It was time for another visit to the Castle site, so I scheduled another milk run for Thursday. My friend Art was available, and since he is training for his IFR it was a good opportunity to spend some time under the hood and some time as pilot-in-command for a cross-country flight. (You need fifty hours of PIC time to get the IFR ticket. I no longer need time for anything in particular, so there’s no reason Art couldn’t be pilot-in-command.)
We took off and since I wanted to do more work on the MFD (the display screen to the right) and since Art would be staring at the flight instruments (the screen to the left) I sat in the co-pilot seat for the first time. Since I am finally out of the Killing Zone, I am a little less nervous about trying to get every landing image from the left seat (it’s all about understanding the sight picture down the runway). All three of my landings sucked.
We made a stop in Baker, which was a new airport for me. As Art walked toward the trailer and asked about a bathroom he said to the lone occupant of the field, “We just landed to pee,” and the guy said, “Everyone does. There’s nothing else here, no fuel, nothing.” Welcome to Baker. (Baker also has a crazy Greek and the world’s tallest outdoor thermometer.)
Art spent an hour and a half under the hood. When I was doing the same flights with Adam I think the longest I lasted was forty-five minutes. It’s totally exhausting. After the Castle visit, a very quick stop for lunch, we were back in the plane. After take-off Art admitted that he didn’t feel like logging any more hood time, so I turned on the autopilot and flew home the way I usually do, talking to ATC, managing the engine, and explaining to the computers where I wanted the plane to be.
The glare coming into the Valley north of Van Nuys was pretty bad. We had the sun shields up, baseball hats on, and it was just hard to see. The horizon was indistinct (nods to JFK Jr.). I pointed out to Art that this was a time that it was really nice to have the glass cockpit, since we knew we were clear of the terrain on our arrival (the Kimmo-2 arrival into Santa Monica, then truncated to get us over VNY instead of DARTS), and we knew exactly where we were at all times. He agreed, and said the plane had ruined him for flying anything else.
Sad coda to the Art of Flying story: Art Newman Gone West, or in more detail: Six Minutes in Van Nuys.