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In 2007 I purchased my second plane - N2969Q.  It's a 1977 Piper Cherokee 6 - 300.  It has 6 seats, cruises at 152 knots, and can carry 1367 lbs.  More pictures can be found here.  Below are the upgrades I've done:

New Avionics & Instrumentation:

Aesthetic Improvements:

  • Refurbish all interior plastics
  • Remove the curtains
  • Polish the spinner
  • New tinted side windows
  • New front luggage door seal
  • New pilot door seal
  • Refurbish breaker panel
  • Re-do the wing-walk
  • Dynamic prop balance
  • New carpet & side-panels

Other Improvements:

  • Remove all remaining A/C components
  • Remove old ADF antenna
  • Remove old glideslope antenna
  • Installed SlickStart magneto booster
  • Installed Rosen Sunvisors
  • Remove top-mounted tail strobe - move to rear-mount
  • LFS "Fancy Pants" main & nose wheel fairings

To-do list:

Here are a few before-and-after shots.


I started taking flight instruction at Tradewinds Aviation in San Jose CA in May of 2001 and earned a private pilot's license on October 1 of 2001.  The instrument rating came next, as of 7/20/2002, and then a commercial license on 4/1/2008.

Flying is great fun.  Besides the pleasure of flying and seeing the land from a new perspective, it's also a great way to get around.  Commercial jets may fly a bit faster than a single-engine prop plane, but when you throw in the time to drive to the big airports and all the waits and delays, flying private is faster for most west coast destinations.

One way in particular that the plane has proven its worth is enabling day ski trips to the mountains.  We can leave the house at 7:30, be on the slopes by 10am, ski a full day, and be back at home by 6pm!  I have made day trips to South Lake Tahoe to ski at Heavenly, Truckee to ski at Northstar, as well as Mammoth Lakes to ski Mammoth Mountain.  The flight time is 50 - 60 minutes each way.

Trips and Adventures

Flying to Florida & The Caribbean

The most enjoyable flying adventures so far have been trips to Florida and points east.

The first was the trip to Sun 'n Fun and Key West in Florida in 2002.  My friend Paul and I flew a rented Cessna 172 from San Jose, California to Key West, Florida and back and had many adventures along the way.

The second trip was in June, 2007 and involved flying my plane with two friends Nico and Jerry across the country.  Just like the first trip, it was a mixture of great fun, a few tense moments here and there, and lots of great flying experience.

In April 2008, I did it again in the Cherokee Six with three friends!  In addition to hitting a lot of great destinations along the way including my first flight to the Bahamas, the new plane was faster and very comfortable.

Most recently, I and three friends flew to Florida, the Turks & Caicos, and the Bahamas for a dive trip.

Flying to Mexico and Canada

A rather unique adventure was flying N8BB to Mexico for a weekend with friends in the summer of 2005.  It was my first international flying experience and it went smoothly.  A simple VFR flight plan got us across the border into Mexico, where it took just 10 minutes to handle the arrival paperwork.  Another flight plan filed in Mexico plus a Customs Notification Northbound got us back across the border into the US three days later.  There was less paperwork on the US side but a lot more waiting around to clear customs.

In August, 2006 I flew N8BB to Vancouver Canada with friends Paul and Dan.  We flew from San Jose to Eugene Oregon to stop for fuel & food, and then on to Vancouver.  I had notified Canadian Customs the previous day, and I picked up an IFR clearance around Olympia to get us across the border.  For the return trip, I filed an IFR flight plan with NavCanada to Bellingham Washington, where we cleared US Customs.  After Bellingham, we flew past Seattle and did an aerial tour of the Cascade volcanoes Adams, Baker, Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and the Three Sisters.  We had planned to fly over Crater Lake but due to some nasty thunderstorms, we had to skip that and head for our fuel stop in Medford Oregon.  On the last leg, we had to dodge more thunderstorms between Medford and Mt. Shasta.


