Tuesday, 6 September 2011 Departure from LA delayed
OK, my turn to deal with the bureaucracy … although we made application to fly from Torrance to Brown Field where we would exit the USA into Mexico the powers that be seemed to miss that part and issued us flight authorization but not to Brown Field. We were fueled and loaded up, flight plan about to be filed, customs paperwork for the flight already submitted … when the FAA called and said, sorry, you can't go – do a new application. Maybe they got confused because of our change of route …So, sorry to say, but our departure is delayed until tomorrow. Mike
Monday, 5 September 2011 Oh my golly, more changes from these lunatics
2011-09-05 23:55 UTC+2
I don't believe it – spending time with Mike and Jean it's impossible to make any plans more than a few days ahead! First they decide to change their route back to SA from a “north out of LA route” to a “south out of LA route”, then they settle the details of the route by way of arm wrestle!
So now it's Baja then Acapulco (Mexico), San Jose (Costa Rica), Bogota (Columbia), Manaus, Rio and Recife (Brazil), Accra (Ghana), Pointe Noire (Republic of Congo) and Johannesburg (South Africa). Mike reckoned the southern route has better weather but Jean's not going to Brazil without seeing Rio de Janeiro. Hhhmmmm. Unfortunately Jean got the better of Mike on the arm wrestle that resolved that little route planning difference, so they'll be able to send us shots of sugar loaf mountain in the next few days.
Departure time is tomorrow morning LA local time, about 7am. (That's 1400Z on Tuesday 6 September 2011, 16h00 SA time). Mike and Jean will head down to the Brown Field just south of San Diego and then on La Paz, California Sur, Baja, Mexico while I fly back to SA with Emirates to help Gareth, Terry, Andrew, Cheri-Lee and the team keep The Airplane Factory turning over until their return.
LA is awesome. I'm fascinated to visit the old world, but there's no question that I love this western frontier life more. I reckon I get a pretty touristy little slice of things, but wow what an exciting patchwork of different people with different interests all getting along their own things right on top of one another. This just has to be a place I come back to spend some proper time in – hopefully funded through the sale of loads and loads of Slings into California which just has to be the global centre of aviation excitement.
We've done quite a bit of hard work checking out everything on the aeroplane. No serious problems of any kind. A small crack in the bakerlite on the prop commutator ring, of which we had a spare anyhow, an oil and filter change, plugs, airfilter and a comprehensive inspection. We got loads of help with servicing, got to do a little flying in Matt's Eagle, we've eaten and drunk gluttonously and we've even got a bit of a rest in between. Sadly we haven't really had time to really clock into LA culture, make any films, meet any actors or the like, but hey, there's always next time!
It's a public holiday in LA today and we're pretty much done preparing the plane, so now it's off to buy a picnic for Mike and Jean's trip tomorrow, then off to the beach. Here're a couple of shots from the last few days – thanks Jim for your contribution to those. More from Mike and Jean in Mexico and from me back home there in Joeys.
Hasta la Vista
Saturday, 3 September 2011 Yoohoooo, we're in Los Angeles
2011-09-03 21:25 UTC+2
Yihaaa, so here we are, in the Marina del Rey Hotel and Marina, just off Venice Beach. We've slept 9 hours, we're with Mike and Matt and life could hardly be better! It's time for a late breakfast and some people watching on the beach, so this will be very short, but Jean will give a blow by blow account of the flight some time later today or tomorrow. (Our hotel actually lists as tourist activities not only various museums and locations, but “People watching” at or near Muscle Beach, presumably a cheap form of entertainment!)
We got out of Honolulu at about 11am local time. Thanks Gene Wilkie and Jim Murphy for all your help, and Read and Jean for your hangar – we're sorry we didn't get to meet up again for a proper chat, but we'll be in touch to discuss your around the world plans. Also Sias Dreyer who, from SA, knew more about the local Maui weather than anyone standing right there on the tarmac!
A short hop to Maui provided good coastal sightseeing and there we “gassed-up” and prepared for the big hop. Thanks Air Services Hawaii. No thanks to the Department of Agriculture for requiring a USD225 inspection for no apparent purpose at all.
