May 1, 2012
French Valley is nowhere near France, but it is near Perris (pronounced “Paris”), about 20 miles north. Its namesake airport, French Valley (F70), is in the heart of Southern California, just 55 miles north of San Diego. It’s bordered by the cities of Murrieta, famous for its hot springs; Winchester, known for its cheese company; and Temecula, whose history includes a stagecoach robbery, Indian skirmishes, and a short-lived railroad boom in the late 1880s.
French Valley Airport has a 6,000-foot runway that accommodates aircraft from jets to Jennies, and there’s plentiful parking and fuel. For pilots and passengers who need to fill up, French Valley Café is in the terminal building, and for helicopter buffs, the Wings and Rotors Air Museum is also on the field. For longer stays, there’s something for everybody in this pleasant valley. Temecula is a popular place for wine tasting at the area’s more than 30 wineries. Other activities include hot air ballooning, hiking, horseback riding, golf, and gaming at the nearby Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Shoppers won’t want to miss downtown Old Town Temecula with its array of boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, and restaurants. Ambling down the boardwalk, visitors get a taste of “the West that was,” viewing Old Town’s western-style storefronts.
A nontowered airport, French Valley can get busy on weekends and the mix of aircraft can be interesting, so “see and avoid” is a good practice for pilots and passengers. Flying to and from French Valley, sightseeing opportunities abound, including lakes, mountains, and Mount Palomar Observatory.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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