May 29, 2008

Weather Whine

I've barely flown lately: the weather's been weird and uncooperative (at least by Northern California coastal standards); my work schedule hasn't exactly given me much free time; and the cost of fuel and aircraft rentals keep increasing much quicker than my income… but none of this should really excuse me. And this time I have no excuse: the weather's OK (not great, but not malicious either), I have a few hours to spare, I have an enthusiastic passenger, and I can afford another hour or so in the air.

So I meet my passenger, J., a friend and colleague from San Jose, at my place, and we drive to the airport (Oakland, my home base, a short ten minute drive from my studio). J's never flown in anything as small as a C172 before, but she's keen, and the plan is to do a leisurely Bay Tour out over the Golden Gate, The City, Angel Island, etc., for maybe 45 minutes. I don't like the typical summer's-evening low-hanging stratus coming in from the Pacific, but that's what an instrument rating's for, no? But I don't really want to subject J. to the ILS back into Oakland in IMC on her first flight in a Cessna, so I'll keep a good look out and stay close to home.

And that's what happens — a nice low-key Bay Tour through the twilight as planned, and a quick run back as the clouds push in through the Golden Gate and over The City. We get back just as it goes marginal VFR or even IMC across much of the inner Bay Area; it's blustery and cold back on the ground (typical Bay Area coastal summer weather :-)). Not much else to say about the evening really except (once again) it's fun to fly VFR like this, and it's really fun having someone along who's new to flying and who ends up liking it so much she's already talking about the next flight. J. wants to fly again on a longer trip, maybe up the coast; I kinda like the idea, but I don't know when I'll get the chance. We shall see….