Van Nuys Airport (KVNY)

Van Nuys, California


Two of my former students (former, because they each passed their check rides for their Private Pilot several days apart from each other) wanted to go on a LONG cross-country.  I suggested Van Nuys Airport in Southern California.  Since they had never been that far they asked if I could come along for advice/guidance while we were enroute.  Raghav would fly the flight to Van Nuys and Rohan would fly the trip back home.

Off on our adventure, Van Nuys, here we come!  Shot over the shoulder of San Jose...


San Luis Reservoir


Rohan, sits in the back while Raghav takes the controls to fly us to Van Nuys.

I-5 below, will lead us just about all the way to our destination


Lost Hills Airport, one of our waypoints


Just some of the many oil wells in the Bakersfield area.  Some active, some abandoned/unused

Raghav says, "Hey, look, Rohan's asleep!"  I told him, with a grin, that it was a testament to the smoothness of his flying.  Although I mentioned he would likely awake by the time we went over the Tejon Pass around Gorman

Our path is clear.  Just follow the road and it will lead us through the Tejon Pass.  We had been monitoring, simultaneously, air-to-air and Flight Watch com. frequencies.  We'd heard a couple of reports of moderate turbulence in the pass.  Trying to be positive, I reminded Rohan and Raghav that the thing about weather is that it is always changing - and perhaps the reports were overstated.

There aren't that many pictures through the pass on our way down, because I was coaching Raghav on how best to deal with the fairly consistent light-moderate turbulence we were experiencing in our flight through the pass.

We were bumped about pretty much all the way through the Tejon Pass and the Newhall Pass (which is the last shorter pass to go through before entering the L.A. area Basin).  Here we are on downwind cleared for 34R.  The tower radioed an update that the winds were gusting from 20 - 28 knots, 30 degrees to the right off the runway heading AND shearing from 30 to 50 degrees in addition to the 8 knot gust spread.  So as we were turning from base-to-final I offered to Raghav that I might follow through with him on this approach as the winds were presenting a crosswind component that was easily at (or more at times) than the max demonstrated crosswind component.

As we neared the runway and lowered the upwind wing to maintain our ground track over the runway in the crosswind, I had to put in FULL (all there was) opposite rudder in order to longitudinally align the nose with the direction of track/travel.  Worked well, until we were slowing in our flare (losing some of the rudder authority due to the slower air flow over the rudder) and touched down slightly angled to the right.

After we touched down and tied-down the plane near the Airtel Plaza Hotel's transient tie-down area (you have to be either a guest or going to their restaurant or cafe, to use the parking area), we watched some of the landings behind us.  By now, the wind maintained it's direction but by the extension of the windsock it was clear the winds had significantly diminished in velocity and gust spread from the winds we had experienced in our challenging crosswind landing.  Timing, as they say, is everything <grin>...... :)

Raghav (left) and Rohan (right) with the Van Nuys tower between them in the background.  These two, headed for the airlines in their home country (India) after they are done with the rest of their certificate training (they are currently both working on their instrument rating).  The two, took great delight in watching the corporate and LARGER jets that landed and took off from this field.  Indeed, Van Nuys Airport is the ultimate G.A. airport (the busiest G.A. airport in the country).

Raghav insisted that we have a 'photo moment', so we found this standing plaque and used it as our centerpiece.  Off to the left of Rohan is the Landings Restaurant (where they insisted on treating me to lunch as a 'thank you' for help in training them towards their Private Pilot certificate) and a cafe on the far left of the photo.

I'm usually not much for including myself in my webpage photos (after all, don't want to scare my website readers <grin>), but Raghav and Rohan insisted that we needed a photo of each of us together.

Just one of those unwritten laws,,,, if you start to say something that will trigger the photographer to shoot the picture. :0)

Van Nuys tower in the background, looking out from the transient tie-down area for the hotel.

We took our time, had lunch and took off at 4PM.  Predictably winds had continued to die down considerably.

Raghav in the back seat now and we are both ribbing Rohan about the fact that there is now, virtually NO turbulence as we go through the passes.  Again.... ah, timing is everything! :0)

Interesting cloud shadow, on the ground...

Castaic Lake

I-5 winding through the pass....

In the tan area to our right are several airports including General William Fox Field. 

Made it through the Tejon and Newhall passes, now we are once again flying over flat land.  Below, highway 5 points the way..

The hills of 'home'.  Coyote Lake with Anderson Reservoir/Lake in the distance.

What an excellent shared adventure today was!  A great learning experience for my former students, with lessons that I hope will stay with them for a lifetime.  I also hope I was able to instill some of the joy and adventure that aviation can immerse our spirits in.

A most splendid adventure!

Good Flights!  J


Below graphic designed by: Jeff Bucchino,

"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner)

Click PilotGuy to fly home 1