Hells bells it’s extremely hot here! Our day started as expected, FAA kept their side of the deal and handed Mike the document at 7:30am in Long Beach. Matt drove Mike back to Torrance where Jim and I had the Bullet warmed up and waiting. Mike finalised the flight planning and we had a quick breakfast on the run.We said our goodbyes to our good friends,Matt, Ryan and Derek from the MGL / Airplanefactory, Nancy who so kindly looked after our well being and got us onto the Robinson factory tour at the last minute, and of course Jim who you all know by now was a heaven sent help with all our logistics and preparations. We were rather sad that Jon Thornburgh wasn’t there for us to greet and thank. Jon Is a great inspiration and very generously gave us a rather large pile of brand new dollar bills to help us “smooth” our path south. Thanks Jon, they already been a great Greaser!
So with Matt and Ryan to Escort us in a Samba we took off and had a lovely scenic flight down the west coast, from La down to Brown Field. That place is amazing! Other than the vibrant beauty, we saw and flew past and over more serious airports than I think are on the whole African continent, all in about an hour .I hope the pictures give some idea. Clearing Customs at Brown field was effortless and then it was time to finally say cheers to Mad Matt and Randy Ryan ( Maybe that should be the other way around?)
Strapped in, start up, clearance and then off we went to Mexico. Now one thinks of leaving the States and flying to Mexico taking a bit of time. In this case it happened like this. As soon as we were on climb out, still on runway heading the tower told us to change frequency for Tijuana tower and turn left. So this we did and as we looked left there was Tijuana runway just over the border which seemed to be marked by a freeway. South we proceeded, into a very fast warming mass of air. Luckily we were only carrying about 400 litres of gas so the Bullet climbed faithfully to about 2500′ in the 37 degree oven. This was so different to the flying I had become accustomed to. Mountains, desert, rock and turbulence and more mountains ,rock and turbulence. It is great to watch Mike flying, tweaking here tweaking there and then looking out at the surroundings with a look on his face like a proud father who is wondering to himself, if this one is so good imagine the next one. James and I raved so much to Mike about the Bullets performance, and have both been really keen to see Mikes opinion after flying her in critical conditions. I think Mike is going to get even more magic from his baby!
Within an hour during which I stole a few catnaps, San Felipe was in our sites. The coastline of the Bay of California was on our left and the rest was desert sweeping up to the first mountain range. Joining and landing instruction from a sweet Mexican lady in the tower amounted to “Yes, Cleared to land, no traffic”. The temp had now crept up to 43 degree C . Mike did a perfect job of the landing with full wings, and we slowly taxied to the small terminal building where we were met by three uniformed, polite, non english speaking soldiers. After a quick formality check of licences and bags we were directed to immigration in the small building. We were handled professionally and swiftly with no nonsense and after a few dollars we were sent on our way with all the bits we needed to fly through Mexico.
When we left the airconditioned building the heat outside hit us. It was 45 degrees C out there. We had left the doors of the plane open to try keep things cool. When we got in onto sizzling hot seats and tried to close the doors the heat had caused them to take a new shape( they were not post cured with heat due to time constraints) Well now they are! Of course we managed to close them and off we went. After calling up the tower for clearance the answer was as brief as before, “taxi, backtrack, cleared, no traffic, good flight” was about it. Great place this, so that is what we did. We were both thrilled at the performance of our Bullet in this gigantic oven. The rest of the flight was much better as we joined the coastline as we scooted down to Loreto, the air was smooth and the view was good. The mountains along the coast grew quiet big and required some attention to keep them out of the cockpit.
We landed at Loreto at about 5:45pm local time, which proved to be a good thing because if we got here after six pm, call out fees would have been exorbitant and we may still be there. A quick ride to a brand new very posh hotel got us into good spirits for the evening. Of course the pool filled with a few heavenly bodies and patrolled by a barman did even more to make us a little happier, so needless to say Mike and I sank a few beers in the pool, met a great guy, Bret and his haram of lovely beauties as well as his two sons. After that we decided to hit town for a bite. Well I never, or rather will never tell what we saw. A sort of a festival was going on, we had a fine meal at a stall washed it down with a beer and here we are. Mike is asleep and I need to get some too.
We are planning to wake early tomorrow and head down south as far as we can. Concerning the tracker we only found out just now that it stopped working. We will see what we can do and will probably run the portable one too.
Good night and have a superb ding dong day!
Below are some photos sent through to us of the guys’ last day in LA and departure from Torrance Airfield in Los Angeles, as well as the flight to Brown Field Airport before they went over the border into Mexico
The photos and videos were taken from a mobile phone, so it is a bit smaller than normal.