Our friends from Oregon are in town, a couple with kids our kids’ ages. I’d taken the dad and their older kid up with Mateo on a trip to Chino before, and they were hoping I’d be able to take them flying again.
So, not that there is a plane parked five minutes from home, we decided to just jump in and go! After a dinner at home, we (including Mateo) drove over to the airport, did a preflight, and went on a nice sunset-time flight. We went to Malibu, orbited Point Dume, and then flew over to Van Nuys where I dropped them off to be picked up by the rest of their family who drove up to meet them.
For me, there were a few things new. First, I had loaded the plane up to nearer max takeoff weight than ever before. It wasn’t quite AT max weight, but enough closer that I got a taste of what it might feel like to fly with a heavier plane. I can’t say that I felt much of a difference except that we didn’t climb as well, perhaps.
Second, I wanted to try keeping the prop at 2700 rpm, since — I just recently realized — my POH supplement for my propeller says that keeping continuous operation at 2700 is approved. However, that also meant my CHTs are higher than I wanted them to be (cylinder #1 is always quite hot for me in climb and in cruise, and limits my power settings more than I’d like), so I backed off and went to lower power climb a few minutes after takeoff.
Second, I was trying my new headsets. Since my family and I are planning a long distance cross country flight to Toronto in a few weeks, I bought some new Lightspeed headsets — two Sierras for the kids, and a Zulu 3 for myself (my old Zulu 2 would be used by Linda). It was good to test this: Mateo complained that his Sierra was crackling and indeed it was when I tried it on. I didn’t do enough troubleshooting to figure out why, however. My own headset sounded weirdly worse than the Zulu 2 though I figured out later than the headset didn’t turn its ANR on automatically and thus was just in passive mode for a good chunk of the flight. The Sierras (or their plugs or intercom stations) will need some additional troubleshooting.
Third, I landed at Van Nuys to drop off passengers. I called up a bunch of the FBOs there to see how much they charge for drop off… Castle & Cooke appeared the best in that they waived the charge if you took in some fuel, so I went there. Drop off went fine, but the FBO couldn’t start their fuel truck (shows how often they fuel 100LL), and I wanted to get back to SMO before I had to have night currency to land with Mateo. So I had to leave my contact info and we’ll see if they waive some of the fee since it really wasn’t my fault they couldn’t give me fuel.
Fourth, this was really my first evening time landing in the Diamond. No issues there, in fact my landing was nice and soft.
All in all, good flight, some stuff to work on, and a good ride given to good friends.