"Executive tower, this is Banana 212 Romeo Juliet..."
|Flying a Beech Bonanza over San Francisco at sunset. Doesn't get much better than that!|
"That's BONANZA 212..."
My introduction to complex, high-performance aircraft began with a rush of anxiety, that just like my first time flying left seat many months ago, didn't quit until we were on the ground at home many hours later.
In fact, I tried to chicken out!
To celebrate my return from a long conference on the East Coast, Mr. T suggested we take the Beech Bonanza out to Half Moon Bay. Never one to say no to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or enjoying calamari by the ocean, I said yes. But when T regaled me information about the plane's historic reputation as a "doctor killer" and some of the nuances of the aircraft controls that would perform differently than the Cessna 182 I usually fly, I suggested that perhaps he fly left seat on the way to lunch so I could observe.
He responded with something pithy and unfit for publication here, and so we went...
|What makes the Bonanza complex: Retractable gear!|
|Getting into a new airplane required orienting myself to the instrument panel which looked quite different than the 182. Consequently, I wasted time having to remember where critical knobs and dials were located. |
|It surprised me how much my workload seemed to increase having to retract the gear upon take-off while managing the engine and constant speed prop. Just one extra task, coupled with general unfamiliarity got my blood pumping.|
|Nerves aside, I enjoyed flying over the Bay on a gorgeous sunny Fall afternoon.|
|Flying over the I-80 corridor. So many people.|
|Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the distance. Pictured is the Bay Bridge.|
|Flying the coast line. The left most green patch is the Presidio and the broad green swath is Golden Gate Park.|
|Flying the Bonanza over Golden Gate Bridge. At this point, I really miss my high-wing 182!|
|A non-foggy day at the Bay. Miracles.|
|The luckiest student pilot in the world.|
|On the way to Half Moon Bay.|
|Flying in the Bay Area is a challenge thanks to air space. The biggest concern is staying out of the class Bravo from San Francisco International Airport and trying not to hit anyone else in the corridor.|
|T says my landing at Half Moon Bay was good, but it felt all kinds of wrong since I was going a bit faster than usual and flying near hills and dealing with a busy airport. This student pilot's brain almost exploded.|
|But the reward for hard work was sweet. Half Moon Bay!|
|We eat at the Half Moon Bay Brewery mostly because it's close and partly because the patio is lovely. We enjoyed watching someone performing aerobatics in a Yak right above the restaurant.|
|Stupid time change meant no dawdling.|
|Heading back to Sacramento as the sun set. |
|The return flight felt more comfortable, but still challenging. Not being used to the sounds and movements of the Bonanza, I felt a little on edge. T said that's pretty typical of transitioning into a new plane.|
|San Francisco at sunset. One of those white specks is another plane.|
|Me and my love. Thanks for not letting me chicken out! Although I won't be flying much in the Bonanza, save for the occasional jaunt, I enjoyed its capabilities and comfort.|
|Smooth air over the water. |
|Flying is the best way to get to Half Moon Bay or anywhere near San Francisco. I scoped out the freeway traffic. No thank you.|
|Flying next to the Golden Gate Bridge. Sausalito is on the left.|
|See that traffic??|
|Feeling so blessed to see views like this.|
|Right about here, the light died. We landed at Nut Tree/Vacaville to get fuel and by that time, darkness fell so T flew us home to Executive. All in all a fabulous flight!|
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Labels: aircraft, avgeek, Beech, Bonanza, complex, female, Fly Girl, flying, Golden Gate Bridge, Half Moon Bay, high performance, NaBloPoMo, personal, pilot, retractable gear, San Francisco, student