Welcome to the Santa Cruz Flying Club Blog

The following posts are created by a collection of club members, CFI's, or other pilots whom we felt might write content you would be interested in. The content of the posts is the property of the respective authors, and Santa Cruz Flying Club assumes no responsibility or liability for the contents of their posts. You might also want to read the biographies of the authors.


Trip Report: Castle Air Museum

June 10th, 2012 by (Bio)

Article by Steve Bond

Elsie H, Terry S, and Steve B jumped into Steve S’s 172 (thank you Steve!) and cruised over the coastal mountains and across the central valley to the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, CA, now known as Castle Airport.  It was a sunny day, perfect weather for the trip.  Around 80 other private planes with pilots and passengers made the trip as well.  There was plenty of room, the air base has a 11,802 foot runway and the facilities for former air wings of USAF bombers and tankers of the cold war era.

What a treat it is for us who adore flying machines to be able to wander among scores of airplanes representing 80 years of aviation history.   Castle AIr Museum has more than 50 warbirds and this day was “Open Cockpit Day”  Each aircraft has a group or organization of volunteers to restore and maintain the old birds and they were on hand to provide background informations and conduct tours of the planes.  There was more to see and explore than anyone could do in a single day.  From the pre WW-II warbirds, bombers trainers and transport, to the modern cold war fighters, tankers, and bombers including a B-52, an SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ spy-plane.  Some aircraft are historically obscure, such as the North American B-45 Tornado from the 1950’s period of early jet aircraft.

We rode the shuttle van from the airport to the museum.  It was operated, like everything at the museum by volunteers.  Once inside the gates, we split up and wandered throughout the museum exploring various pieces of history and technology.  For example, we visited the behemoth warplane, the Convair B-36 “Peacemaker”.  I stood in line for 20 minutes waiting for my turn in the flight deck under the expansive wingspan of the B-36.  It is the largest piston powered aircraft in the world.  It carried up to 22 crew and could stay aloft for more than two days (51 hours record) without refueling.  This thing weighed 410,000 pounds and had ten engines.  Elsie and I agreed that George Lucas must have seen its retractable gun turrets and used them as the prototypes for  the Star Wars turbo-lasers on the Imperial Starships.

In the giant delta wing British Avro ‘Vulcan’ B-2 Bomber.  I channeled an experience from the 007 film adventure “Thunderball” by climbing the passageways and exploring the cockpit and navigation stations of the 60-year-old nuclear bomber.

This place is haunted.  For years, museum staff have reported apparitions, voices, and other paranormal events around some of the warbirds. The museum was featured on an episode of UPN’s  Real Ghosts (1995).   We brought our lunches, but there were vendors and with food and drink for the thousands of visitors that day.

We stayed until the museum closed the gates at 5 pm and sent us on our way.  No doubt they were concerned about visitors encountering the poltergeist that wander the museum.   It was a clear flight back. Elsie piloting, delivered Terry and I to KWVI before departing for KSNS.

For more information on the Castle Air Museum visit castleairmuseum.org.

Trip Report: Bay Tour Flight, January 28, 2012

January 31st, 2012 by (Bio)

Members of the Santa Cruz Flying Club flew the Bay Tour Saturday, January 28. 2012. The flight of two (a Cessna 150L and Cessna 172N) departed Watsonville, California (KWVI) and landed at a very busy Livermore Airport (KLVK).

The route took us clockwise from Watsonville, over Highway 17 and the Lexington Reservoir, up the peninsula, just west of SFO and AT&T Park, then East of the financial district at about 2,500 feet. The airspace around KSFO was very busy as evidenced by ATC chatter. I often had up to 7 targets on my TIS display (Garmin 430W) at a time.

Over the bay, we passed near Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and Angel Island. After flying over San Pablo Bay, we headed east to the Carquinez Straights and the mothball fleet, then southeast over Concord and down the valley toward Dublin.

The controller at Livermore was up to his armpits in weekend warriors, as evidenced by his comments to some of the inbound aircraft. At one point, the controller told one of the pilots who was having difficulty orienting himself, to leave the airspace because he couldn’t follow instructions (I removed that conversation from the footage so not to embarrass the pilot who’s N number and call sign were clearly audible).

