Flying into KPSP

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by onwards, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. onwards

    onwards Pattern Altitude

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    New airport for me, looked up what I could and now seeking wisdom from this here community.

    Flight will be at the worst time, arriving around 3pm on Friday.
    Plane is a pponk 182, so I’m not worried about performance, even with the heat.
    Coming in from NorCal.

    I see two routes - one is from the west through the Banning pass seems most natural, and I’ve flown into LA many times, will go over Cajun presumably. The other is from the north over Yucca.

    Big question is, I guess, turbulence. Seems like if I come in from the west, I’m going through a wind tunnel of sorts. Is 7500ft good enough to avoid the worst of it? And if so, when would you start your descent? KPSP is an international airport, i presume it’s pretty busy, so I don’t want to be the idiot that causes trouble for everyone.

    From the north I see a different issue - the drop to KPSP seems to suggest I’ll be flying pretty close to the ground even if I am at 5500 or even 7500, and the thermals could be brutal (I’ve flown enough in mountains and desert to have vivid memories).

    Not afraid of turbulence, just wondering what people who know that area think.
     
  2. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Hasn't been that hot recently, so the thermals shouldn't be too too bad... But the Banning pass on a windy day can be rather unpleasant. I've been through there a few times... Mostly either morning or evening and if you're up high, you're fine. Smack dab in the middle of the afternoon might be interesting.

    I'd go through the pass, personally. On approach it's going to get bumpy, but the wings *should* stay on. :)
     
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  3. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I went into KTRM one day in the early evening from the east and it was fine. Fees will eat you alive of course even at the cheaper field. Departed two days later going west through banning pass in the morning. It was quite smooth, IIRC at 6500’.

    OTOH I’ve heard stories of people having a horrible time through there. Depends on the day.
     
  4. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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    When I lived out there, I would cut across to the SW at Palmdale VOR V518, V459, V186 off VNY over to V264 which parallels the mountains over to SBD then just dead head from there into KPSP. Those windmills will give a hint of what to expect

    Thank goodness GPS is king today
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
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  5. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I've done the Banning Pass route mid-day from Fullerton a couple times. Can be bumpy. Not too terrible.

    Also, while it is a listed International Airport, it is pretty sleepy. Don't worry about the number of operations there.

    Last, I usually expected them to kick me to the East and land me on the "short" runway (4900') They didn't. I landed with a paltry 10,000' runway in a 172! But I did depart on that little short thing.

    I was in Palm Springs last weekend. Barely crested 100 degrees. You should be fine.
     
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  6. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The problems with going via Cajon over San Bernardino to the Banning Pass are (1) a lot of light GA traffic down low, plus turbulence; (2) Ontario approaches and departures; and (3) above 8000 or 9000 you're mixing in with the approaches from the east into LAX. If you're on flight following (a good idea) you might get some VFR vectors around them.

    My preferred VFR route from NorCal to KPSP, a few more miles but usually less traffic, tubulence and stress, would be around the northeast flank of Big Bear and Mt. San Gorgonio: KWJF -> LUCER -> L22 -> KPSP.
     
  7. onwards

    onwards Pattern Altitude

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    Thank you. I was going 7500 for these reasons (been there done that, seems like a good altitude), but the potential for constant turbulence that entire stretch is concerning me a bit (I have the fam onboard).

    That's the second route I was looking at (with SOGGI instead of LUCER, because that's came up as the obvious checkpoint on my map). I am just wondering if it would be just as bad due to rising thermals in that corridor? flying out of Sedona once had us shaking pretty bad all the way up to 6000ft or so, and at some point I'm going to have to start coming down for PSP
     
  8. Geosync

    Geosync Filing Flight Plan

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    I fly a stock Cessna T182T out of NorCal and head that way now and then. You should consider a course over the Palmdale area towards Hesperia, Cajon Pass, cross over the west of SBD, left turn through to Banning Pass. It shouldn’t be too turbulent, but you never know. If you try a more direct route, you’ll be slam dunking into PSP. It is doable in your 182, I’ve done it, but wouldn’t do it again. kPSP itself is a peach. “International” in name only. Just remember the runway is massive, you adjust your sight picture accordingly.

    Thing to consider-
    1. Flying over the Palmdale area is rife with military traffic. Every time I pass through I have a near miss with F-16s, AC-130s, MC-12s, strange B-727s, and blackhawks/apaches. ATC will vector these guys right into you and say nothing about it, even though they are on the same freq. Head on a swivel and be ready to deviate before anyone tells you to.

