Travelogue Chapter Seventeen
Saturday, June 29th 10:09 p.m.
I have looked into the face of Death and laughed.... Well... Not "Laughed", really. More like giggled... and it really wasn't the face of Death. I think it was a third cousin, twice removed.
I took a little spin around San Diego county in N5202F once again. This time the guy in the right seat wasn't a CFI. To say I was a bit nervous would be a great understatement. Didn't do too bad. I managed to not blow the Class B airspace but it did take a little dancing for a minute or two. Just after leaving North Island (KNZY) using the "Point Loma" departure I was approved to change freq to Lindbergh Tower (KSAN) for the Class B transition. I do my call up and the tower asks me to standby... Seems they got some guy flying around out there that wanted to land at "San Diego International" and couldn't understand why he was being asked to talk to "Lindbergh Tower". Lindbergh Field is the "common name" for San Diego International. Once that was explained to him by the controller he was cleared to land on Runway 27. Now the problem was that he wasn't sure which runway he was supposed to land on... Lindbergh only has one runway. This whole time we're off Point Loma doing 360's to stay out of the Class B and I'm actually starting to feel a little better... After listening to this guy flying somewhere he obviously had no business being I didn't feel so bad about the little boo-boo I had made earlier. I told the tower at KNZY that I wanted to depart "to the North" rather than telling them I wanted to use the "Point Loma Departure"... Eventually they talk this guy to the ground and he actually tried to get the tower to make a rental car reservation for him... What an idiot! After laughing at that fool I call up the tower again and I am soon cleared to make the transition.
As we are leaving the Class B we are surrounded by other aircraft. There's a banner towing Bonanza making small circuits over the beach, there's another Cessna off to our right and there's a helicopter up ahead. This time it's the helicopter's turn to aggravate the controller. The controller clears him to cross the area "at or below 500 feet" but this guy don't want to do that... "If we do that we'll be too low and I'll get in trouble." You could hear the aggravation in the controller's voice when he told the helicopter pilot to "resume own navigation"...
Eventually we made our way up the coast and past Del Mar. The plan was to go up somewhere between Del Mar and Oceanside and turn inland... That wasn't to be, though. With the "June Gloom" overcast keeping us below 1000' there was nowhere up there we could make the turn inland and maintain all the distance clearances we had to. So looking at the chart I noticed a place just south of Del Mar that wasn't designated as "densely populated" that just skirted the "SFC to 10k" Class B around Miramar. So back down the coast we went. Soon as we crossed the imaginary line as indicated on the VOR we hang a left and head inland. Almost immediately after crossing the coast "feet dry" the clouds vanished and the sky was clear. Off we go to Ramona, over the Indian Reservation, then south back down to the POGGI VOR. Pretty quick we were flying over the blue crane talking to Island Tower for landing. They gave us the left pattern approach for landing on Runway 18... That meant we "had" to fly down the channel at 800' and "had" to pass over the Coronado bridge (which, by the way, is free of all tolls now. For the first time in its history the tolls have been removed) and "had" to fly past the aircraft carriers... Oh my... What a bummer.... ;) I got to see my old boat, the USS Stennis, from a new perspective.
Shortly after touching down (landing long as to not catch the arresting gear) in a greaser of a landing we were rolling out and I'm looking for the taxi way we need to take back to the club.... I never see it... I end up finding myself near the other end of the runway coming up on the other set of arresting cables and realize I've gone past my taxi way... I had a decision to make. I could either continue to wander around the airport looking for the taxi way or I could stop and call up Ground Control and fess up... I chose the second... Told 'em I was at the south end of 18 and needed "Progressive Taxi" to the club. Once the authorized me to do a 180 on the runway I could see where I had made my mistake and resumed my own navigation. There were a few things that contributed to this. Being unfamiliar with the airport didn't help any. Having to land "long" because of the arresting gear put me further down the runway than I expected to be on touchdown. Yet the biggest problem is that there is very little standard "signage" at the airport. None of the taxi ways are marked and the runways aren't marked. The taxi ways do have a centerline but they don't extend into the runway so you cannot see it from the runway. I guarantee this will not happen again. At least not at this airport, anyway. It's getting late. I am getting tired. Speaking of tyres, I finally got a new front tyre on the pickle this morning. I'm pretty much set for my trip next week.
On to next chapter