Landing was a bit left of the centerline but there was pretty stiff crosswind blowing from left to right and I didn’t want drift into the soft stuff.

Three GoPro Hero cameras were used to capture the footage; one attached to the port wing just aft of the pitot tube, one below the horizontal stab on the starboard side and one handheld in the cockpit. The cockpit camera was a new GoPro Hero 2 that allowed me to capture ATC chatter by plugging it on to the 1/4 jack in the plane that is connected to the audio panel. The external cameras were attached using suction cup mounts. Video was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 (first time for this program) and time compressed from 2.2 hours to just over 20 minutes.

Overall it was a great day and flight!


Google Earth map of the flight track

Crosswind Landings…

January 10th, 2012 by (Bio)

If you like watching videos of how other pilots handle crosswind landings, and if you like watching commercial jets land, then you’re going to be really happy with this video!

This is a video of commercial jets landing at Düsseldorf during a storm with a nice crosswind!

An update from the Watsonvile Pilots Association

November 7th, 2011 by (Bio)

Below is an update from the Watsonville Pilots Association of interest to all local pilots:

On Wednesday evening (1800 hours), November 9, 2011, a public meeting crucial to the future safety and utility of Watsonville Airport will be held at the Armory Building (30 Aviation Way) at WVI. This will be the first of three public meetings called by the City to address future development in the area to the North and West of WVI. It is essential that we turn out a large number of airport supporters at these meetings. We expect airport opponents to appear in force, and we must show the public, by our presence, that a safe, vibrant airport is vital to the future of Santa Cruz and North Monterey Counties.

You are probably aware that the extreme cost of the recent lawsuits to the City of Watsonville has impelled them to seek reasonable compromise regarding development around Watsonville Airport. In the course of a series of meetings with WPA, an understanding has been achieved that limits development to the guidelines permitted by the Manual of the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics as required by Court decisions. In particular, an understanding has been reached regarding zones and densities that will protect the airport from further encroachment affecting aircraft operations, possible runway closures and restrictions, and long-term airport viability. The meeting will present proposed land use planning that deals primarily with the approach ends of all runways, especially Runway 26 in Freedom and Runway 8 in the Buena Vista area. Expect to see an aerial photograph map with an overlay of new safety zones, adjusted in the Buena Vista area to reflect departures from runway 26, with turns to both the left, and to the right as utilized when stratus conditions cover the south side of the airport.

In the past, we have asked you for money and your response has been beyond gratifying – without it, we could never have won the judicial victories that led to these meetings. Now we must ask for your presence at these meetings, as well. We are in the fourth quarter of a grueling game of political football. Please turn out and help us wrap up this difficult situation for the foreseeable future. Many thanks for your continuing support.

Keep Watsonville Airport Safe!

Dan Chauvet – Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Watsonville Pilots Association
John Cowan – Vice President Watsonville Pilots Association

More information on the Watsonville Pilots Association can be found at watsonvillepilots.org

Trip Report: Mariposa-Yosemite Fly-In, July 16, 2011

July 16th, 2011 by (Bio)

Late Evening Yosemite Half Dome

Photo by Lassi Kurkijarvi

We had a great time on this trip! We ended up having two aircraft and six people attend. One plane departed IFR from Salinas and the other departed VFR from Watsonville. We both arrived at Mariposa/Yosemite Airport (KMPI) in time for lunch at a nearby restaurant. After lunch we loaded back up in the planes and flew over Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley for the incredible views. After taking all of the photographs we could, we headed back home.

Flight Instructors Wanted

June 23rd, 2011 by (Bio)

Santa Cruz Flying Club is actively looking for CFI’s at this time. We’re looking for instructors interested in teaching in our single engine aircraft and our students are typically training for Private, Instrument and Commercial certificates, as well as existing pilots needing Biennial Flight Reviews (BFR) and Instrument Proficiency Checks (IPC).

You would be working as an independent contractor at the Santa Cruz Flying Club, typical instructor rates are $60 to $85/hour (instructors determine their hourly rate on a lesson-by-lesson basis). As prospective students call the club office they are passed along to the various flight instructors based on their schedule and availability.