In September of 2004, a friend and I flew N8BB to Yellowstone National Park.  The flight took us over Tahoe, across Nevada, Utah, and Idaho,  past Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and into Cody.  A description of that trip can be found here.

Oshkosh Trips

Another great adventure was flying N8BB into Airventure 2003 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  We had fine weather for all flying days except one.  A description of that trip is here.

Another fun trip was to Airventure 2002 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin - the world's largest fly-in and air show.  A description of that trip is here.

"Dog is my co-pilot"


Licenses/ratings: Commercial Pilot - Airplane Single-engine Land, Instrument rating

Other: High-performance airplane endorsement, complex endorsement, high-altitude airport checkout, Air Force flight physiology training

I've been checked out in the Cessna 172, the Piper Cherokee 140, the Piper Warrior, the Piper Archer, the Piper Arrow, the Cherokee 235/Dakota and the Cherokee Six/Saratoga.  Below is my flight experience as of 11/25/2015:

Cessna 172 122.6 hours
Piper Archer 142.7 hours
Piper Cherokee 140/160 4.1 hours
Piper Cherokee 235 656.5 hours
Piper Cherokee 6/Saratoga 958.9 hours
Piper Arrow 15.3 hours
Lancair LNC2 8.2 hours
Beech Baron 0.4 hours
Cessna 170 1.0 hours (tailwheel)
Piper Cub 7.8 hours (tailwheel)
Cross-country time 1351.9 hours
Instrument time 223.4 hours (actual + simulated)
Night time 42.1 hours
Retract time 15.7 hours
Total flight time 1920.5 hours
Total day landings 1606
Total night landings 89
Total instrument approaches 267


Airports Visited

Here's a list of airports I've flown a plane into or out of:

