Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bishop - Imperial / Cessna Citation X (N726YL) / IFR

Trying to break out of routine, I flew from Eastern Sierra Regional Airport (KBIH) in Bishop, California, to Imperial County Airport (KIPL), near the southern shore of the Salton Sea. It's about 300 nm as the crow flies, but you can't really fly like a crow because of vast amounts of restricted airspace that get in the way. I took a slight western detour around the restricted stuff and the flight was about an hour.

It's good to get off the beaten path, for both me and ATC. ATC sees a constant stream of 13-year-olds flying into and out of LAX in this part of the country, and they probably get tired of seeing the same old arrivals and departures day after day. My flight was just a bit unusual, which broke things up, for all of us.

Bishop is a small airport and the runways are just barely long enough to allow a Citation to depart on a hot day. I prudently took off with flaps 15 and throttled up with my feet on the brakes just to be extra sure. As it was, we left the runway with plenty of length left over.

I was sloppy on this IFR flight. On the way up after takeoff, I realized that I really should have followed the obstacle departure for the airport, although weather was very clear so I wasn't really in any danger. The mountains nearby are potentially worrisome if visibility is limited. I messed up even more on the way into Imperial. The only published approach is a VOR/GPS circling approach, which got me all confused as I neared the airport. Fortunately, the weather was severe clear, so I canceled IFR as I got closer and just kinda sorta entered the pattern for runway 32, and landed successfully. There was no other traffic at the time so I got away with this.