2012-Aug-25 : Fly-Out to Lodi (1O3)
After all the kids went home from another successful Young Eagles event, the remaining volunteer pilots and guests, including me, went on a fly-out to Lodi, just north of Stockton. We had a total of 8 people attending, and the day was beautiful and promising for a relaxing flight over the countryside.
There were 4 planes total: Harry and I in his Citabria, John and Mike in John’s Citabria, George and David in a Cessna 172, and my dad and mom, Mike and Becky, in our own Cessna 172. There were no problems taking off; we were out of Hayward airport and on our way to Lodi. The Citabrias took off as a flight of two. After leaving the Hayward airspace, Harry let me take control of his Citabria and fly most of the way to our destination. His plane is a beautiful blue and white aircraft with blue stripes going along its body. It is a tandem seated, high-wing, single engine taildragger where the pilot sits in front and the passenger sits directly behind. The Citabria is also an aerobatic plane; in fact, “Citabria” is “airbatic” spelled backwards, as Harry told me when I was first introduced to it.
While still at the Hayward airport, Harry did all of the preparation, which included taxiing, radioing for permission to enter air traffic, and performing the run-up. We took off on a right crosswind departure from 28-right. After our climb, we reached the hills that marked the edge of Hayward airspace. Harry let me take control of the plane and fly all the way to the Lodi airport. Throughout the flight, I focused on keeping on course and staying in range with John in his Citabria nearby so that we could fly as a group. I kept the plane at a constant altitude as we flew over the farms, small towns, rivers, and lakes of California’s Central Valley. Looking out over the landscape, I was able to pinpoint our location on the sectional as we passed to the right side of a large lake west of Stockton.
Thirty minutes passed, and before we knew it we were flying in range of the Lodi
airport. Harry took control of the plane once we were near the airport and landed.
The airport was not very busy, but there were some jumpers who were parachuting
just southwest of the airfield. To stay safe, we had to circle around the airport
and come in from behind to avoid jumpers. We landed smoothly and seamlessly, taxied
the plane to the guest parking area, and went straight for the Lodi Airport Café.
The on-site restaurant was small café and very pleasant; it had an airport-themed
styling. The ceiling was modeled after the roof of an aircraft hangar, with ridgelines
running across from wall to wall and had a decorative propeller just in front of
the front counter. As we sat down at our table, we noticed the top was made with
material that resembled the aluminum body of aircraft. It had nail rivets running
along in a square pattern all along the table, and bent over on the sides. Their
menu had a good selection of California-style sandwiches, salads, garlic fries,
and coleslaw, but the majority of us ordered the popular Airport Burger.
After a delicious meal, we took some group photos outside and prepared for take-off. On the ride back, I decided to fly with my mom and dad in the Cessna. Some of the others refueled at Lodi, but we flew to Livermore for gas. As we were taking off, Michael stood along side of the runway with a camera ready to take our picture.
The flight back was pleasant and short. After a quick refueling in Livermore, we
went across the hills surrounding Lake Del Valle, and flew over our house in Fremont.
We had no problems landing, were able to quickly park the plane, and put everything
away. This was a fun day of flying.
- Katie Smith
Number of People: 8
Number of Planes: 4 – Citabria x 2, Cessna 172 x 2