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  #1  
Old 08-14-2018, 02:24 PM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is online now
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,748
Default Travelling to Palo Alto - Looking for Advice

We're starting to put together a shadow plan to fly to Palo Alto to visit a long time friend who lives nearby and who has a strong personal tie to our airplane. We'll be coming from the east, perhaps combining this trip with an annual type club gathering at Smiley Creek, ID in June of 2019. I know that's a long piece off, but I prefer to get working on both a Plan A and a Plan B well in advance of departure in order to extract the most value and enjoyment from the trip.

Since I'm a newbie both to crossing the big granite hills and to flying in California, and especially in the Bay area, I'd appreciate any helpful hints and pointers that more experienced folks might be willing to share. If anybody has tips specifically for transient/short term visitors to Palo Alto I'd sure appreciate gathering as much intelligence as possible.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2018, 03:42 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 5,322
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For planning, make sure you get a hold of the new SFO class B chart, which is due out very soon. I hear there are major changes.
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  #3  
Old 08-14-2018, 04:53 PM
cardinalflier cardinalflier is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Granite Bay, Ca
Posts: 86
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Yes, there are MAJOR changes to the airspace. VFR “flyways”, similar to LAX have also been added. Use flight following, listen to the radio for instructions, use a moving map such as Foreflight, and be familiar with the airspace ceilings. Watch out for the morning marine layer. Be sure and do a “Bay Tour” when you are here. Pop over the coastal hills to Half Moon Bay, fly North for a few minutes and view the Golden Gate Bridge from the air, out around Alcatraz, back down the coast, landing at KHAF (Half Moon Bay) for lunch. Park at the South end of KHAF and walk a short distance to the harbor for lunch. You won’t forget the day. Just make aure the coast has no fog.
Bruce Estes
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  #4  
Old 08-14-2018, 09:33 PM
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wjb wjb is offline
 
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Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
Posts: 781
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June can be foggy, but not so bad at KPAO if you plan to arrive any time after noon. There are some significant Bravo changes from SFO, but if you arrive from the east (ie, via KLVK; Livermore) you will easily be able to stay below the Bravo.

Study the charts, but, it's an easy shot from LVK to Sunol, Coyote Hills, and then to PAO (there's a natural pass in the hills). This skirts SFO Bravo to the south, SJC Charlie to the north (though, there will be no issue with any transitions) There is Moffett Field (KNUQ) just to the south of PAO; though it was a pretty active P3 base for the Navy, it's now just a federal airfield with little traffic. Delta transitions are automatic.

The "Bay Tour" is a blast. You can either get a low transition with SFO tower or do the high transition with NORCAL (outside the surface area of SFO). Occasionally, SFO tower "prohibits" bay tour transitions, but you can always go over their head via NORCAL. Go fly over the GG bridge, Alcatraz, downtown SF, and hit the 29'er diner in in Petaluma for b'fast.

KHAF, my home field, is a great destination, if clear. Beautiful CA coastline, and many excellent dining options; park at the south ramp and walk a few hundred yards. The closest restaurant is Mezza Luna, a local favorite Italian place. Just 10 yards from the gate at the south ramp. Lots of others, too. Excellent burgers, sushi, fish and chips .. a very yummy destination!
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Last edited by wjb : 08-14-2018 at 09:57 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2018, 07:11 AM
Geeman Geeman is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Novato, CA KDVO
Posts: 340
Default New to the Bay Area

I just moved to the bay area...hangared in Novato. The bay tour mentioned, is this on the VFR chart? Any details would be appreciated.
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  #6  
Old 08-15-2018, 07:41 AM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is online now
 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Thanks for the excellent pointers, especially about the impending airspace changes - very helpful data.

Before we were married we did a driving trip from San Fran to LA - our first stop was Half Moon Bay and we very nearly didn't leave there - just loved the place. I know my bride will be over the moon if we are able to stop and have a meal there. The Golden Gate from above is already on her "must do" list - flying above it will be a huge improvement over our last trip across it, stuck in traffic.
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  #7  
Old 08-15-2018, 09:23 AM
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wjb wjb is offline
 
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Location: Half Moon Bay, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geeman View Post
I just moved to the bay area...hangared in Novato. The bay tour mentioned, is this on the VFR chart? Any details would be appreciated.
Yea, the "Bay Tour" is not on the chart, but the controllers know the drill. It's generally a clockwise circuit (at least starting from the peninsula) up past SFO, over SF, GGB, Alcatraz, (other places north), OAK, then back across the bay. The biggies are the Bravo transition and, less so, the OAK Charlie transition. You'll want to be on your game when going through SFO Bravo; they don't like missed calls!

When talking to ground control (or NORCAL) ask for flight following for "a bay tour" and you'll get a squawk code.
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  #8  
Old 08-15-2018, 10:24 AM
jchang10 jchang10 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
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The official date is August 16th. Today is the 15th.

I usually use skyvector, but it's not on there yet.

However, it looks like the new sectional is available on this site now:

http://vfrmap.com/
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  #9  
Old 08-15-2018, 09:54 PM
Reaver Reaver is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Claremont, CA
Posts: 42
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I don't live in the Bay Area but have flown there 3 times, landing at KSJC, KPAO, and KSQL. I got the impression that as long as you don't bust airspace (especially Bravo!) the controllers there tend to be quite accommodating. On one of the 3 trips I was granted a Bravo clearance without requesting it, so don't automatically read back "remain outside SFO class Bravo" unless they actually say that. Ask my why I know this.......
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  #10  
Old 08-15-2018, 10:48 PM
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kiljoy kiljoy is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: San Francisco
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We fly out of KOAK (Oakland) and its a snap to get out of here and onto a bay tour. If you're coming from the south you can skirt around Bravo over the bay just stay at 1100 feet. My friend used to fly traffic watch and you can fly for hours around the bay without talking to anyone.

Also do a rotation over San Quentin, go up the coast to point reyes and if the ocean is clear (it won't be) go out to the Farallon islands. If half moon bay is socked in (it will be) Petaluma has a good place to eat.
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