Going to smo

I have a Miricle Flight for Kids Mission. I will need to go into SMO santa Monica. coming in from VaGas on the 28 of Nov.will arrive about 1030 Am .What kind of weather would I is typicle there this time of year,also when I look at the Approach plate I notice even thou the inbound coarse is lined up with runway there are no strait in Minimums.Only circle to land.Also on apersonal note I heard about ashushi restaurant called the fish place does anyone know of this I heard it was really great.Thanks From Don 705DM

Although I am not familiar with that approach, remember that sometimes circle only minimums are published when it would not be possible to make a normal approach to landing from the MAP at the MDA. It does not preclude a straight in landing if the airport is in sight in time to do so.

Don: I don’t yet have the current approach plates for Santa Monica. My ancient plates show a VOR Rwy 3 with straight in minimums shown and a VOR-A with no straight in minimums. November 28 is too far to offer any opinion about the Wx. The DUAT Surface Forcast for Thursday 0000 gmt shows a system coming down from the NW as far south as about Mendicino (north of San Francisco), but that system will have long since come and gone by the time you are out there. In all probability, you will have severe clear or if overcast or rain, good visibility under the overcast.

My information on the restaurants is better. Go to www.zagat.com. Select “Los Angeles”. When that page comes up select “Neighborhood” then select “Santa Monica”. You will get a list of 102 (!) restaurants. Then you will click on “refine search”. Enter “Santa Monica” and “Seafood” and the list is narrowed to 9 choices. Each choice has a full review. When you have selected one, print off the review. If needed, go to www.mapquest.com to print driving directions from SMO. Bon Appetit!


The minimums for the http://www.aerochart.com/apt/6/S/SMO%5Fv%5FgA%2EGIFVOR or GPS-A at SMO are quite high — if you were to see the airport at the MDA, you’d probably need to deploy the CAPS parachute to land straight-in!

There’s actually a superb restaurant at the field called Typhoon, which specializes in Pacific rim cuisine. For details, see http://www.typhoon-restaurant.com/home.htmlhttp://www.typhoon-restaurant.com/home.html.


We do not get as much of the typical coastal stratus this time of year, as the weather is more dynamic. It is very likely that the VOR-A will be adequate. Get down to the MDA early and you should be able to make a straight-in approach.
Be sure and read up on the airport’s noise abatement procedures. Click here to view the SMO web page.
The sushi place is very good, but all they have is sushi. Beneath it is a restaurant called “Typhoon” with a Pan-Asian menu. At Typhoon you can get such goodies as fried crickets, giant wild mountain ants, deep-fried waterbugs, and white sea worms. (The crickets are good. Haven’t tried the others yet.) They have more conventional food as well, and it is all very good. BTW, this is for real - not a joke!

I’ve done the SMO approach to minimums twice, once in a King Air (with a Real Pilot in the right seat) and once in an SR20 (by myself.) All I can say is, I was real glad that I had done it before.

There are a number of “gotchas” on this approach. First and foremost–the DME distances depicted are from the VOR, which is at the far end of the runway. The stepdown fix at CULVE is only about 1.5 miles from the runway threshold. Get slowed down as much as is reasonable before you reach CULVE–fly it at 90 instead of 110. Second–if you’ve absolutely nailed the approach, you’ll find out that the runway threshold is quite a bit to the right of your position when you break out, requiring some interesting maneuvering. Third–the only approach lighting are REILs on either side of the threshold–not easy to pick out in low vis. Know what you’re looking for before you get there (should always be the case, of course.) Fourth–the MAP is at the VOR, which is at the far end of the runway. If you don’t have the runway in sight by 1.5 DME, you’re probably hosed.

When I did this approach on my own, the predicted wx was SKC, but the reported weather was OVC007, and it was definitely lower than that on the approach. It was just after sunset, so it was quite dark under the deck. I didn’t think about all that stuff I wrote about up top, so I came in a bit hot (trying to help out SoCal approach), had very little time to get it down, caught the strobes in the darkness (I knew they’d be over on the right) and made the snap decision to make use of all of the drop-like-a-stone approaches that I practice regularly. I ended up pulling the power to idle, full flaps, and slipped it like crazy (vis was good by that point.) The tower controller said, “Are you going to be able to make it?” followed by “Good job!” when I put it down about 1000 feet down the runway. In retrospect it was actually a lousy job that turned out OK, thus my somewhat excessive response to your question.

To put a more positive spin on it, I survived the experience and learned a lot of valuable lessons.

For what it’s worth, the charter pros that I talk to really hate this approach, for all of the above reasons (try doing the above in a Citation…)

Thanks to all for the info FRom Don 705DM