One of my most memorable flights to date has been doing a formation flight with friends down the coast of San Diego. This remains the most fun I’ve had on a flight because my flight training is very stressful and leaves little time to enjoy flying. The school I do my training with is fast-paced with no time to enjoy the scenery.
After doing some maneuvers and landings practicing for my Commercial Checkride one of my friends called me and asked if I would be interested in going for a Friday afternoon formation flight. Without hesitation, I said Yes! Of course I wanted to do that. Sounded almost too good to be true. He gave me little information other than meet him at the airport at 5:30 pm. We were timing the flight to line up perfectly with sunset to take in the views and get some amazing photos. I had no idea what to expect.
When I arrived at the airport, he escorted me to the gate and introduced me to one of his other friends. This friend owned two planes himself. At 23 years old, owning two planes blew my mind, but this friend did just that. We were going to fly in a 1943 Piper coupe J4 while the other plane in formation was a 1947 Aeronca Chief 11AC. I had never been in an old aircraft so it was an amazing experience.
The interior of these planes was stunning. Just like an old automobile, the retro designs were beautiful. As we departed the airport I was speechless. These planes had much better visibility than my normal Cessna 172 which allowed you to really soak in the views of San Diego. We traveled north up the coast and then back south. We hugged the coastline the whole flight, watching surfers and admiring the coastal bluffs. I brought my camera along and captured some of the most amazing aviation photos. I loved the photos so much that I even printed one on canvas for inside my bedroom.
Certainly a day I will never forget and am thankful I got to go on such an amazing flight. The photos to go along with the story shows how beautiful San Diego’s coastline is while showing off the amazing aircraft as well. My favorite is the 1947 Aeronca’s red paint job in contrast with the sandstone bluffs. The deep blue ocean below really captures the beauty of the scene. Flights like these remind me why I love aviation and am grateful I was raised in a place where I could achieve my dreams.