He's looking forward to going up again

One of my goals when I was learning to fly was to take the plane and go visit the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and the coast line. Yesterday, the weather was pretty darn awesome - and it looked like it was my chance. And, my son wanted to go, too (who kinda freaked on the last trip).

The route was set - Sacramento to Sunol, cross over San Jose International, keep going going going until we hit SANTY intersection near Santa Cruz. From there, we’d hang a left ,and head over to Watsonville airport, and have a chance to use the facilities and stuff. After 4:30p, when the TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) was lifted (Blue Angels are in town for Fleet Week), we’d go up the coast from the Monterey Bay all the way up to San Francisco; pass the Golden Gate bridge; then turn towards Sacramento, cutting through the Travis AFB area.

Well, so much for the plan. After spending a lengthy time preflighting, explaining to Joshua what I’m doing, answering questions, etc; and after taking the plane over to the fuel pumps for fuel; and after we getting to the runup area, the news came out. While revving the engine up to test it (before leaving the ground!), we found the right side magnetos weren’t burning so great. The engine drop was much more beyond tolerance. If we flew, it’d fly - but.. if we lost the left side magnetos we would have been in trouble. So, mission aborted.

We taxied back to park the plane, locked it up, took the keys back to the office. They scheduled it for a look by the mechanic.

The club has 3 Cessna 172’s that I’m comfortable with; between this one being down, and my primary being down (windshield replacement, and normal 100 hour maintenance), that left only a single plane in the fleet. We scheduled the remaining airplane for an early evening flight, for a slightly different tour.

Evening came; we got the plane, and I did the normal preflight and fuel up. Everything’s a go for this plane, horray! We took off, banking to the south at 600 feet. The fun part on this is that the first time Josh went up, the bank bugged him - he looked out beyond the wing at the wrong time and saw dirt. This time, he was a bit more prepared for it mentally. This time.. he .. also didn’t even notice the bank at all, even when I told him we were doing it. He asked me a few minutes later when we were going to do it..

We headed out into the Sacramento Delta, away from typical practice traffic and actual people-going-places traffic. We followed the river towards Rio Vista, checked out the ferry, the bridges in the area, etc. Mount Diablo loomed above the haze, as usual.

I gave my son the yoke for a while; let him get a bit of exposure to what the plane will do. Simple soft turns, and keeping the horizon level. Only one turn did I have to really step in, he did fairly well otherwise. He can now tell his friends he operated a vehicle at 100+ mph..

We made it back to the airport just after sunset. California sunsets are always something to see. The airport had turned the lights on, which you could almost see; it was a surreal moment.

Joshua’s first trip was fairly traumatic for him. He’s a bit clausterphobic, but only when moving vehicles, and he’s not so good with heights. He was in the back seat at the time (I had my instructor with me in the front seat) and we didn’t make it so far. This time around, kinda rocked. He had front seat, the good window, better view, full communications, had some time with the yoke, and.. did great. He’s looking forward to going up again..

As a side note, since I had the plane after office hours, I went back after 9p, took the airplane out again, and got some night flying in, and in particular, night landings in. I can legally take passengers at night again (I have to meet currency requirements to take passengers).

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