one good drop and we both hit our heads. Later I asked Graeme if that scared him, and he said not really, it was that sideways takeoff that did. Luckily that was it, and soon we were at 12,000 feet where it was extremely slow going, but safe. For once I took the very long way home, over by Edwards Air Force base, into the Central CA valley, then up.
The first photo is mine, the others were taken by Graeme.