This past Friday I found myself needing to attend a meeting in the morning in Sacramento, Ca and another in the afternoon in Turlock, Ca. The two cities are about an hour and a half apart. Coming back from Sacramento in the afternoon wouldn’t be so bad but driving up their in the morning would involve sitting in traffic. Not one of my favorite passtimes.
So I called up my counter-part up in Sacramento and asked him if he’d pick me up at Sacramento Executive (KSAC). Being a lapsed private pilot and looking for any excuse to go to the airport he readily agreed.
Friday morning came and I pulled my trusty RV-4 out of the hangar and preflighted. It was a little chilly but I didn’t bother bringing a jacket because by the time afternoon came I knew I’d be sweating. I put KSAC into the GPS and pointed the RV northwest. 20 minutes later I was on downwind at SAC. I touched down and taxied to what I hoped was transient parking. My partner in crime was waiting in the terminal just as promised and we headed off to the morning meeting.
Four hours later we had accomplished our mission (working with HP to figure out how to redistribute our OSPF routes into BGP… fascinating, I know) and had finished lunch. My buddy dropped me off at the airport again stating that he needed to get back into the air. I took a leisurely stroll out the the RV. It was right where I left it with no parking tickets or anything so I guess I really was in transient parking. That or it was too hot for the airport meter maid to walk out there.
Ten minutes later I was climbing out of SAC at 1700 fpm and hit the one and only glitch of the whole trip. I received the following radio transmission: “1SV, sir, do you have a transponder on that thing?” Thing? THING? Bud not even that BizJet that just left can climb out of your airspace while still over the runway! My reply: “Um.. YES I do, my apologies.” I switched on my transponder just as I climbed out of his airspace.
Twenty minutes later I was on final at Oakdale (O27). I made a great landing with no one there to see it and taxied back to the hangar. I was getting my laptop out of the back seat when my phone rang. It was my co-deacon at church. His message was that the afternoon meeting at church had been cancelled, no need to rush. Cool. I put the airplane to bed and headed home feeling far more relaxed than I would have if I had driven.
Did I save any time? Not really. I could have driven there in about the same time. Did I save any frustration. Yep. Did I have a whole lot more fun? You bet!