With one of this year’s AOPA Regional Fly-ins so close to home I couldn’t really not attend. It was held this past weekend (June 21-22, 2019) in Livermore, CA, about 25 NM east of KSFO.
I had intended to fly to the event, however the weather patterns had other plans. There were no clouds or reduced visibilities (except for the marine layer in the SF bay area) but a fairly weak cold front managed to arrive in the area Thursday.
The front didn’t bring weather but it did bring wind. Interestingly on Wednesday evening I had attended a FAASafety Team seminar which included a segment on mountain flying and local weather systems.
According to the speaker, one situation to really try and avoid is winds blowing at 90 degrees across the ridges or within 30 degrees either side of that 90 degree direction, especially if the winds are 25 knots or greater. Also, due to the particular landscape in the vicinity of Donner Pass, a favorite route to the west from Reno, winds crossing those ridges from the SW side of the 90 degree direction seem to create more turbulence than from the NW.
Dawn Thursday morning and in checking the winds aloft in the area I find 25-35 knot winds at 9,000, 12,000 and 15,000 from about 250 degrees. I checked another local indicator, the Desert Research Institute (DRI) weather station of the top of Slide Mountain (at about the mid-point of Lake Tahoe on the Eastern side). At 9:30 am the winds there were averaging 40+ Knots with gusts to 65 kts.
It was a fairly easy 4-hour drive to Livermore.
I made the pancake breakfasts on both Friday and Saturday mornings. Friday found the marine layer over the airport forming an 1100′ overcast layer that burned off by about 1030. I attended the IFR Refresher and Pro Tips workshop that morning given by Gary Reeves. After that I had lunch from one of the 6-8 food trucks that parked on the flight line. After lunch I listened to Catherine Cavagnaro’s talk All About Spins. The rest of the afternoon I cruised the aircraft displays and the large vendor tent. At 5 pm I took advantage of the Flightline Cookout.
Saturday morning dawned clear and cool. After pancakes while watching arrivals.I attended the Advanced IFR workshop by Max Trescott and after lunch took in the Aircraft Maintenance workshop with Mike Busch and Adrian Eichhorn. By then a lot of people were leaving so I found a good seat in the shade of the food tent and watched the departures.
All in all I felt that the weekend was well worth the time and money that it cost to attend. It was good to see the volume of people and aircraft that attended. Flying around your local area or to your favorite destinations doesn’t reinforce the variety of aviation activities that are available to us as these AOPA or EAA events can.
Here are a few of the photos that I took on meanderings around the event: