Locations to take the wife on first flight

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jd21476, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. jd21476

    jd21476 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My wife and I were planning on heading from San Diego to Palm Springs next weekend but the weather is dropping off from the 90's to the high 60's or low 70's so now she doesn't want to go cause it is no longer pool weather. She has never been in the plane before and she is nervous so I dont want to go on a long flight. I want it to be enjoyable and comfortable and to a cool destination with things to do. I was looking at Catalina but Im not sure how she would feel about going over the water. Or possibly Santa Ynez and going to Solvang but that's probably 2 hours of flight time and it may be too long to commit to.

    Any suggestions for the San Diego or LA area?
     
  2. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Wait for the right conditions for the first flight with wife.
     
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  3. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How about something short like CRQ and spend the weekend in Oceanside, or up the coastline to SMO?
     
  4. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    Have you done Catalina before, or would this be your inaugural flight there?

    Santa Ynez is a favorite of ours.
     
  5. Briantime

    Briantime Filing Flight Plan

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    Seconded...a bumpy first flight put my wife off of flying....maybe forever?
     
  6. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Short lunch flight on a benign day for the first flight, then work up from there.
     
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  7. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    Once around the pattern, unless she's been in a small plane before.
     
  8. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    lunch at Riverside, or Gillespie?

    Does F70 have a cafe open again?
     
  9. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you try to do lunch at the cafe at CRQ make sure you park with Western Flight vs. GA transit. The GA transit parking means you're escorted by a guard that won't allow you to return to your plane until he sees your pilot's license. Seemed extreme.

    (This was a year ago, maybe something changed)
     
  10. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    The Two-Niner Diner at Petaluma is nice. I agree that it should be a short trip on a benign day. Gentle turns, telling her what to expect in advance, and gentle descents.

    Bob
     
  11. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yes, this is key. Give as close to an airliner ride as you can master. I always give an airliner type ride to anyone going up for the first time, it's what they're familiar with. If they keep flying with you, you can do steeper turns and fun stuff later.
     
  12. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    Take her up for a 25 minute flight, when conditions are ideal. After that, one smooth landing back at the departure airport. Then go out & talk about it. No need to ‘go’ anywhere.
     
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  13. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Easy flight over your house and back on a calm day. Worked for me back in the day.

    Cheers
     
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  14. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    Don't make a plan to "go" anywhere. A short flight only is best for your first flight as PIC with your spouse. Get this right, it will have lasting consequences!

    Wait for a clear, no wind morning and head up the El Cap reservoir, up around the Ramona area and just sight-see. Show her some of those uber-expensive dream homes on the side of the hill and how pretty the scenery is up along the foothills. If you know where a waterfall is check it out (there used to be some terrific ones around there, but its been nearly 40 years since I've done any flying there).

    Plan on a 45 minute to no more than 1 hour of flight time. A light breakfast only. And, be ready to head back if she starts sounding the slightest bit apprehensive. And, get her out of the airplane before the sun starts warming stuff up.

    Then, take her to a nice place for lunch. Get this right, and you might just have a dedicated copilot for life. Screw it up and you'll be like those of us whose wives only tolerate little airplanes, ...or worse.
     
  15. eetrojan

    eetrojan Pattern Altitude

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    My wife just flew with me for the first time a couple Saturday's ago. Funny thing is we flew a short ways from John Wayne (KSNA) to where you live, San Diego.

    We didn't "go" anywhere. We just cruised down the coast, did a low coastal transition and a San Diego bay tour, did a 180 at the Coronado Bridge, and came back. Then we grabbed a great meal near home (brats and beers).

    It was a smooth, beautiful day and an easy flight for her. Do that!
     
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  16. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Agree with many about the short first flight- preferable early in smooth air although you may be contending with the marine layer. Just some sightseeing and stopping at an airport with a decent restaurant that is not your home airport. Maybe French Valley could be a good first quick flight to a restaurant and back. Has a decent airport vibe there but uncontrolled field can be busy so be on your toes coming in to the pattern.

    A few suggestions with pros and cons for when you eventually work up to a destination or if you decide to go for it:

    Catalina is great but the approach can maybe freak her out on first time due to the runway being on a cliff and looking short and being over water etc. You have to take a shuttle down to town (does she get car sick- roads are twisty turny) and there is lots to do. Zip lining, jeep tours, hiking (requires free permit ahead of time), snorkeling (you can rent wetsuits there), boating, kayaking etc etc.

    Big Bear is fun for hiking and lots of other stuff to do. Will be probably nice brisk weather good for getting outside and moving if you like that sort of thing. You can find lots of hiking or biking trails, there is an alpine slide (yes fun for adults even!), and there's always the scenic chairlift or boating on the lake. Cons would be if she doesn't want cooler weather and also it can be bumpy flying into the mountains and you want to make sure your plane is capable due to the somewhat higher DA than you are probably used to. Definitely good to run performance numbers and research local procedures.

    Santa Barbara can be a nice destination. Airport is 10-20 from town and uber is easy to get there. Great views flying up the coast. You can get a bit of the rockstar vibe parking at one of the fancy FBOs there....

    Santa Ynez and Solvang are great. Just took my kids there and made this video- hopefully it gives you an idea of what its like there....





    Let us know what you decide and we can offer more local tips on the destination. :)
     
  17. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    If you have good weather, in the air right before sunrise enroute to breakfast somewhere close.
     
  18. Domenick

    Domenick Pre-Flight

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    Might not be the best idea to use the first half of her first flight to fill up her stomach, then fly back. Do not fly over a long stretch of water. Go someplace YOU are familiar with. You do not want her to see you figure out what runway, pattern direction, altitude, or fumble with ATC. Remember, you may be MORE nervous than she.

    I had people standing in line for my first flight before I passed my checkride. My wife wouldn't fly with me for a year. After our first flight, when I finally asked why, she said, "I thought you would fly like you drive."
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  19. jd21476

    jd21476 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So after talking tot he wife we are thinking of just hitting up the cafe at F70 for lunch so we can get back in time to pick up the kids from school. I wanted to go to SMO but that may be a little longer than she wants. I commute to work from San Diego to Redlands every week so the flight to F70 is very normal for me.
     
  20. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    that should be perfect. Hope it goes great!
     
  21. George Mohr

    George Mohr Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah, and as all the others said, pick a great day with stable conditions (no turbulence).
     
  22. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Wait for a calm evening and take her up to watch the sun go down. She’ll love it, trust me!
     
  23. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Or a calm morning and watch it come up.


    Tom