Browsing Posts published in May, 2011

I’m fairly certain good fortune follows Matt around.  He rocked his commercial checkride and before I had even got word of the results of his checkride I had a call coming in looking for a ferry pilot and Matt was the right person for the job.  He booked his first job as a commerial pilot about an hour after his checkride.  Who does that?  Some guys spend months looking for work, congrats Matt and well done!

Matt in Big Bear with the 207 (Long Bus)

A few weeks ago I took my wife Leslie and dog Zeus camping in Kern Valley, L05. We took the Cessna 207 from Aces High Aviation which made the trip into a 1.2 hour scenic tour, versus the 3:30 it would take in a car.  There is a camp ground directly on site and we were able to camp about 30′ from the plane.  The Kern River is about a three minute walk from the campground and the lake another ten  minutes.  80′s vintage tuna boat rental cars are available from the new airport manager Rick.

There is a cafe on field that serves enormous hamburgers among other things.  The campground has fire pits, grills and a sun heated shower.  There is also a ton of fallen cottonwood trees nearby for firewood as well as some cut logs stacked to the north of the campsite for fires.

Matt H. and I took a day trip up to the Lake Arrowhead Airport to check things out and practice some dirt landings at a mountain airport.  The plane of choice for the day was the Cessna 207.  The Lake Arrowhead airport is privately owned, but open to the public.  If you’d like to visit contact Mark, the owner, to let him know of your plans and he will plan to meet you and show you around.  There is a $20 landing fee and a rental Jeep or pickup is available.  Mark will also drive you into the town of Lake Arrowhead if you’d like. Camping and target or trap shooting is available on site and free of charge. Hikers can either hike to the nearby hot springs or to the river that is just east of the airport.  Mark, the owner is very enthusiastic about having visitors fly in to see his airport.  His ultimate plans involve paving the runway, building a restaurant and an onsite vineyard and winery.  He also hopes to build a bunch of private hangars.

The airport is located in a shallow valley with a hill to the south.  The runways are 9/27 and is 3,650′ x 75′ and consists of decomposed granite and dirt.  For a soft field the runway is in great condition with only minor low spots and bumps but nothing a typical general aviation aircraft can’t handle.  The airport sits at 4,610′ so density altitude can be an issue during the summer.  With a good breeze it certainly seemed the airport could become a bit of a challenge.

Lake Arrowhead airport combined with a trip to Big Bear and possibly a dry lake bed will serve as a good introduction to light mountain airports as well as benign soft field operations.   Any pilots who are interested in this sort of training should contact me and we can discuss training options.

While Ben was out doing his flight review we took a day to focus on mountain flying.  The Cirrus was the plane of choice due to it’s speed which makes for a quick trip up the Owens Valley.  The one downside to the Cirrus is its relatively long takeoff rolls however runway length wasn’t a realistic concern at Mammoth since the runway is 7000′ long.  During the flight up we were able to again enjoy the poppy bloom.  On the way home we followed the west side of the valley and played around in the hills. Then we headed west and worked our way into the Kern Valley.  From there it was south towards Tehachapi.  The Owens Valley is great for light mountain training because we are able to safely dart into the valleys and canyons while still having safe ‘outs’ in the main valley.  We were fortunate enough to have nearly perfect weather for our flight.  It was a sunny and calm 70 degrees when we landed in Mammoth.