Ukiah Municipal Airport (KUKI)

Ukiah, California

First Flight With Dad

  November 14, 2000

  Took my dad up for his first flight in a light aircraft (C-152).  I had flown him (via commercial airlines) from his home in Seattle to take him up with my 'new' PPL to Ukiah Airport (UKI), California, from Reid-Hillview Airport (RHV) in San Jose, CA.

My dad's first flight worked well, all around.  We actually made the trip to UKI on Sunday.  We arrived at the airport on Saturday (RHV), I filed my flight plan and got my briefing (the briefer told me it would be
VFR all the way).  Did my preflight with my dad following along (I think having a passenger walk through a preflight with you, is a good way to calm nerves-- though I must say my dad was most calm throughout the experience).

So, we took off, I was just passing over Calaveras Reservoir and saw a cloud ceiling above me (couldn't really see it from RHV cause it was relatively low over the hills) got as far as Calaveras Reservoir and now the cloud
ceiling was dropping as I progressed (I was only at 3000 ft MSL (Mean sea level), at that point, waiting to climb to cruise alt of 4500 for when the cloud bank disappeared,,, which it didn't do).  As far as I could see in the direction of travel, the cloud level just looked like it was getting lower and lower.  So I made my first PIC, no-go decision and decided to head back, since there was no safe way to advance and the possibility of the clouds dropping lower behind me was also a possibility.  Anyhow, I ended up taking my dad over Gilroy and south of Hollister (where it was significantly clearer) where he got to see (from a great distance) skydivers and gliders with their tow planes.

 After our flight, Saturday, I told my dad that I would take him up to Ukiah on Sunday (weather permitting) since I had the foresight to reserve the plane for two days. 

  The next day the weather was perfect and we were off on our adventure.

Looking down at San Jose.  Just after takeoff.

Calaveras Reservoir

Aerial view of Walnut Creek







A view of Benicia Bridge and the Navy ‘mothball fleet’ to the right.

   After passing Napa airport, I flew up to the town of St. Helena, set my navigation radio for the Sonoma VOR and set the OBS for a specific outbound radial which would mark the point to begin the turn to STS.  Worked beautifully, waited till the needle briefly centered (indicating that I had just crossed over the radial) and then set the OBS for a TO reciprocal heading (i.e., from the FROM I had originally set) over flew STS and then followed the outbound radial to UKI.  Actually, at that point the VOR use was only academic as I had more than enough visual aids to guide me, not to mention the magnetic headings I had calculated and my GPS (I always try to have three means of navigation that I am using at any one time, that way if they all are in agreement I have confirmation that all is going fine).

I have to tell you that even though I plan my navigation along my route very carefully, whenever I've done 'cross-country' flights, it still 'amazes' me in a way that it works so well - even though 'logically' I understand why it would work,,, it just amazes me that all those calculations actually work, when applied J.

Another view while flying over the Benicia Bridge

A distant view of the town of Saint Helena

Just over the ridge, Clear Lake

Flying up the valley towards Ukiah

Lake Mendocino, just North of Ukiah Airport; with plans to turn over the lake so that I can turn around to make my 45º into the downwind leg of the 'pattern'.

Approaching Ukiah Airport..... my dad is really snapping the pictures now! <grin>

On final to Ukiah Airport

Almost there…..


Pilot Guy J

Father of Pilot Guy J



Ukiah city limits….


A kind-of-cool side note, I got to see my instructor at the FBO just before we left for my flight (I made sure I told him about my no-go decision from the day before so that he would know that he had done a good job teaching me to be a safe pilot) and then saw him again when we were tying down our plane, just as he was walking over to the FBO after just finishing a lesson with a student.  My dad thanked him for doing such a good job training me as a pilot, made me feel good 'cause it echoed the same sentiments that I had
about the quality of my
CFI's instruction of me as his student.  John (my CFI) asked if we made it all the way and I told him we did,, had our $100 hamburger at the Beacon Restaurant across the street from the airport.  John looked thoroughly pleased/happy about my flight - kind of think he was recalling a time when I, as his student, had just been endorsed to solo at another airport,,, yet it took me a short while to get the gumption' to leave the pattern of my airport for South County..... and NOW I was happily flying to airports a couple of HOURS away. :-)

My dad made an entry in my passenger journal and was very pleased and proud throughout the experience,,, yeah, his son (me) was kind of glowing to hear his accolades as well.  It all worked out so well, since the weather on Sunday was clear all the way up and back, with a negligible amount of winds.

Yep,,, still glowing.....  I had been looking forward to the day I could take my dad in the plane with me as a pilot,,, kind of one of those older father and son moments, so very, very special sharing something I loved (and worked very hard at) with my dad in the right seat ( he was just so enthralled and proud).... oops, kind of getting 'misty' so I better stop typing before I happily cry my eyes out ;-)

Below graphic designed by: Jeff Bucchino,

"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner)

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