Fly Girl in Training: Flying a Bonanza over the Golden Gate Bridge

Flying a Beech Bonanza over San Francisco at sunset. Doesn’t get much better than that!

“Executive tower, this is Banana 212 Romeo Juliet…”


“That’s BONANZA 212…”

My introduction to complex, high-performance aircraft began with a rush of anxiety, that just like my first time flying left seat many months ago, didn’t quit until we were on the ground at home many hours later.
In fact, I tried to chicken out!

To celebrate my return from a long conference on the East Coast, Mr. T suggested we take the Beech Bonanza out to Half Moon Bay. Never one to say no to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or enjoying calamari by the ocean, I said yes. But when T regaled me information about the plane’s historic reputation as a “doctor killer” and some of the nuances of the aircraft controls that would perform differently than the Cessna 182 I usually fly, I suggested that perhaps he fly left seat on the way to lunch so I could observe.

He responded with something pithy and unfit for publication here, and so we went…

What makes the Bonanza complex: Retractable gear!
Getting into a new airplane required orienting myself to the instrument panel which looked quite different than the 182. Consequently, I wasted time having to remember where critical knobs and dials were located.
It surprised me how much my workload seemed to increase having to retract the gear upon take-off while managing the engine and constant speed prop. Just one extra task, coupled with general unfamiliarity got my blood pumping.
Nerves aside, I enjoyed flying over the Bay on a gorgeous sunny Fall afternoon.
Flying over the I-80 corridor. So many people.
Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the distance. Pictured is the Bay Bridge.
Flying the coast line. The left most green patch is the Presidio and the broad green swath is Golden Gate Park.
Flying the Bonanza over Golden Gate Bridge. At this point, I really miss my high-wing 182!
A non-foggy day at the Bay. Miracles.
The luckiest student pilot in the world.
On the way to Half Moon Bay.
Flying in the Bay Area is a challenge thanks to air space. The biggest concern is staying out of the class Bravo from San Francisco International Airport and trying not to hit anyone else in the corridor.
T says my landing at Half Moon Bay was good, but it felt all kinds of wrong since I was going a bit faster than usual and flying near hills and dealing with a busy airport. This student pilot’s brain almost exploded.
But the reward for hard work was sweet. Half Moon Bay!
We eat at the Half Moon Bay Brewery mostly because it’s close and partly because the patio is lovely. We enjoyed watching someone performing aerobatics in a Yak right above the restaurant.
Stupid time change meant no dawdling.
Heading back to Sacramento as the sun set.
The return flight felt more comfortable, but still challenging. Not being used to the sounds and movements of the Bonanza, I felt a little on edge. T said that’s pretty typical of transitioning into a new plane.
San Francisco at sunset. One of those white specks is another plane.
Me and my love. Thanks for not letting me chicken out! Although I won’t be flying much in the Bonanza, save for the occasional jaunt, I enjoyed its capabilities and comfort.
Smooth air over the water.
Flying is the best way to get to Half Moon Bay or anywhere near San Francisco. I scoped out the freeway traffic. No thank you.
Flying next to the Golden Gate Bridge. Sausalito is on the left.
San Francisco!
See that traffic??
Feeling so blessed to see views like this.
Right about here, the light died. We landed at Nut Tree/Vacaville to get fuel and by that time, darkness fell so T flew us home to Executive. All in all a fabulous flight!


Other “Fly Girl in Training” posts:

National Blog Posting Month:

Day 14- Cliteracy

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