This is a flight I had to cancel four times due to scattered clouds at 2500ft above LAX, which does not permit doing the VFR "mini-route" transtion.
The ceiling needs to be 3000ft or more, and 3 miles visibility at least.
Monday was the day, I called the weather briefer, we got the meteo en-route, at destinations, Notams and TFR checked.
Straight-out departure runway 28L at Montgomery, heading towards the coast before turning right and climbing to 6500ft. We had "Flight Following" all the way to Los Angeles and that was really helpful, those guys are doing a great job.
First entry point over Los Angeles was the Queen Mary. Then, passed onto Hawthorn Tower, and joining the 128° SMO VOR Radial, I got the pre-clearance message. Reporting over Hawthorn & 405 Freeway, I was transfered onto LAX Tower. "Los Angeles Tower, Cessna 3386E, inbound mini-route". "Cessna 3386E, Los Angeles Tower, squawk 0215 and ident". "Cessna 3386E, you're cleared through the Los Angeles Bravo airspace, , maintain 2500ft, VFR, altimeter 3007".
The track to follow was basically the 128 radial all the way to Santa Monica airport 5 miles North of LAX. We enjoyed an incredible view over the terminals, with airliners landing and departing from everywhere! This is hard to imagine until you've been there.
Over Santa Monica airport, we turned eastbound, descending at 1500ft altitude. We overflew UCLA, Beverly Hills, with Hollywood not far away, Dodger Stadium and downtown LA, another 10 miles to join the pattern at El Monte airport and landing runway 19. We had lunch there.
At that point, we realised that all the photos taken over LAX were extremely bright and almost unviewable. In fact, somehow we went fromthe Aperture priority setting to the Manual mode, and the pre-selected speed was way too low for such a bright day.
The plan was to land at Ontario Intl to then depart back to San Diego, inland. But there was no way I was going to leave without the photos of LAX.
Two hours later and the flight replanned, I landed the Cessna on Ontario International runway 26L, stopped the plane on the taxiway and contacted Ontario Clearance Delivery. "Ontario Clearance, Cessna 3386E, clear of 26L at T, request flight following to Santa Monica via Long Beach and the LAX mini-route transition, 4500ft". "Cessna 3386E, Ontario Clearance, after take-off turn right heading 285, altitude 3000ft or below, first departing frequency will be 125.3, transponder 5111". "Right 285, 3000ft or below, 125.3 and squawk 5111, Cessna 3386E". "Cessna 86E, readback correct, contact ground point niner". "Ground 121.9 Cessna 86E, thank you".
Take-off 26L, in the climb-out, we intercepted the 187° Radial of the POM VOR [110.4], the second VOR was set on the PDZ beacon [112.2], radial 242, which, when intercepted, would be our turning point south of the Bravo airspace. Socal Approach transfered us to Hawthorn TWR, once again, and we soon got cleared into the Los Angeles Bravo airspace. Transiting vertical LAX at 2500ft, we took about more than a hundred pictures, at 70kt with flaps 10° (to get enough time to enjoy the view). Santa Monica in sight, we joined the pattern, made a left base 21, a touch-and-go over Tom Cruise's private jet. 270° over the coast, back overhead Santa Monica airport, inbound LAX mini-route Southbound ... a third time !! Oh yeah, we just love that transition !!
Heading back to San Diego, a Southwest Boeing 737 departing John Wayne flew right below us (we were cruising at 5500ft) and I took one of the best picture I've ever taken !
Arriving in San Diego, a thin cloud layer was forming along the shoreline with the sun slowly coming down above the horizon. What else could we ask for after such a flight?