We flew to Napa County Airport on a beautiful clear fall day, with calm winds and unlimited visibility. Sue was my co-pilot and took several videos and photos of the trip. We departed Concord with a downwind departure direct to Napa, flying over Benicia and Six Flags Marine World. There was hardly any traffic, and we were the only plane in the pattern at Napa. I landed on Runway 19L, which until recently had been Runways 18.. a year or so ago they changed due to the magnetic drift of the Earth’s pole. I learned to fly at Napa 46 years ago (September 1974) and my first solo (November 9, 1974), flying a 1968 Cessna 150H and a 1975 Cherokee Warrior. The airport has undergone a lot of changes over the years… hangars have been added on the south east side, the Japan Airlines flight school is long since closed, and the “famous” Jonsey’s Restaurant is a thing of the past. The delicious steaks cooked with a big rock to hold it onto the grill, the “special potatoes” and the fine old style lunch counter… all gone. They do still have a “Cessna Pilot Center”, but just about all the planes out on the ramp were Gulfstream G5 corporate jets, or twin turboprops. Even the old gas station out on the ramp has been replaced by fuel trucks, and the airport “observation deck” has been removed. Still, the open beauty of the surrounding fields and the waterways, and the wonderful Napa Valley to the north remain some of the best flying terrain anywhere. Our return flight was smooth, and once again, we were the only plane landing at Concord. We came in over the “Mothball Fleet” or what is left of it, and a nice final and smooth landing. A spectacular flight!
On a Saturday evening, after the Concord Tower closed at 6:00 pm, the visibility improved and the winds were calm. I decided to fly, after such a bout if inactivity. We have suffered runway construction, excessive heat warnings, nasty cross winds on the only runway still open… and worst of all the weeks of smoke from the tragic fires that have ravaged California. At times, air quality was deemed “hazardous” by the local authorities. Toss in Covid-19 restrictions, and the airport has not been a welcome place. Finally, I siezed the opportunity to fly and shed the layers of rust which have accumulated on my wings. The local radio frequency was silent, and I taxied out for take-off on Runway 19R. During run-up preflight, a Phenon jet reported being on a “five mile final”…He landed and cleared the runway, leaving the entire airport to me alone. I took the active and began my roll and climbed out into clear golden air, smooth and still. Three times around the pattern in left traffic for 19R, the correct direction as in the NOTAM for when the tower is closed. My landings were perfect, and it was evident I had not become rusty after all. The taxi in and shut down was “radio silent” as the solitude of this flight was unbroken by any airport interlopers. The sunset was magnificent, high clouds pierced by rays of the setting sun, and the gently tick sound of the cooling engine thanking me for our dance in the sky.
The “annual inspedtion” engine run-up… engine runs great! This year was quite extensive: new magnetos (Bendix), new mufflers, new ignition switch, new brakes, solenoid, and the big labor item, a new cylinder. We had a burned exhaust valve and the pressure check was only 60/80. These never get better with time, so since the mufflers were off, now was the time to do it. All that is left to do is break in the new cylinder. It’s good being airworthy again!!
Sue and I flew to Livermore, CA (LVK) late February 2020 to visit the new “Elevation” restaurant which is now open in the terminal. We departed Concord (KCCR) on Runway 1R for a down-wind departure. We flew down the Diablo Valley over Walnut Creek to Alamo, and reported over San Ramon. Livermore tower cleared us in for a straight in landing on Runway 7L. Traffic was very light at the airport. We tied down and went into the terminal, which is a very clean, new facility. The Livermore airport is outstanding in cleanliness and ease of getting around. Lunch was pretty good. After our visit, we departed to the north, and on return to Concord we landed straight in to Runway 1R. Sue took a great video of our landing, and we taxied in to the hangar to get fuel. It was a nice flight, even though visibility was pretty hazy.
A beautiful winter afternoon in January, with clear skies and relatively warm temp’s. The 150K has been safely tied down in the shade hangar with cabin cover in anticipation of next weeks strong cold front and strong winds that are expected. Installing the wheel pants, without a doubt, completely change the look of the airplane. Although you lose 18 pounds of useful load (and weight is always a concern with small planes), and optimistically gain only 2 knots in airspeed…many pilots opt to not utilize them. Wheel pants also add to the difficulty in checking tires, air pressure, and brakes during preflight. However the 1970 model have a higher “rise” where the bottom of the pant is near the axle. Later model style pants where much lower, and those had little doors on the side to access the valve stem.