High Flight Aviation - After your Private Pilot Checkride
Airport Information
15 Dec

After your Private Pilot Checkride

Posted by System Administrator

So you've passed your check-ride!  Congratulations, now what?  After your Private Pilot check ride it's sometimes a daunting task to decide what to do now.  You may already have plans to go somewhere or do something or you may just want to stay close to home for a while.  Either way, we have some recommendations that will not only take you to some excellent destinations, but also enhance your flying skills in some form or another.

While you are completely legal to fly to pretty-much any airport you want, we don't always recommend it.  High altitude airports, tricky runways or busy airspace issues can get you into trouble fast.  We recommend talking to a flight instructor for details.

Get a Big Bear (L35) checkout. This is one of our favorite flights.  Where else can you take off at sea level and 45 minutes later be landing at an airport that's nearly 7,000'!  While this is a fantastic destination for many reasons, we HIGHLY recommend getting a checkout with an instructor before attempting this flight yourself.  Mountain flying, winds and high altitude performance are just a few factors you need to be familiar with.  Your flight to Big Bear (L35) can be done via several routes.  If you fly up through the South side of the San Gorgonio mountain range, you fly over the Big Bear lake damn, fly right by all of the Big Bear ski resorts and see an array of beautiful scenery.  The restaurant is a great place to recharge your mind and yourself.  The food is good, the staff is great and you can most definitely get your $100 breakfast fix.  If you want to stay longer, there's a variety of activities from skiing in the winter to boating in the summer.  Big Bear is truly a gem of Southern California.

Fly to Camarillo (CMA) for breakfast. This is a perfect flight for you to take your family or friends for some excellent flying and awesome food.  The restaurant itself is worth the flight up there but you get a lot more than that with this flight.  After crossing into the OC, you will need to pretty quickly decide how you will navigate through or around Class "C" for Santa Ana/John Wayne and more importantly the LA Class "B."  One of the easiest ways to navigate over LAX is using the Special Flight Rules transition.  This transition puts you right over LAX and is a pretty painless transition.  Once North of LAX and over Santa Monica, you can start your turn to the Northwest and either fly over the foothills into the valley and follow the 101 freeway or follow the coast up through Pacific Palisades, Malibu and Carpenteria.  You'll see houses as big as some small towns and the scenery is truly breathtaking.  Just before the Point Mugu airspace, you'll head toward Camarillo airport and be prepared for a series of rapid-fire instructions.  Camarillo is frequently an extremely busy airport and with only one runway, you'll need to be at the top of your game and pay close attention to tower instructions.  Once you land, tell them you want to taxi "to the restaurant."  IF you need taxi instructions, just ask for "progressive taxi" instructions and they'll be more than happy to oblige.  Enjoy, the breakfast is awesome.

Get a Catalina (AVX) checkout. Catalina is one of those gems that we sometimes don't appreciate in Southern California.  I can assure you that flying in Oklahoma or Colorado will not give you an opportunity to fly "26 miles across the sea" to an island getaway.  Most people go just for the burgers but if you want to stay a few days, transportation down to Avalon is easy.  As with Big Bear, Catalina is a destination that is full of new experiences.  We recommend going with an instructor your first time so that you understand where and why to cross the channel, what altitude, things to consider for emergencies and most importantly, how to land on a runway with a cliff at both ends.  Catalina is truly a rewarding airport we're certain you'll enjoy every aspect of your flight.

These are just a few examples of some flights you can plan right after your Private Pilot check ride.  They are typically short, half-day or less flights and are usually destinations with decent weather and flight conditions.  Congratulations on being a new pilot and welcome to the club!