Archive for August, 2019

Chino and Cable

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

I took some time Friday afternoon to polish take-offs and landings. I rambled off to the very hospitable Chino (KCNO) airport for practice and Cable (KCCB) for lunch. The last time I was out doing instrument practice, a couple of my roll-outs were wobbly. My safety pilot was happy to make excuses for me, but I try to be honest with myself on these things.

Chino is a lively GA airport with a couple parallel runways and active flight schools, so they were quite able to accommodate me. I flew out of Santa Monica, where they bill you by the landing, and tucked into the pattern at Chino, where they’re free.

Chino is home to at least two air museums: Planes of Fame and Yanks. I mention it both because I’m a member and supporter of Planes of Fame and I got to share the pattern with Yanks 1936 Lockheed Electra. What a beautiful plane. I took a couple pictures of it, and it’s something to see in motion.

I was trying out two things: flap use on take-off and landing roll-outs. The flap use is recommended in the Viking POH, though not by my transition instructor. The POH recommends the flaps to keep a less nose-up attitude during take-off. After trying a few, it is noticeably different and visibility is arguably better. It’s also closer to the attitude on a go-around, which seems to make that process a little safer. I got to test that when I miscalculated how long the Electra would be on the runway. I’ll keep playing with it.

The roll-outs were trickier. The Viking is squirrely enough on the ground that it’s worth keeping current with its handling. I used to be more aware of it on the take-off roll, but I’ve gotten very used to that. I think that made me more complacent on roll-out. Today’s practice got me more focused on it and my roll-outs were markedly improved.

Um, except for the one at Cable. Sigh.

Cable remains a great little uncontrolled – er, untowered – field. Maniac Mike’s seems to be undergoing a renovation. It was open, though, and I got a decent meal. Sadly the patio was closed, so I didn’t get to sit out there.

Winds were getting more variable when I got back to SMO, but the approach and landing were fine.

Review: Manuscript Found

Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Literary sources abound in the modern world. This book came to me as a Patreon perk from Nathaniel Lloyd’s Historical Blindness podcast. His podcast is worth its own review, but not here.

Manuscript Found is a historical novel told with a metafictive bent. Lloyd is writing a novel about Joseph Smith and the founding documents of Mormonism. He’s also commenting on both the contents of the historical record and how an author – or historian – injects their views into their writings. It’s a nice mix, though it can be a little dry and subtle.

Lloyd braids this with a thread about authors of documents exposing the workings of Masonry. I find that choice to be illuminating. Revealing the workings of a secret society and presenting the foundations of a religion that is particularly shrouded in silence raise questions about how each arise and address the release of them. Alongside that he presents other protagonists’ involvement with the Underground Railroad. The Railroad is another secretive historical society whose motivations for secrecy are driven primarily by practicality.

His use of a fictional historian relating the workings and motivations of those groups fleshes the ideas even a bit more. He challenges many preconceptions about history and people through the historian’s voice.

I found it very intellectually challenging and thought provoking, though less emotionally engaging than some. I’m reminded of Jimmy Carter’s fiction. I admire the thinking and structure behind it, but wold love some more dynamism.

Stopping by Camarillo on a Summer Day

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

I had an opportunity to stop in at Camarillo Airport‘s Waypoint Cafe after doing some pattern work at San Gabriel Valley Airport (the former El Monte Airport), and I’m happy I did.

I’ve long been a fan of Camarillo Airport in general and its restaurant in particular. The airport’s community has been a thriving and vibrant one as long as I’ve been flying in SoCal. The Waypoint was always a great stop or lunch destination. Good food and weekend tri-tip barbequeues were big draws for me. A few years ago someone bought the place and the lines started getting longer. I haven’t been in a while because as Yogi says “No one goes there anymore, it’s too popular.” I figured that on a Friday the place might be slower than on a weekend.

The traffic pattern was pretty packed. That was great fun. The tower controllers were a joy to watch work. They were working probably 6-8 folks in the pattern along with transients incoming and outgoing. There was a helicopter making circuits as well. This is a lively place.

(Incidentally, San Gabriel was also hopping. Not as busy, but the controllers were conducting it all well. The hospitality and professionalism was top rate as always – as our traffic controllers so often are.)

I was wrong about the restaurant being slower. I got there around noon and there was a line. They have a counter, though and the woman running the joint – a maitre ‘d in a more pretentious place – pointed me at it when I asked about the line. It was much more a come-on-over than a we-offer-this-service tone. That welcome got warmer the longer I was there.

Incidentally, the folks waiting weren’t suffering. There were beautiful places to sit that overlook the ramp and the airplanes and complimentary refreshments. I was tempted to wait anyway.

The counter folks were super friendly and attentive. I never had an empty glass or anything else missing. The food was all delicious and the biscuit fantastic. The place was packed and everyone had time to be cheerful, helpful, and kind.

Perhaps even better, everyone else eating at the counter seemed to know everyone working behind it. That kind of community of regulars is a ringing endorsement of a restaurant – especially an airport restaurant. This is a thriving place that opened its arms to me. I’m no one special, so I expect that they do so for everyone. If you’re in the area, try it out for yourself, pilot or no.

It was sobering to return to Santa Monica. My home airport was once that vibrant (and had good food as well) but the city voters decided to use the land our community lived on for other things. That’s their right, of course, but I miss the hum.