    2. Cumulous build up over the San Gabriels is common. It seems that Cajon Pass is usually better, so that’s another reason to shoot that gap instead of more direct. If you think it will be bad, it may be better to go GMN KBUR KEMT then through Banning Pass at 11.5 and start descending after passing KONT.

    3. If you have 30 + knot tailwinds going down, it will be hell on the leeward side of the San Gabriels. It’s like being in a washing machine. One time I had about a 40 knot tail wind going down, so I was loving my ground speed, but I paid for it once I got SE of the San Gabriels. And I had to return the same day. I tried to cut east of Big Bear on the way back and though Palmdale but it was torture. I had to pull the juice back and only got 90 Kts over the ground(150kts cruise no wind is average for the turbo) which delayed the torture. Never do that again.

    So either Cajon Pass route, or Burbank, El Monte, Ontario etc. route.
     
  9. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Flow down there several times from NorCal in my 182. Have taken the pass via ONT every time at about 6500. NBD. I know it can get bumpy but I hit it once when the surface winds were ripping and got bounced around but I have honestly gotten worse over GMN area going into SoCal.

    PSP is not all that busy. You need to be at 6500 to stay on FF for most of the pass, SoCal will tell ya when you can descend and maintain FF and Radar Contact. They would rather keep you on till your destination.
     
  10. dreyna14

    dreyna14 Pre-Flight

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    Palm Springs is a great place to fly to. Went there back in March and it was smooth through Banning Pass at 7500. If you go through Cajon, you stand a good chance of getting tossed a bit there. We got some good bumps as we passed north of Ontario. Altitude is your friend but coming into PSP you will have to dump it all to get to pattern altitude. The wife and I will probably make PSP a regular trip in the near future.
     
  11. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Took my long cross country IFR to Palm Springs from Tucson. It was great until we decided to leave in 100 degree plus heat and had to fly the Cathedral One departure out of there. Worse bumps I've ever experienced in my plane. I couldn't even change the freqs on the radio.
     
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  12. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    You've done Sedona in the afternoon in summer? Okay. You'll be fine with whatever you face going to PSP.

    My trip out of Sedona one warm afternoon was... sporting to say the least. Lol
     
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  13. Finnelly

    Finnelly Filing Flight Plan

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    I fly there all the time from Seattle. Forget banning. Come over Palmdale at 9500 and fly just north and east of Big Bear then start down. If you aren’t needing to be right near PSP land at Bermuda Dunes or Thermal. Thermal gas is more than a dollar cheaper than anywhere else.

    Dan
     
  14. ActiveAir

    ActiveAir Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I live out here and fly by PSP all the time. At this time of year, a lot depends on what time of day you are flying. Try for morning, before 11 or after 6pm, for smoother air. I have been thru Banning pass a ton, and only a very few times were uncomfortable.

    Winds and heat will create turb.

    PSP is easy. Not a concern at all. Not that busy. Have fun.
     
  15. ActiveAir

    ActiveAir Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just saw that your ETA is 3 PM. Expect bumps from once you cross over the grape vine, all the way to PSP. I would look for better timing if your family is turb adverse.
     
  16. onwards

    onwards Pattern Altitude

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    Sporting is one way of putting it :) you know the whole thing about flying with the tip of your little finger? I was flying with my tonsils, that's how nutty the thing was. My wings were literally flapping outside the windows. Crazy stuff.
     
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  17. Hippike

    Hippike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    bring your swimwear, PSP Atlantic has a nice pool :)
     
  18. TheGolfPilot

    TheGolfPilot Line Up and Wait

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    In the Turbo Bos I go to Palm Springs 17500 both ways. Try to spend 0 time in Banning pass and as few minutes as possible between the tops of the mountains and the ground, around the Coachella valley, without breaking anything. Especially this time of year.

    In normally aspirating planes I go around the north side and avoid banning pass unless it’s still air (which isn’t very often). Passengers hate Banning pass.
     
  19. PlasticCigar

    PlasticCigar Pre-Flight

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    Last time I did it in my Mooney I went high (around 13k) through the pass. My family is comfortable wearing oxygen so we rarely cruise below 10k. LOTS of traffic down low over the pass so I would go as high as you feel comfortable with. As others have mentioned, if there’s any way to go early in the day it will pay dividends in terms of passenger comfort.Worst turbulence I even had was climbing out of PSP 20 years ago

    PSP controllers are great. Even if it’s busy they do a great job.

    I don’t go through LA unless I’m IFR or on flight following. I would recommend you do the same because you can really screw up their arrivals if you’re not talking to anyone.