I took out the Piper Archer for two straight days to give some friends aerial tours of San Francisco and the Bay Area. I took these photos over two consecutive days: May 27 and May 28, 2006. Both days I did what we call a “Bay Tour” which is just a big U-shaped tour over the Bay and coastline.
The Bay Tour goes something like this: take off out of Livermore, when Livermore tower hands me off, I tune the radio over to Oakland Center and request a bay tour. They know what that means–it’s a pretty common route. I punch in a transponder code and they keep an eye on me to warn me of nearby traffic. I fly along 680 then out over the hill along 24, over Berkeley, then a right turn over the Bay Bridge, over Treasure Island, then Alcatraz, then over the Golden Gate Bridge. From there it’s a U-turn to the left, hugging the coastline, and then into Half Moon Bay for lunch. I drool while I watch my friends drink beer which I’m not allowed to touch when flying, then back to the plane to do the reverse back to Livermore.
I’ve done many Bay Tours, but this is the first with my telephoto lens pointed out the window. Yes I flew and took the photos, but it’s really not that dangerous on a clear day with passengers spotting and a controller watching me on radar. Each photo is just a 5 second eyes off the sky snap with my 200mm lens sticking out the tiny pilot-side window on the Archer.