Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lake Tahoe - Vacaville (Nut Tree) / Beechcraft Baron 58 (N2720V) / IFR

I've had a Baron parked at Lake Tahoe for ages. Today I flew from there to Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, which is just north of Travis Air Force Base in NorCal. I took four passengers with me.

The weather was mostly light IMC, although it was pretty solid IMC while departing Lake Tahoe. Fortunately, the Baron has a boatload of expensive avionics installed and is certified for entry into known icing conditions, so I was well prepared. I couldn't see much of anything for the first eight or ten minutes of the flight, but the weather cleared as we got out of the mountains. (The picture shown here was taken over Auburn, looking southeast towards the mountains.)

There was a low cloud deck that came in below the mountains and looked like fog, but it wasn't, since once I got under it it was pretty clear. We had some significant turbulence along the way that upset the tummies of some of my passengers a bit, but we all got through it without any airsick bags. I offered some oxygen to my passengers at the beginning of the trip because we had to climb to 11,000, but all declined (I used it, though—you can't be too careful).

The MEA was 11,000 as far as AUDIO, but as soon as I could I descended. I don't like being up where the air is too thin in an unpressurized aircraft.

Anyway, we got in safely. Weather was VMC below 4000 or so, so I made a visual approach to runway 20 at Nut Tree, with ILS as back-up.