One Seven Delta Mike

The first time I ever flew in an airplane was with my Uncle Emery in his small plane when we visited Phoenix when I was about 8 or 9. He took me up flying and I just thought it was the greatest thing ever! It was so cool be up off the ground and seeing how different the earth looked from 3000′ above. I have dreamed about getting a pilot’s license, but I guess in my heart I knew that it was probably not a hobby that was for me. It requires incredible attention to detail and quite a bit of money.

Thankfully, our friend Jason decided to get his pilot’s license and now owns his own plane. We have been lucky enough to have him take us flight seeing all over the place here in the Bay Area and once out in Flagstaff. It has been amazing! I love flying with Jason because he is an incredible pilot that instills confidence. And I get to learn a lot of about being a pilot when I fly with him.

Meteor crater in Arizona
Golden Gate Bridge

The weather was looking really good, so Jason suggested that we go for a flight seeing trip down over Monterey to Big Sur and then back again. Sign me up! We walked Sadie in the morning and then headed out to the Watsonville airport where his plane is stored. The weather was quite nice but a bit breezy at times.

Jason bought a Cessna Cardinal, which is nice top-winged, 4-seater plane, from some dudes in Riverside who had totally tricked the plane out with a lot avionics. And according to the always-accurate Wikipedia:

“The Cessna 177 was designed in the mid-1960s when the engineers at Cessna were asked to create a “futuristic 1970s successor to the Cessna 172.” The resulting aircraft featured newer technology such as a cantilever wing lacking the lift struts of previous models, and a new laminar flow airfoil.”

Anywho, it’s a cool plane and really comfortable for the four of us. The back seat is surprisingly roomy and actually provides the best view for flight seeing in my humble opinion.

Susanne, Cynthia, and Jason with One Seven Delta Mike
The tricked-out avionics in the cockpit

We headed out from Watsonville airport and south toward Monterey. There was an air show going on in Salinas, so Jason had to be careful to not fly into the restricted air space. At one point we saw three planes spewing out a trail of smoke; that was cool. I think the thing about being in a plane flown by your friend is you get to listen to all the comms going on. It amazes me how good Jason is at hearing what the tower is asking him to do and communicating back. I guess that is one of the most fundamental parts of flying, especially when you are in busy airspace.

We worked our way over Monterey, down past Carmel, Point Lobos, and then into Big Sur. It is an incredible piece of coastline if you have never had the pleasure of seeing it. Very rugged. The view from 2000′ was awesome.

The famous Bixby Bridge on Highway 1

Jason dropped the plane to about a 1000′ and we headed back north toward Monterey. The views were just awesome the whole way. There was a fair amount of air traffic as we approached Monterey and the tower called in to ask Jason to do a couple woopdeedoo 360’s over Carmel Bay to buy some time so a commercial jet could take off from the Monterey airport. That was fun.

The very famous Pebble Beach golf course

We headed back to Watsonville and made a perfect landing. I was going to take some photos of Jason flying, but it had been a lot of work and we decided that beer sounded better so we headed home. Sadie, of course, was rightfully pissed off that she got left behind again. How could anyone treat the Queen that way?

We had yet another incredible dinner and topped it off with cheesecake topped with elderberry sauce that we had brought all the way from Wenatchee. It was truly a great day and if there is anything this trip has taught me, it is that the real value in life are friends and family, the time we get to spend with them.

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