An Appareo Stratus ESG transponder, Stratus 3i, and GPS antenna was installed in N5655G! We are now in compliance with the FAA mandate for all aircraft (operating in designated airspace) to comply with ADS-B. The required equipment enables your aircraft to be seen on radar, showing your type, registration, altitude, speed…. and (0ptional) to receive in your cockpit live “traffic alerts” of other airplanes flying nearby. To receive the alerts, you need to have a capable display which shows your position (map) and the surrounding aircraft (targets). We are using an Ipad with Foreflight, and this is an excellent tool, as it also does flight planning, weather alerts, airport diagrams, airspace, and logbook recording. You can also record your flight, and replay it in Google Earth for example. The radio capabilities, moving map/GPS, and navigation available today greatly enhance flying safety!
It’s been a pretty wet February, and March. Into this first part of April, we’ve had just a few days with “decent” flying weather, but those fell on a day that I couldn’t fly. I am hoping that by the middle of this month (as forecast by the weather prognosticators), we will actually “spring” into great sunny skies. And the other thing, with the goofy Bay Area weather, we seem to have had a lot more of those “winds 15 gusting to 30 knots”. Just a bit out of the demonstrated crosswind limits of a lot of general aviation planes. Gotta get flying soon though… the ADS-B install is “ticking away”, and the annual inspection comes due May 1st. So far, I’ve gotten all the necessary maintenance items gathered – oil filter, air filter, oil…etc. This will be my first annual with this particular Cessna (I’ve done dozens – owner assist – on the 150M and the Sundowner). The log books show most everything has been done by the previous owner (prop overhaul, new Skytech starter, new tires, new MX300 radio, new battery….). My A/P twin brother keeps saying “you stole this plane”…. It’s great being back into flying after an 8 year “vacation”, and my medical “event” last year.
We took a relaxing trip to the beautiful Mendocino Coast in February, staying for a couple nights at the Stanford Inn, a “Historic Farm & Eco-Resort”. The weather was a mix of rainy skies on the day of arrival, with cool weather and sunshine on Sunday. The hotel was “top notch” and very relaxing. Taking a walk around the quaint “downtown” of Mendocino to all the shops and cafe’s was very pleasant. Not too many tourists in this “off season”, but that is an added bonus to anyone (like us) who want to experience the tranquility of the surroundings. The Pacific Ocean was gorgeous as usual, and the sea breeze absolutely refreshing. Our drive from Cloverdale off Hwy. 101 took us through beautiful scenery, redwoods, rivers, and vineyards, passing Boonville and the Anderson Valley. It was only about three hours each direction, and we had almost no traffic until returning to the area well south of Santa Rosa. Just before crossing the bridge, we stopped for a much needed coffee and snack in Benicia. Quite a wonderful and romantic trip!
I had the field to myself of Friday around noon… a break in our recent heavy rainstorm allowed me to get in a bit of practice. Sue filmed my landings from the ramp next to Runway 19L. Landings went well, and the air was calm. The carpet in the plane got wet in the baggage compartment due to the whopping rain over the last couple days. And during “run up” prior to take-off, the engine dropped 400+ RPM’s with the initial application of carb heat. I taxied out “lean” and did not notice any hesitation in power. However, the conditions may have been pretty ripe for carb ice. I did a much longer pre-takeoff check with high power to bring the engine temp up a bit..and soon the engine resumed normal operation. No indications during the flight of any ice either. A fun practice flight.
We’ve had a week of winter weather, which in the SF Bay Area is not “snow” but rather rainy conditions. To add to the mix, we have had some very strong winds (30 kts) on some days, and then periods of calm. However, with the winter temps and the rain, we get our annual “valley fog”. So the airport goes marginal VFR, to IFR, and back to MVFR during the day. This photo is Saturday afternoon where the air was cold and damp, with clouds rolling in. Five hours later on after dark, the sky was crystal clear and starry. By morning its fog again. I can’t wait for a nice day to go FLY!