I was on my way to my son’s place in Gilroy CA (the garlic place). I had filed IFR just because. The weather would be clear all the way but the route and altitude penalties versus VFR Direct were minimal. I filed my usual route via VTU V485 ULENY (the GPS 24 IAF). Clearance was “LAX VTU as filed, 2000, expect 10000 ten minutes later, 125.35, 7710)”. I thought a squawk was odd but I read it back and it was correct.

Hand-offs from SoCal to Mugu to LA Center to Oakland Center and then to NORCAL approach were routine and everything was going well. I was on my decent to 6000 when Norcal called,“10E are you experiencing any difficulties?” Everything seemed OK. Did they know something I did not? I said “No, all is good here.” “Well I got an emergency squawk from you for an instant, must have been a fluke.” I think the transponder dropped the “1” for a “0” for an instant. Interesting.

The rest of the flight was routine with a GPS 24 approach in VMC to E16 (San Martin South County).

10E-Trouble-000The next night my son and I went out for some IFR approaches using E16 and KCVH (Hollister Municipal Airport) 15 miles away. A GPS 32 at E16 was followed by a GPS 31 (WAAS!), to CVH followed by a full stop at E16.after another GPS 32 there. It was a good demonstration to my IFR pilot son of how the GNS 530 provides “LNAV+V” at E16 (computed glideslope to MDA) and “LPV” at CVH with a GS to the 553’ MSL Decision Altitude (323’ AGL).

The next morning was three more approaches to make a total of six to maintain my IFR currency. Los Baños (I didn’t name the city or the airport) (LSN), 40 miles W had two VOR approaches to use and then we’d do another GPS 32 to return to E16. Departure weather at E16 was 800 scattered, 2,200 broken, 4000 overcast. The AWOS at LSN was saying visibility greater than 10 and ceiling clear to 12,000’. It is over in the next valley so the mountains do hold the clouds close to the Coast.

10E-Trouble-001We departed on an IFR flight plan to do two approaches at LHS and brought a hood. We did not need the hood. We ended up in IMC until 800 MSL and found the airport had about 4 miles visibility and 500 broken, maybe 800 overcast. I listened to the AWOS again. Same as before, “clear and 10 miles.” We did the two VOR approaches to LIFR minimums and returned to E16 in IMC until about 10 S of E16.

10E-Trouble-003After landing I called FSS to see if I missed a NOTAM on the LSN ASOS. Nope, there was none. They said they’d call the airport manager and have him put one out. The AWOS is clearly broken.

After lunch it was time to head home to FUL. The flight home was IFR in and out of clouds and  some rain at 9000, and then clear south of Fellows VOR to home.

Eight hours of tach time and lots of good experience.


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