A way to spend an afternoon [and a personal first!]


For some reason1, a friend and I had this ongoing joke about flying to beautiful, beautiful Modesto together.
This weekend, we finally got around to doing it.
It was an interesting flight.
On the way out, visibility was all over the map in the central valley, as there was a forest fire… “somewhere.”2 We were about four DME from the field, and I still couldn’t find it visually. Our saving grace was the fact that MOD has a VOR at the field, so my friend’s GPS track of the flight3 shows a fairly… obvious 70-degree turn to get into the pattern.
Modesto-the-airport was amusing, too. I think the best scene was the arrivals/departures board, which had nothing but “one” for the gate number. Dealing with “the TSA” was also… interesting.
The journey home treated us to a fortuitous landing on SJC’s runway 30L.
If you’ve ever flown commercially into San Jose, you’ll get one of the three-zeros4. They seldom give it to general aviation aircraft, but I guess we arrived during a slow period, and there was enough haze that giving us the runway with the full instrument approach lighting system was worth it, I guess?5
I didn’t notice at the time, but my friend shot some video of the trip; it’s a bit long, but the sunset he captured was beautiful6, and if you’ve ever wondered what it looks like landing in San Jose from the front7, be sure to take a gander. There’s some great footage of the general area where MoCo lives, too, from about 1500 feet.
The time of night for those last couple landings8 and takeoffs are hands down my favorite time to fly.
Last night, it was overcast at 1900 feet in Mountain View, so I gotta enjoy it while I can.


And since this is a Mozilla-related blog, I’ll note: some of you may have noticed a new machine on the Firefox Tinderbox page, fx-win32-tbox.
I put it into production last week, as a replacement for gaius[-vm]. It’s based on the new VC8 reference platform, and astute Tinderbox readers will notice that its cycle time is almost half that of gaius-vm!
I’ll likely switch it to be the nightly Tinderbox this week after checking with Vlad and Stuart.
1 Now long forgotten…
2 And yes, that’s a direct quote from the Flight Service Station: “We’re still trying to figure it out.”
3 I specifically took up an old school ™ plane, because I wanted some challenge navigating on this flight… GPS makes us so lazy…
4 And now, since 30R is closed for some construction on the ramp, you’ll always get the left.
5And it was, since we had a bit of trouble finding San Jose, too… of course, I could have always cheated there since they, too, have a VOR at the field.
6 About two minutes in.
7 About three minutes in.
8 About six minutes in.