Did VOR and pilotage and dead reckoning today - 2.2 hrs
Flew to and over  Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Ukiah, Lampson, Hoberg, Angwin, Mauch, Petaluma, Schellville, Sonoma Skypark and back home to Gnoss Field.

1000th landing today.
999th takeoff.
It wasn't the nicest or prettiest landing - but I didn't need to go around - 11 to 14 knot x-wind component -
No friends at the airport  :-(  Called Malcom in Florida and told him that I made it!!!!
Glad I made the 1000th - it was strange that I was a bit apprehensive on this one landing -
~260 hours TT


~250 hours TT
986 total landings
985 total takeoffs



Castle AFB
(MER) 11,800ft by 300ft
The 4th largest civilian runway in California.


Met Malcom up at at Gnoss Field, 069. Wanted to fly - somewhere... So - I had met "Uncle" Harry a couple of weeks ago. Harry works at Castle AFB, rebuilding and maintaining the museum planes. Well - It's off to Castle (it listed under "Atwater").
Cold day, calm, scattered clouds, base at 3500 (said "they"!).
After checking sectionals, etc, writing down the pertinent information, fill with proper fuel, preflight, we were on our way.
Great flight down - we stayed under the clouds and ended up meandering between the bases which were down to 2400ft in a few spots. Set VOR2 to Manteca 219 FR so that we knew when we had passed Stockton and Tracey airports (remembered that radial from first long solo). Did a few different VOR crossings to keep it interesting -
Awesome flying for the first time in between the clouds in the brilliant crepuscular rays of sun - Clouds were so brilliant white and clean. Always looking out ahead for the bright, unshaded sunlight on the ground, past the clouds, that we were flying towards.
Malcom's navigating and doing the radio work - the advantage of two pilots - I got to sightsee and sky sweep -
Off in the distance, There's Castle - it's HUGE!!!!
Made the radio calls, enter at a 45, LH pattern 13, full stop.
Final was OK, to a soft field landing - sort of - just held the wheels off the ground for about a mile and a half - till we got a bit closer to the end of the runway, then set it down and coasted to a stop - still some distance away from the taxiway -
So - as it went - We decided that it would be better to visit the Castle AFB Museum - with its SR71, B36, B47 and B52 and lots more (including Uncle Harry) when we had more time - So - refuel and off we go.
Lesson 47-23: If a Lycoming engine starter engages, turns over the engine a cylinder or two, then disengages and free spins - and it takes 5-6 tries to get it to start before it kicks out - it's a better idea to check out the starter - especially before you're leaving the area.
So - keys out and back out of the plane.... Look at the starter. (should have done that before at Gnoss)
OK - back in, figured that if I could just get the engine to start on the first 1/2 rotation - maybe.......
Lucky - the 7th - 6th time it caught - Great!
(Flash - Rumour is that Castle AFB has rooms for $20 for overnights! )
OK - already preflighted - All good - Take off and make a circle around the the outside exhibit - the B36 dwarfs a B52! A SR71 is almost tiny in comparison - OK - Off to the north and back to Gnoss - this time, we flew over the clouds (around a couple) at 6500ft, direct to Skaggs Island VOR, over Concord and down to Gnoss.
Landing - apparently, my radio PTT button was intermittent and certain people didn't hear the radio calls that I made. Certain comments were made after we had both parked. Comments were exchanged regarding airplane rental "thievery" which evoked comments about the ability of certain people to get within half a wingspan of the center of the parking spot and tiedowns, which resulted in the woman student getting the tow bar - which she proceeded to attach halfway and after giving a mighty pull - flew backwards, bar in hand  - her instructor bent over to help her up - gave a pull back and smacked her head into my elbow....
Mel Brooks should have been there............
I emailed the other student that night and asked if they knew any more tricks...... She called up that night and assured me that yes, they did indeed have more tricks.........
I was kidding - she was serious?

Total cross country time: 3.0
Total landings: 2 landing, 2 takeoff