This my report from Friday, September 26th. Lance and I intended to take the Grob and 1-34 down to Panoche. But the weather didn't cooperate.

The low clouds around Hollister didn't clear until well after noon, so we gave up on heading to Panoche. Instead, Drew suggested we get used to landing at other airports. So Lance and I sat down to pick some airports, get the important details (frequencies, runways, elevations, etc), and so on.

That took an hour or so because we over-prepared. But it was a good exercise, to dig thru the books, stare at the charts for a while, and to write it all down.

We had planned to hit South County, Watsonville, Salinas (oooh, class D), and then Bikle (no "c" in Bikle, we're told). However, it was getting late, so we decided that South County and Bikle were the logical choices. Bikle is useful heading to/from Panoche, and South County is useful if you get low on the way to or from Mt. Hamilton.

Lance and Russell flew in 9KS while Brett and I flew in 15M. Alan towed us each roughly half way to South County and we flew right traffic for runway 32. After landing, Lance and Russell flew a second pattern at South County. We followed them in for our one and only stop at South County.

Then we towed back over Hollister, releasing above the airport and glided to Bikle. Finding Bikle from the air wasn't as hard as I thought. Given the utterly crappy visibility, Brett provided one simple hint and then it was easy.

Again, 9KS went first. After one landing, Alan towed them to 6,000 feet for some acro fun while we landed. I came in a bit too high for my first landing there and decided to do another to refine the practice. The second one worked quite a bit better. We then towed back thru the valley and glided back to Hollister for my first back seat landing in the Grob.

It turned out to be a good way to spend an afternoon when there was *zero* lift and very poor visibility. Now I'd be comfortable landing at either airport and probably many others I haven't seen. Drew's slowly pushing us farther and farther from Hollister. :-)

Speaking of seeing... Brett snapped some close-up shots of Bikle (and probably South County) with my camera and I took a few on the ground there. I'll get 'em on-line over the weekend.

If the weather this weekend is like it was today, there's not gonna be much of a contest. It'd be fine to practice landings but not much else.

Brett took some great pictures from the back seat: South County and Bikle.

Posted by jzawodn at October 02, 2003 08:53 PM

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