Yep. I went flying today. Not on a traditional commercial flight. Nope. I went flying just for the fun of it. No specific destination. Just for fun.
My friend Brad owns a plane, a Piper Arrow to be precise, and he had it up at the Santa Barbara airport this week.
Access to a plane + No plans + No family in town = Mike tagging along for a joy ride at 4,500 feet.
Just a little nervous
I’ll be honest. I was a little nervous going up in this small four-seater airplane. It didn’t help when Brad described it as “strapping yourself to two gas tanks, surrounded by some thin aluminum.”
Yeah, thanks for that Brad.
But the nervousness quickly dissipated as Brad started telling me about how long he’s been flying and watching him go through the pre-flight routine. He was all business as we got started and we taxied to the runway.
You did what?
As we made our way up and out of Santa Barbara, we headed inland a little as there was a pretty thick marine layer over the coast. Somewhere over Camarillo, Brad says to me, “Okay, you take the controls.” With a little more encouragement from Brad, I gently grabbed the yoke in front of me and just like that I was flying. Granted, Brad was doing the really hard part of communicating with Traffic Control, adjusting the controls and making sure the rest of the moving parts of the plane were being properly attended to. But I was able to roll or bank the plane as well as adjust our altitude. It was pretty cool.
When I called Chris and the kids later in the day and told them what I did, I got mixed reactions.
Chris: “Yeah, that was a great idea. Giving you control of the plane. What could possibly go wrong? Well, it sounds like it was pretty fun. Glad you’re safe now.” 🙂
Nathan: “What? You did what? That is so awesome!”
Devyn: “That’s great, but did you get the music video of me singing Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ that I sent you?”
We made a short stop at the El Monte airport to fuel up and grab a soda and ice tea. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Brad was watching the weather forecast the entire time to see if we could time our arrival back into Santa Barbara with the marine layer burning off some.
Over Los Angeles
As we left El Monte, we went out over Los Angeles and flew past Dodger Stadium, the Capitol Records building, Griffith Park Observatory, the Hollywood Sign and downtown L.A.
Here, we had to stay under 2,000 feet in altitude as there were several larger jets coming in to LAX. It’s kind of crazy seeing a larger jet fly by you at 2,000 feet. Crazy in a cool way.
Coming into Santa Barbara
We were hoping to be given a route into Santa Barbara Airport that would allow us to fly along the coast. You never know apparently. But we got lucky when SBA Traffic Control instructed us to follow highway 101 into SBA. Brad gave me the yoke again and I “flew” the plane for what seemed like forever, but was probably only 15 minutes. As we started to get closer to Santa Barbara, I asked Brad to take over and I grabbed a few more photos.
A big thank you to Brad for taking me up today (and getting me back down safely too!). It was a lot of fun!