The persistent headwind between 10 and 30 knots the entire 3 800 km Maui to California hardly bothered us, but 2 hours out we had near heart failure when we just couldn't hear anything on the HF loudspeaker or the cheap plastic “headset” we were using and which was actually for checking sound on our movie camera. We took my (Andrea's) iPod earphones and put them inside our ears, inside our ordinary headsets, then Jean put the iPod earphone up tight against his headset microphone for a temporary fix. Finally, when San Fransisco radio told us, “If you do not have an operational HF and report half-hourly within the next hour you are required to return to Honolulu. Repeat, you are not to continue towards the mainland!” Jean decided that dramatic measures were called for. (Quite how they thought we'd hear that message if we didn't have an operational HF radio of course wasn't addressed.)
Anyhow, within minutes Jean had cut the mini-jack plug off our iPod connector wire and gizmo'ed it onto the plug on our spare main headset. Thank god, after some other small changes, that worked perfectly and we were home and dry.
Matt and Mike in Matt's Christen Eagle and Jim and Ryan (who works for The Airplane Factory USA!) met us in the air over the Santa Maria airport. We flew in in grand style, in formation, over LAX and into Torrance. What an awesome and emotional moment.
So here we are, all set to give LA the full treatment. We'll let you know how it compares to Joeys as soon as we're tested it to the full. So far there're a bunch of people we seem to eat too much and they drive on the wrong side of the road. No doubt there's a whole lot more though! Photos to follow.
J and J
Saturday, 3 September 2011 Safely in Torrance
The guys arrived safely in Torrance just after 2:00 UTC+2 on the 3rd of September.
Matt and Mike flew out to Santa Maria to meet the guys in the air and welcome them to California. James and Jean were in high spirits and they also found out they still had 4 hours of endurance left, thus they rerouted to Torrance Airport, flying over the very buys LAX..
The Airplane Factory team in Torrance will post some photos as soon as they can, so please check back in a few hours for updates. Obviously James and Jean will have some sleep after their welcoming party, so updates from them should be in a day-or-so.
Friday, 2 September 2011 LAX intricate airspace
2011-09-02 21:59 UTC+2
Just over 3 hours to go!
Mike and James will catch up with the guys near Santa Maria and then fly over LAX to Torrance.
LAX Airspace can be very confusing…for those of you who want to, here is a 8min video giving some insight into just how intricate the airspaces are around LAX.
You will also see Torrance Airport about 2:08 into the video where James and Jean will finally land
Friday, 2 September 2011 Getting closer to LA
2011/9/2 20:17 UTC+2
Matt just managed to get an update from Oakland Oceanic and they said that ZUTAF was at 32º25N, 131º48W at 10.03 Pacific time (1 hour ago) and their estimate for the Galip intersection was 20:40Z. Gallip is 228.5 Nm from KSMX (Santa Maria). That means they are about 5 hours out right now. That means overhead KSMX at 4pm local, 23:00Z and 1am SA time.
I will fly to Santa Maria with Matt in his Christen Eagle where we will meet the Bullet in the air and escort them over the top of LAX (Los Angeles International) and into Torrance where the welcoming committee will be anxiously waiting.
Friday, 2 September 2011 Flashback 2009: Los Angeles to Hawaii
The guys are well on their way towards Santa Maria, just north from Los Angeles. We understand here they will be met by Mike and Matt (from our office at Torrance Airfield), and they will then fly the guys to Torrance where they will have a major welcoming party waiting for them.
In the meantime here is a flashback to 2009 when James and Mike had left from Torrance to Maui…let's hope the guys have a bit more of a view during daytime when the pass over the Pacific this time.
Friday, 2 September 2011 Weather update for the leg to mainland America
2011-09-02 08:40 UTC+2
I spoke to James last night, they will be flying at 7500ft all the way keeping just above the low cloud (overcast below almost all the way). No CBs are forecast or any SIGWX from the SIGMET Reports, with the forecast winds and 01:12Z take-off the flight should take 21h50m landing at 23:02Z 2/9 (16:02 2/9 LA Local) and 01:02 3/9 SA local time.