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The view: Snow showers over the San Gabriel mountains, northeast of Los Angeles, California, on Christmas Eve.

The photographer: Ken Spencer

The pilot: Lauren McCollum

The airplane: Cirrus SR22T

The mission: My first flight in Los Angeles airspace in a single engine aircraft, out of Santa Monica airport.

The memory: The pilot and owner of this aircraft is a friend of both of my daughters. We had talked about flying a year before while visiting California, and this year at a pre-Christmas party, Lauren asked if I wanted to go flying the next day! Did I ever! I am an east coast 172 pilot, so this was a thrill. The plan was to fly to Big Bear Lake for fun, but it was IFR and below minimums. So in perfect VFR weather, we headed east out towards San Bernardino, and Banning Pass, with the mountains on our left. The snow showers over the San Gabriel mountains were astounding to see, and quite beautiful.

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Ken Spencer
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