Posts about the flight environment
The airspeed needle was bouncing up and down. The wings were rocking side-to-side. The furball dog on my wife's lap was squirming and fussing. We were on final approach to Little River, California in our club's A36 Bonanza and were getting knocked around pretty good. In other words, it was a typical approach into the coastal airport, where the sea breeze usually combines with the surrounding hills to make things interesting.
"You want to climb up through that hole and get on top?" asked Anders as we cruised along 500 feet below a layer of scattered fair-weather cumulus clouds.
It was mid-morning and we'd just departed Bend, Oregon for a VFR return flight to the San Francisco Bay Area. That weekend we'd participated in the Hayward Air Rally in our club's Cessna 172. For the previous two weeks, widespread air-mass thunderstorms had kicked off every afternoon throughout central Oregon, and the pattern was expected to continue. The ragged little clouds above us were likely to grow into towering cumulus later in the day, especially over the ridges surrounding the valley we were following.
It was a gorgeous night. A full moon had risen over the ridge to the East. The Western sky was a deep blue against the deeper blue-black of the distant ocean. To my right, the bright moon threw the silhouette of the mountains into sharp relief against the sky. The tail of the airplane cast a shadow on the wing.
"Skyhawk 80377, you're cleared to the San Jose airport via direct Sacramento VOR Sacramento 160 radial mood seeds direct maintain 5000 departure frequency 125.25 squawk 3203."
I hunched over my kneeboard like a man paralyzed from the neck up. What the hell were "mood seeds" and what did they have to do with my clearance? They sounded like one of those supplements you see advertised on late-night infomercials.