On /r/flying — a Reddit board for pilots — some enterprising folks had declared that they wanted to have SoCal redditor pilots meet up at Flo’s in Chino. I reserved one of our planes, leaving a note on it of where I was going. Another club member got in touch with me and said he’d love to go too — except that it’d be great if I picked him up at Torrance. I said, sure, why not.
So a couple of days before the meetup, I get a note from the club. Apparently a magneto needed replacing, and the guy who could do it was only available the morning of my flight. The meetup was at 12:30pm, and I had the plane reserved from 11am. They were going to start working on the magneto at 8am but weren’t sure how long it would take.
I show up at the airport at 10:30am, to discover them working on the magneto. I ask someone how long it would take, and they say, well, two hours, but you know how these things go — hinting at much longer. I sigh, message the guy waiting to meet me at Torrance that it won’t work out, and head on home.
Except then I get this crazy idea. I haven’t flown the Arrow from Proteus in a while, but I’m technically checked out in one. I love that plane, and it’s nice and fast which would make up for the fact that it’s expensive and further. I text the guy in Torrance and drive back to KSMO. Except I am feeling a bit out of practice, and I remember being behind the plane on takeoff when I was training, and I don’t want to be behind a more complex plane with a passenger. So, I get to Proteus and ask for someone to do a pattern with me to make me feel safer.
Well, it’s 11:30 when I get to Proteus, and there’s no instructor there, but he’ll be back in a half an hour. He does get back at noon, by which time I’ve got the Arrow with a completed preflight, ready to go. We jump in, but he wants to do a slightly longer refresher, complete with an emergency gear extension. So, ok, we go to Malibu, drop the gear, and come back and land. I let him out, and get right back in the air for the mini-route to Torrance. Between all this refresher training and the additional distance, I get to Torrance shortly after 1pm. Pick up the guy, and we get to Chino — shut down the plane, walk to Flo’s… only to see the entire Reddit group stand up, say goodbye to one another, and fly their merry way back home.
We just had lunch by our lonesomes. Well, also one guy was still left there with his wife and kid.
We flew back to Torrance, I dropped my club-mate off, take another mini-route to KSMO and return the plane. After I get home I check my phone, which contains a message from the folks at my club saying the plane I had booked was actually ready at 12:30pm in case I still wanted to use it.
Sigh. I was going to go on a maybe-1.5-hr flight in a cheap Cessna, and instead went on an almost-3-hr flight in a more than twice as expensive Piper, plus had to pay an instructor for a good chunk of an hour and two landing fees at Santa Monica. I’m glad for getting reacquainted with the Arrow (I really do like this plane a ton), but it blew through the flying budget I had for the month and made me get a no-fly fee from the club since I wouldn’t be flying their aircraft in December.
Lesson learned: just wait for your plane instead of changing plans.
Total: 2.9 hrs in Piper Arrow (P28R-200).