With four million people living in Orange County, there are undoubtedly quite a few folks who make the drive from Santa Ana to Carlsbad on a daily basis.
I’m not sure how long it takes. Traffic being what it is, anywhere between 90 minutes and two hours seems like a reasonable estimate. Figure three to four hours for the round trip in a car.
I feel sorry for those folks. I traveled that route yesterday in a Cirrus SR22 in 27 minutes on a training flight with a student:
In fact, the round trip from John Wayne Airport to Carlsbad and back — under IFR, no less — was only about an hour. And that included time for:
- a five minute hold for IFR release
- takeoff and climb
- vectoring across V23 for traffic
- vectoring from Oceanside VOR way past the final approach fix
- shooting the ILS 24 approach in IMC
- taxiing back to the runway
- picking up a new IFR clearance
- another hold for IFR release
- taking off again
- flying back to SNA via V23
- the ILS 19R approach into John Wayne in IMC
The Cirrus is so fast that controllers on both ends underestimated how much airspace we’d consume on the base-to-final turn to intercept the final approach course (you can see that in the flight track graphic above — we initially flew through the localizer). The coastal stratus kept the VFR aircraft on the ground, so we had the run of the place.
What a flight. The air was smooth, the clearances were easy to get, and the flying on top was in beautiful sunshine. My student was adept enough at operating the aircraft and avionics that we were able to turn on the XM satellite radio system and enjoy a few minutes of respite during the enroute segment.
I could get used to this.