Let the aviation begin

One word… WOW!

What an awesome day. Frank picked me up from the EAA hangar and took me around to his plane.

While he was getting it ready he said that since I was interested in the Viking we would go to Santa Paula (SZP) first to see the guy who does the maintenance on his Viking.

An amazing flight across LA at 6500′ with the incredible vistas of the mountains of the northern LA basin through to a lovely green belt leading into Santa Paula airport. An fun little airport with a remarkable 600′ downwind leg that’s right up next to some mountains. Very cool.

Downwind SZP. The airport is on the other side.

Left Base

When we arrived at SZP the guy we had gone to see wasn’t there as his wife was sick so we walked over to have some breakfast at the field cafe. This involved crossing the runway on foot which was kind of fun too.

One of the really exceptional things about US aviation is that pretty much airfield seems to have a cafe/restaurant on field. This one was really good to. French toast as good as I’ve had anywhere.

After breakfast we wanders back over to MARS (mobile aircraft repair service) to find Dan had arrived. What a great guy. He was super friendly and in no time he was showing me the finer points of the Viking. We went into several hangars looking at various wings and parts and each thing had things to see and words of advise. It was super fun and I learnt a bunch from a guy who clearly has a passion and lots of knowledge for these things.

Dan showing Frank and Me a project of his.

One of the aircraft in his hangar was a Viking that a 21 year old PPL had just bought for $10,000 !! And no, I didn’t miss off a zero.apparently he knew the people involved in an estate. Wow, that’s got to be the deal of the century

Not bad for $10k. I want one!

After a great time with Dan, who incidentally took time out from taking his wife to hospital !!! , we went back to N4201B (Frank’s Viking) and took off for Catalina island. The flight there was remarkable because it is about a 50nm flight over water but due to high humidity and cold water the sea was entirely covered in fog. We headed off anyhow in the knowledge that Catalina was VFR. As we approach the island it’s clear that the island has fog all around but the airfield, being on a hill, was in the clear. It’s cool landing on a hill seeing fog all around down below. Quite strange, but fun!

Downwind SZP. See the strip?

What a neat place. Clearly popular as a destination for local pilots too as lots of planes were visiting filling up the parking spots. Although Frank found the best spot.

We had a quick look around and then Frank suggested we hiked the trail around the airport so off we went. And I’m really pleased we did. Some terrific scenery despite the marine layer and we stumbled across a Buffalo bull. An incredible beast that I’d never been so close to before.

Off for a hike. Nice hat. Great view.

Buffalo bull

The walk was great but we were hot so we went back to the airfield restaurant for a drink and sat outside refreshing, admiring the view and chatting.

After some time swapping stories we went back to the airfield, jumped in N4201B and flew back to Chino. This again was remarkable in that we flew over fog at sea and then over LA which seems to go on forever.

Departure lap around the island. The only bit with no fog!!


This flight was also a very valuable training detail for me as I saw some local procedures in action but more importantly got a good lay of the land. It will help my confidence a lot now knowing Chino is actually really easy to find, unlike some in the area.

Disneyland area.

What a day, I could blog forever just about today. One thing for sure, if the trip if half as good as today, it’s going to be a blast. And well worth the effort.

Thanks a heap Frank. It was really fun.

Published by falcogeorge

I live in New Zealand with my lovely wife Vicki along with our animals on a block of land in Helensville. Back in 1994 I had this crazy idea to build a plane. Since then its been a huge part of my life. My day job has varied over the years. I started out as a computer engineer and now I'm an airline pilot. You would think that would tire me of flying but airline flying isn't really flying. The small planes are fun and make me remember why I started flying in the first place. This blog is a demonstration of some of the crazy ideas that pop into my head from time to time. The way I see it, life is too short to not give these wild ideas a go. I don't mind if people think I'm crazy. I probably am.

2 thoughts on “Let the aviation begin

  1. What a day – seen so much already – good you got to see where everything is and get ready for Monday.

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