Brackett Field, my home airport as a new flight instructor, lies on the northern edge of the basin, deep within the shadow of 10,000-foot Mount Baldy. It is nestled under Ontario's Class C airspace; to the southwest the LAX Class B rises abruptly over Interstate 10. Chino and El Monte, both towered airports, border Brackett's own control zone. West and south, Burbank and Orange County merit additional Class C complexes. Confined by the terrain and funneled via the complex airspace, an astonishing quantity and variety of air traffic transits the area: trainers, homebuilts, warbirds, helicopters, corporate jets, traffic spotters, banner towers, mosquito sprayers, gliders and even hot air balloons and sky divers. The terrain and traffic are both frequently obscured because the basin traps moist ocean air and pollutants alike in a semipermanent inversion, creating conditions varying from thick fog and low overcasts to smog or haze. This was the environment in which I, at 20 years old and 250 hours with a fresh CFI ticket, was given a full slate of student pilots and entrusted with their safety and education.