How about these airports for your long IFR cross country: Catalina (Avalon), Palm Springs, and Santa Monica! That’s exactly what I got to do yesterday, on a picture-perfect spring day. With a 50kt tailwind, we made it from South County (E16) to KAVX in just 1h 30m. The aircraft- 2009 Cirrus SR22-G3 Perspective- performed flawlessly. The photo is KAVX as seen on the right downwind leg RWY 22 (we broke off the VOR/DME approach early to fly the pattern, per the UNICOM instructions). After a quick break (and disappointed that the grill had closed 30 minutes prior to our arrival) we set out for Palm Springs.
With a 45kt tailwind and approaching the high terrain surrounding KPSP, we knew that there would be turbulence and possibly updrafts/downdrafts/wave on the leeward side. All were confirmed! My student was amazed at the strange nose down attitude required to stay level during a 2000fpm updraft. Just as that was happening we were instructed to decend 5000 feet – again pointing the nose down more than usual and not decending at all. Very eye opening experience for the student and just prior to flying an unfamiliar approach to an unfamiliar airport.
After refueling at Palm Springs (and inspecting the crew lounge and swimming pool!) the winds were howling on the ground too- which made for an interesting climbout. We crossed the Los Angeles basin and did a night landing at Santa Monica.
I think the IFR student got his money’s worth that day. (I flew home commercially out of LAX since he needed the airplane at SMO for the weekend.)