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On the Air January 2014 Issue

On The Air: January 2014

In 1975 we moved from New York City to Santa Barbara, California (SBA)with our one-year old daughter. I had a commercial license but only about 200 hours and a new instrument ticket, so I did not want to attempt a 2200 nm trip in a 1952 B-35 Bonanza with a young child. Therefore I departed for California and my wife and child left on United Airlines two days later via Los Angeles.
Luckily, good weather and light headwinds prevailed for the whole trip, except for the coastal marine layer that produced 400-1 at SBA. I made the trip with only one overnight. As I prepared for the ILS into SBA, a United B-737 came up on the frequency. Since Santa Barbara did not have radar in those days, the controller issued holding instructions to the 737 until I canceled IFR.

I was in no hurry and offered to wait for United. Both the controller and the captain were surprised by my offer, so I explained that my wife and infant daughter would be on a United flight from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara later that afternoon, and I felt it only fair to show a little friendly assistance. The captain was even more amazed and asked, “You beat your wife here from New York in a Bonanza?” I explained that I had a two-day head start, but that my wife would be very surprised to find out that I had already arrived.

It happened that the Captain’s next stop was Los Angeles, and as he deplaned he overheard my wife telling the gate agent that her husband was flying out to Santa Barbara alone in our private plane but that she did not know where I was. The captain then told her that I was safely on the ground in Santa Barbara, and completely ruined my surprise at the arrival gate.

Bill Ramos, M.D.
Las Vegas, Nevada

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