March 25, 2013
I called for a flight briefing as well as checking Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Oxnard Atis, before leaving San Luis Obispo. Ceilings called for 2,800 to 3,200 along my beach route to WHP, Ca. My wife and I left at 9:00am. Upon take off in 17 knot headwinds, we soon determined over Oceano that 1,700 feet was the actual ceiling. I flew lower over Santa Barbara at 900 feet, but I have flown that route so many times I knew every power line and obstruction along Highway 126. Needless to say, over SZP the ceiling dropped to 470 feet agl but at this point I pressed on, passing Magic Mountain and requesting a special VFR. Upon landing, I went directly to Vista Aviation and obtained my instrument ticket. Too many VNY, BUR and WHP pilots have died utilizing their autopilot and then sustained vacuum failure. Never again for me.
The Upwind Summer Scholarship Program, which gives high school students a chance to earn their private pilot certificate in the summer between their junior and senior year, is accepting applications for its 2015 scholarship.
If only one person had been helped, it all would have been worthwhile. But much more than that has been accomplished over the 25-year life of the National Gay Pilots Association, said its executive director.
During a 24-day pole-to-pole adventure filled with dynamic weather conditions and unanticipated routing changes of thousands of miles in a modified Lancair IV single-engine airplane capable of carrying 361 gallons of fuel in nine tanks, 68-year-old Bill Harrelson landed in North Carolina Jan. 21 unofficially shattering the pole-to-pole speed record.
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