Flying in Fullerton

It wasn’t that long ago that I approached Fun Outside Aviation and signed up for lessons.  I was green, I mean really green.  I didn’t know much about becoming a pilot but I sure did want to to try.  It took me about eight months to get my private pilots license.  When I look back at the process, I have now come to realize how fortunate I was to learn and now fly out Fullerton Municipal Airport, here in Southern California.  Here are a few reasons why.

First of all, our class D airport has the perfect amount of takeoffs and landings.  What does that mean?  Well, if you decide to train to fly at John Wayne airport, you’ll learn quickly that there are too many operations happening.  You might find yourself sitting for ten minutes holding short waiting to take off while the carriers are given priority.  All the while, you’re paying for that rental aircraft as the engine is spinning.  The shorter length of the runway at Fullerton prevents the bigger aircraft from coming in so it is not as buys.  For that reason, the majority of activity at the airport are training and recreation.

Next, Fullerton Airport has a tower.  When you train at an airport with a tower, you become way more confident in radio communications.  There’s definitely a learning curve and some early fears to overcome but you’ll be happy you learned at an airport with a control tower from the beginning.  When you fly out of an airport without a control tower, you are forced to learn tower communications only those times in your training when you are planning to fly to another airport.  The faster you ramp up on the comms, the better off you’ll be as a pilot.

Southern California has the perfect flying weather.  We have more clear sky days than anywhere else in the United States.  Your training will go faster because when you want to fly, odds are you can!  I’ve never had to scrape frost off the wings before a flight.  Yes, you still have to check the weather before you go, every time.  Make sure you do get into that good habit and get a weather briefing before every flight.  That will become more and more important as you move along to your instrument rating. 

Southern California airspace is busy!  This is a good and bad thing.  It is good because it teaches you how to deal with air traffic and work within the system with flight following.  It is a challenge because you have to keep a watchful eye all the time.  Your safety depends upon it.  With modern tools such as ADS-B in the cockpit, this process is much easier than when I started flying.  But no matter what, keep your eyes outside and scanning when you fly.  This is what is meant by “Maintain visual separation” when you hear it over your radio.

Those are a few reasons I love flying out of Fullerton Municipal Airport.  Keep in mind that the airport has amazing community as well.  Immerse yourself not only in the training, but in the entire airport environment and you’ll become a great pilot and a part of the aviation community as well.