Island Breakfast Hop
August 27, 2005
Click on any picture for larger view. (Note: The camera clock is still an hour slow.)
A morning breakfast hop to Catalina Island's on-field cafe. Brad Bernard was in the right seat as photographer. We took N4975F departing Montgomery (MYF) on 28L. Mt. Soledad, Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Oceanside, and Dana Point were visual waypoints enroute (see route chart below).
I pre-flight the plane. We chatted a moment
with another pilot who was also headed to Catalina.
We took off from Montgomery (MYF) at 8:15 am,
and shortly later glance back at La Jolla, then UCSD and Torrey Pines as we
climbed through 3,500 ft.
The Del Mar race track and lagoon went by
quickly at 4,500 ft.
Out from under the San Diego class B airspace
by Oceanside and San Onofre nukes, climbing through 8,500 ft.
At 10,500 ft (barometric; GPS showed 11,500 ft)
over Dana Point, we started over the 35 NM of water to Catalina.
At the half-way point over the Catalina
isthmus, following the 247 VOR radial inbound.
At 6 NM out, we had descended as planned to
6,000 ft (4,000 ft over the airfield) and radioed our intentions to Catalina
UNICOM for a right pattern entry to Catalina (Avalon, AVX). Making our approach
we go to the right of the airfield then hook left to enter on the 45, which then
takes us left of the airfield on the downwind where we radioed for landing
The right pattern for runway 22 takes us back
out over the water where we turn right for the final approach. We came in a bit
high but had a good short-field approach and lofted in just past the numbers.
Winds were about 7 KTs from the NW, making the
right-cross-wind landing a piece of cake. We parked the plane in front of the ASOS station
and headed for the FBO & cafe.
Outside the Catalina FBO office, showing AVX's
UNICOM 'control tower'.
Inside the FBO is a rustic western combo gift
shop/cafe, hosted by a bored-looking buffalo.
(Not shown, we order simple eggs, browns, bacon, toast & coffee breakfasts, and chat with a few other pilots.)
Outside the FBO after breakfast, we watched a
shuttle bus disappear over the crest for Avalon, and a DC-3 cargo plane did a
big rumbling takeoff.
We did our startup checklist and announced our
taxiing downhill to runway 22. After our run-up checklist, we radio for takeoff approval
and then takeoff uphill. Catalina is not officially a towered airport, but because
the airfield has a hill on it planes on opposite ends of the runway can't see
each other; so the UNICOM tower controls traffic for safety. We ended up needing
1,700 ft of runway, just over half of the 3,000 ft available, because of the
heat, the hill, and the airfield's 1,600 ft elevation.
Climbing out of the airfield we turn right on
the cross-wind with a nice view of the open Pacific and the northern end of the
We climb through 3,000 ft in the downwind for
our departure. At 4,500 ft one last look back at the airfield quickly falling
away behind us.
Avalon is chock-full of boats. Some nice shots
of Avalon bay, including its drum-shaped casino.
Climbing through 6,625 ft, we keep the plane's
altitude such that we can safely glide back to Catalina if necessary.
At the half-way point across the isthmus we are again at about
10,000 ft, approaching Dana Point.
Passing San Onofre and Oceanside, there's a
flotilla of Navy/Marine boats in an exercise.
Brad, ever the golf fan, captures several views
of Torrey Pines where we get our approach clearance from Montgomery.
A few good views of La Jolla and the disputed
Mt. Soledad cross, Mission Bay and Tecolate Canyon golf course as we make left pattern entry for runway 28L.
After turning left at Qualcomm stadium and left
again at I-15, we're on final approach to MYF runway 28L. We're back on the
ground by 10:55 am.
Our 85 NM route is in red below (would be about 75 NM direct). The round-trip flight used 22 GALs of fuel in 1.9
hours on the Hobbs meter, leaving us 18 GALs (1.5+ hours) of reserve when we