On Friday I got email from a few other pilots suggesting various fly-in ideas for the weekend. After thinking about it a bit, we opted to join Chris and a few others for a late morning flight to Merced Airport for the proverbial $100 hamburger.

If you're not familiar with the expression, Wikipedia captures it well:

A $100 Hamburger is aviation slang for a private general aviation flight for the sole purpose of dining at a non-local airport. Most often used by pilots who are looking for any excuse to fly, a $100 hamburger trip usually involves flying a short distance (less than two hours), eating at an airport restaurant, and flying home. "$100" originally referred to the approximate cost of renting or operating a light general aviation aircraft, such as a Cessna 172, for the time it took to fly round-trip to a nearby airport. Increasing fuel prices have since caused an increase in hourly operating costs for most airplanes, whether rented or owned.

So, anyway, Kathleen and I headed to Reid-Hillview airport on Saturday morning to get the Citabria ready for the adventure. While there we met Chris and his brother Michael who were flying their new [to them] Citabria 7GBCB (N8643V). Also joining us was Ryan, flying his Cessna 150 from Auburn, and Curtis flying his Cub along with someone whose name I've forgotten.

After getting the airplane ready and briefing the plan, we departed Reid-Hillview and headed down toward Hollister where the Cub had already departed.

Reid-Hillview Airport (KRHV) in San Jose

As we headed past the Coyote Reservoir and toward Pacheco Pass, Chris began to catch up with us and we began the formation flying and air to air photography.

Citabria N8643V

We got some good shots with the San Luis Reservoir in the background too.

Citabria N8643V

After several minutes of that, Chris took the lead and shot some pictures of us. They're not on-line yet but check his web site (StickAndRudderPhoto.com) or Flickr photostream to see if they appear.

Then it was time to head in for landing at Merced...

Landing at Merced

Before long, we were tied down and ready to meet up with the others...

Citabria N5156X at Merced

We all parked in a row and headed over to the Hangar Cafe for lunch. True to cliche, most of us ordered the burger. :-)

On the Ground at Merced

After lunch we spent some time checking out each other's airplanes before heading out. Most of the group headed toward a fly-in at the Tracy airport, but we opted for most sight seeing.

We headed out toward Pine Mountain Lake for a look around and a low pass.

Pine Mountain Lake Airport (E45)

On downwind...

Pine Mountain Lake Airport (E45)

Setting up for the low pass...

Approach to Pine Mountain Lake Airport (E45)

And then off toward Yosemite National Park for a look at Half Dome.

First, we saw some very blue lakes with the snow-capped mountains in the background.

Lake and Snow in Sierras

Then we flew up the Yosemite Valley...

Yosemite and Half Dome

And then got some good looks at Half Dome.

First from one side...

Half Dome at Yosemite National Park

And then the back side...

Half Dome at Yosemite National Park

Once that was done, it was time to head back home to San Jose.

We had to cross the hazy Central Valley...

Haze in the Valley

And then flew over Pacheco Pass...

Stationary Windmills

Before flying over Silver Creek...

Silver Creek

On our approach to Reid-Hillview, including the Eastridge Mall...

Eastridge Mall (on Final to KRHV)

All in all it was a fun day of flying.

Ryan, the Cessna 150 pilots, posted his pictures here. Chris sent me a bunch of the pictures he shot of our airplane, but I haven't posted them anywhere (yet?).

I have more pictures of the flight on Flickr.

Posted by jzawodn at January 21, 2008 08:15 AM

Reader Comments
# Scott said:

Great pics! What kind of distance was involved in that trip? It looks like you went to 3 different countries.

on January 21, 2008 01:44 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Scott: Oh, we probably were about ~130 miles from home at most. It's amazing how different the terrain and climates are in different parts of California.

Glad you liked the pics!

on January 21, 2008 01:47 PM
# said:

I loved the pictures, especially those of the High Sierras and Yosemite Valley. Excellent work!

on January 21, 2008 04:54 PM
# Alden said:

With scenery like that, I don't think you even need the hamburger excuse. :)

on January 21, 2008 08:49 PM
# VaibhaV Sharma said:

Awesome pics and of course awesome trip.

I moved to the bay area recently and have been looking to attach with a decent airplane rental place. Visited Amelia Reid and took the liberty to tell Zdravko that I heard about them from you. He was happy and then surprised to know that you now have a second airplane. "So Jeremy is a two airplane man!" he said. :)

I am planning to work on tail-wheel endorsement so that I can tow gliders in the future. IFR is also on the list once I settle down with the crowded airspace down here as compared to Portland (KHIO / KPDX), Oregon.

Fly safe!

on January 22, 2008 11:54 AM
# Debbie said:

Having lived in the central valley, and then in Sierra National Park, those pictures brought back a lot of memories. Especially one time I got a private ride in a P51 Mustang, and shot all up and down the valley in about 30 min. Thanks for the reminder!

on January 22, 2008 09:42 PM
# Hank Osborne said:


Thanks for this post. THis post bringsback some great memories.

In the URL field above, I posted a link to a specific post on my blog. It was my first time at the stick of a tail dragger. I flew a SuperCub while in Alaska a couple of years ago. A video of that flight was my first ever YouTube video post.

Your flight across CA stirs memories as well. (1) I did my last biannual in Carlsbad, CA even though I live in SC (50J). It's a long story tied to work travel. (2) I spent a month at Vandenberg AFB back in the late 80s taking part in a test launch of a Minuteman Missile. (3) In SC we have a breakfast club that I used to fly to quite a bit. Every other week a different airport in SC hosts it. It is sort of a $100 pancake thing.

Anyway...Thanks again.

Hank O

on January 27, 2008 09:21 PM
# Alice Mitchell said:

Your pics bring back so many mems from the 1970s when hubby and I did many a "$100 hamburger." We flew a Cessna 170?Skyhawk. Later we put it at Hayward on lease-back. Some guy rented it for a long time and crashed it on Tioga Pass. Hikers were there and took pics. A huge helicopter with v/lrg magnet hauled it off the mountain and into Minden. We were told NTSB used to use photos of it as a training film on what not to do when crossing high mtns. Jeremy, do you know how I could get a copy of the NTSB's report? I can't remember the year (1970s). Its number was 6122G.

on July 15, 2008 08:59 PM
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