If you would like to inquire for more information or if you have any questions please contact the Santa Cruz Flying Club at 831-722-4580 or via email at info@scfc.org. Additional information about the club can be found at https://scfc.org.

Trip Report: Columbia Fly-In, June 18, 2011

June 18th, 2011 by (Bio)

Photo by Gunther Hagleitner

Photo by Gunther Hagleitner

Wow, what a trip! Dan Jadick, Bruce Bundy and I spent a wonderful day in the Sierra foothills. We could not have chosen a better day for a smooth ride to Columbia State Park in California’s gold country. We launched into a typical central coast summer overcast layer IFR to VFR on top then direct to O22 and arrived at our destination in about an hour. Columbia is a very popular place during the summer as we were #4 for landing after doing a 360 for spacing

We stepped out into the warm 82 degree sunshine and the distinct smell of pine trees and moist summer soil in the air. We spent about 3 hours exploring the town, rich in gold fever history, had lunch in the local saloon, complete with Sarsaparilla, and an ice cream before heading for home. Overall, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Day in the Sky at Watsonville Airport

April 14th, 2011 by (Bio)

Following is a note from Dean McCully about the Watsonville Airport “Day in the Sky” event. Santa Cruz Flying Club will be there, so tell your friends and be sure to stop by!


Greetings Aviators

Heads up, the SEVENTH annual Day in the Sky Watsonville is heading our way like a freight train… only 2.5 weeks away!

Who: Thousands of Central Coast families, especially families with kids with disabilities + low income families.

What: Biggest springtime Watsonville Airport festival ever. Plus about 100 exhibitors of Science/Technology/EngineeringMath/Aviation. Hot air balloons. Static aircraft displays + tours. Tons of hands-on fun for kids of all ages!

When: Saturday April 30, 9am-4pm

Where: Watsonville Municipal Airport, Watsonville. Easy access…
Take Hwy 1 to the “Airport Blvd” exit. Turn east, drive about 2 miles, you’re there. Or if you’re flying in, follow the coast until your GPS starts flashing WVI. (If it’s flashing LAX, you’ve gone too far 😉

Why: We’re continuing the 7 year long tradition of getting hoards of kids interested in general aviation and science, in an incredibly fun hands-on way.

How can you help? Many ways:

  1. Escort kids to the airplanes. Tell fun tales of aviation. Whatever you would like to get them hooked on GA.
  2. OR if you can fly in, come on down and give tours of your aircraft to the captivated families.
  3. OR Help give ground school and teach families how the planes work.
  4. OR just come on down and hang out with us and have some fun in the Watsonville sun…

We hope you can join us Saturday April 30…

See the website for more info:
http://www.dayinthesky.com/pilot.htm (for pilot registration — go to the homepage for lots more info…)

Blue Skies!
Dean McCully
Shared Adventures Day in the Sky

Bay Tour flight over San Francisco

March 18th, 2011 by (Bio)

On New Years Eve 2010 I took my co-worker John Hamilton up for a flight in my Cessna 150. We headed up to San Francisco, did a Bay Tour, then returned via Half Moon Bay Airport where we had lunch at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Then we continued down the coast back to Watsonville.

John brought along his camera and a GoPro that we mounted in the back window. I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of what a Bay Tour looks like from a Cessna 150. If you’ve never been on a Bay Tour, I highly recommend giving your instructor a call and ask them to show you what it’s all about! Give the Santa Cruz Flying Club a call at 831-722-4580 if you’re looking for an instructor or rental aircraft!

Final Flight of 2010 from John Hamilton on Vimeo.

Icon A5 Light Sport: Amazing in flight views

March 18th, 2011 by (Bio)

Here is an awesome video of the Icon A5 in flight. They set it up with multiple GoPro cameras so you can see it from multiple angles in flight. How cool would it be to have a plane that can drive in to a lake, take off, touch-and-go on a paved runway, land back on the water, and then taxi up the boat ramp. Amazing!

Can aviation be fun? YOU BET!