RHV Reid-Hillview, San Jose, CA
1C9 Frazier Lake, Gilroy, CA
Q99 South County, San Martin, CA
3O7 Hollister, CA
1Q4 New Jerusalem, Tracy, CA
WVI Watsonville, CA
SJC San Jose International, San Jose, CA
KIC King City, CA
SAC Sacramento Executive, Sacramento, CA
Q80 Lodi Air Park, Lodi, CA
MER Castle AFB, Merced, CA
LSN Los Banos, CA
PRB Paso Robles, CA
FAT Fresno/Yosemite International, Fresno, CA
3O1 Gustine, CA
SNS Salinas, CA
OXR Oxnard, CA
SQL San Carlos, CA
O08 Colusa County, Colusa, CA
LVL Livermore, CA
OAR Marina, CA
MOD Modesto, CA
HWD Hayward Executive, Hayward, CA
MRY Monterey, CA
HAF Half Moon Bay, CA
SCK Stockton, CA
CCR Concord, CA
TCY Tracy, CA
SBP San Luis Obispo, CA
MCE Macready, Merced, CA
TVL South Lake Tahoe, CA
3O8 Harris Ranch, Coalinga, CA
APC Napa County, Napa, CA
EED Needles, CA
P33 Cochise County, AZ
ELP El Paso International, El Paso, TX
SAT San Antonio International, San Antonio, TX
6R3 Cleveland County, TX
NEW Lakefront Airport, New Orleans, LA
BGE Decatur County, GA
LAL Lakeland Airport, Lakeland, FL
EYW Key West, FL
PHK Pahokee, FL
DRT Del Rio, TX
LRU Las Cruces, NM
AVQ Marana NW Regional, Marana, AZ
IPL Imperial County, CA
SAN San Diego International, Lindbergh Field, San Diego, CA
1O3 Lodi, CA
VGT North Las Vegas, NV
2Q3 Yolo County, CA
MYV Yuba County, CA
PVF Placerville, CA
O22 Columbia, CA
CA92 Paradise, CA
PAO Palo Alto, CA
OGD Ogden, UT
VTN Valentine, NE
MSN Madison, WI
OSH Oshkosh, WI
LGU Logan City, UT
OAK Oakland International, Oakland, CA
HND Henderson Executive, Henderson, NV
MYF Montgomery Field, San Diego, CA
SBA Santa Barbara, CA
PSP Palm Springs, CA
O69 Petaluma, CA
BUR Burbank, CA
WJF Fox Airport, Lancaster, CA
DVO Gnoss Field, Novato, CA
CMA Camarillo, CA
EKO Elko, NV
COD Yellowstone Regional, Cody, WY
MHV Mojave, CA
DVT Deer Valley, Phoenix, AZ
HII Lake Havasu City, AZ
TRM Cochran Regional, Palm Springs, CA
MMPE Punta Penasco, Mexico
CXL Calexico International, Calexico, CA
SUN Hailey/Sun Valley, ID
CPU Calaveras County, CA
MMH Mammoth Lakes, CA
WHP Whiteman Airport, Los Angeles, CA
VNY Van Nuys, CA
LGB Long Beach, CA
AVX Catalina Island, CA
SEE Gillespie Field, San Diego, CA
SZP Santa Paula, CA
EUG Eugene, OR
CYVR Vancouver, Canada
BLI Bellingham, WA
MFR Medford, OR
IFP Laughlin, Bullhead City, AZ
SMX Santa Maria, CA
TUS Tucson International, AZ
PEQ Pecos County, TX
BMQ Craddock Field, Burnet, TX
IWS West Houston, TX
LFT Lafayette, LA
PFN Panama City, FL
FPR Fort Pierce, FL
MAI Marianna, FL
HEZ Natchez, MS
SEP Stephenville, TX
CNM Carlsbad, NM
SAD Safford, AZ
BLH Blythe, CA
FCH Fresno-Chandler, CA
TRK Truckee-Tahoe Airport, Truckee, CA
L35 Big Bear City, CA
DAG Dagget/Barstow, CA
OKB Oceanside, CA
CRQ Carlsbad/Palomar, CA
L26 Hesperia, CA
GYR Goodyear Airport, Phoenix, AZ
FST Fort Stockton, TX
T74 Taylor, TX
BTR Baton Rouge, LA
TPF Peter O Knight, Tampa, FL
MYGF Freeport International, Freeport, Bahamas
PBI Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach, FL
28J Palatka, FL
C80 Coalinga, CA
LAX Los Angeles International, CA
SEZ Sedona, AZ
MPI Mariposa, CA
STS Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa, CA
EMT El Monte, CA
SNA John Wayne/Orange County, CA
RDD Redding, CA
OTH North Bend, OR
6S2 Florence, OR
SLE Salem, OR
BFI Boeing Field, Seattle, WA
FNL Ft. Collins, CO
RQO El Reno, OK
TUP Tupelo, MS
SGJ St. Augustine, FL
FXE Ft. Lauderdale Executive, FL
MYLS Stella Maris, Bahamas
MBGT Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos
MBPV Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
MYES Staniel Cay, Bahamas
MYNN Nassau, Bahamas
MYBS Bimini, Bahamas
SAV Savannah, GA
HEZ Natchez, MS
FDR Frederick, OK
SAF Santa Fe, NM
FUL Fullerton, CA
HES Healdsburg, CA
L05 Kern Valley, CA
IZA Santa Inez, CA
GOO Nevada County, CA
O24 Lee Vining, CA
O88 Rio Vista, CA
36U Heber City, UT
DLO Delano, CA
LWL Wells, NV
HHR Hawthorne, CA
O27 Oakdale, CA
LLR Little River, CA
TSP Tehachapi, CA
L45 Bakersfield Muni, Bakersfield, CA
CLM Fairchild International, Port Angeles WA
FHR Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA
ORS Eastsound Airport, Orcas Island, WA
SZT Sandpoint, ID
BDN Bend, OR
APV Apple Valley, CA
VUO Pearson Field, Vancouver, WA
MAE Madera, CA

Total: 172 airports, 17 states, 5 countries


Last updated: 11/29/2015