An immaculate P–51 Mustang, just rebuilt by David Teeters’ Airmotive Specialties at Salinas, rests after its second test flight.
Perhaps you’ve flown into Salinas Municipal Airport (SNS) for the California International Airshow, held at the airport each fall and which marks its thirty-fifth anniversary this year—or for lunch at the Landing Zone Restaurant in the terminal building. Now you have an opportunity to fly in for the first AOPA Fly-In held in Northern California. Above the airport you can see the sun reflecting from the waters of Monterey Bay. Monterey and Carmel By-the-Sea are only a short drive, and even shorter flight, away—maybe you’ll want to make this trip a weekend getaway.
And more! Join these presenters and others for dynamic and entertaining education on topics such as safety, maintenance, fun flying, flying skills, forming flying clubs, and much more.
1 Oldtown Salinas. Neat buildings, great food, shops.
2 John Steinbeck. See his childhood home and visit the National Steinbeck Center.
3 Cannery Row. Tour the redeveloped sardine canneries along the former Ocean View Avenue in nearby Monterey, the setting for Steinbeck’s book of the same name.
4 Monterey Bay Aquarium. Check it out while you’re on Cannery Row—it’s right there.
5 Golf! Play without leaving the airport at the Salinas Fairways Golf Course at the end of Runway 13.
6 Carmel By-the-Sea is also located in Monterey County, just south of Monterey.
7 Aerobatic passion. Watch as longtime aerobatic pilot Yuichi Takagi performs his first aerobatic demonstration.
8 Military history. Visit the Castle Air Museum, adjacent to Castle Airport (the former Castle Air Force Base) in Atwater, California, 65 nm northeast, if it’s along your route.
9 Barnstormers Party. Join us Friday night for food and fellowship—and a special screening of Living in the Age of Airplanes.
10 Salads! They’ll taste fresher here than anywhere else in the country.
Yuichi Takagi will perform his first aerobatic demonstration during the AOPA Fly-In at Salinas, California, May 16—but the enthusiastic performer has been flying competitive aerobatics since 2004. A flight instructor since 2000, he’s logged 6,200 hours, including 2,200 hours of aerobatic instruction at legendary aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker’s Tutima Academy in nearby King City, California.
As a teenager, Takagi read a book by a Reno biplane racer and airshow pilot, and was enthralled. “I’ve liked airplanes since I was a kid,” he said. In Watsonville, California, he he learned basic aerobatics flying “an underpowered, 85-horsepower clipped-wing Cub.” Takagi went back to Japan and trained as a mechanic, returning to the United States in 1999.
Working as both a mechanic and CFI, he couldn’t afford to pursue aerobatics until he bought an airplane in 2002. “After I got my Pitts S–2B, my dream came true,” Takagi said. He worked his way up in aerobatic competition, progressing from Sportsman through Intermediate and Advanced to Unlimited. “I’m always looking for my next step,” he said. “I fly at the top category, so my next goal is to fly in airshows in my Pitts S–2S, and show people my passion for flying and aerobatics.”
Because his Pitts does not have the vertical capabilities of an airplane like an Extra, Takagi’s performance will include many complex maneuvers—including torque rolls and tumbles—in a short period of time. “I’m going to show my energy, and not the airplane’s energy,” he said. “I hope it’s going to be a fun sequence.”
Takagi, 43 and the only Japanese pilot flying airshows in the United States, has other shows scheduled this year in California. This September he plans to compete for the first time in the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, held in Denison, Texas.
Location: Three miles southeast of Salinas
Pattern altitude: Light aircraft, 885 feet msl; turbine aircraft, 1,509 feet msl
Runways: 8/26, 6,004 feet by 150 feet; 13/31, 4,825 feet by 150 feet.
• Marine-layer fog is sometimes present at Salinas in the morning, typically rolling out by 10 a.m. It occasionally returns late in the afternoon. Consider coming in on Friday!
• On arrival watch for the charted mountaintop antenna, reaching up to 3,482 feet msl, about halfway between Salinas and Hollister, California.
• Tiedowns are not provided for fly-in parking, most of which will be on hard surfaces. They can be used in the aircraft camping area. Bring your own tiedowns.
• Self-serve fueling will not be available during the AOPA Fly-In because of the pump’s location.
• If you fly along the coastline south of Monterey, keep in mind that flight below 1,000 feet agl above designated areas of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary violates NOAA regulations.
Salinas Municipal Airport (SNS) in Salinas, California, sees a variety of aircraft. Piston singles come and go, as do helicopters. P–51 Mustangs make test flights following rebuilds. Turbine aircraft serve the needs of local enterprises, such as agricultural businesses and wineries.
Sometimes you’ll see aerobatic performer Sean D. Tucker take off to practice his airshow routine—he’s based at Salinas (his Tutima Academy is at King City, 35 nm southeast). AeroDynamic Aviation offers flight and tailwheel training. The airport’s also home to T&P Aero Refinishers, a well-regarded paint shop—like most good paint shops, there’s a wait to get scheduled here.
During the Fly-In you can tour Cal Pacific Airmotive, Inc., which is normally closed to the public. Lori Atkinson, service and quality manager—and the daughter of founders Art and Fran Teeters—will lead them. An FAA-approved repair station that specializes in major repairs, the company has achieved notoriety for its P–51 Mustang rebuilds.
“We fell into the P–51, we didn’t go looking for them,” Atkinson said. Her dad reluctantly took on a Mustang rebuild. “Then the air race guys saw there was a Mustang here, and they came to us for the wing modifications.” Teeters never liked clipping the racer wings, but he really enjoyed restoring the airplanes. The company owns limited type certificates for the P–51C, D, and K, as well as templates and jigs for most Mustang models. It can do magnaflux and zyglow testing for hidden damage in house, and makes replacements for parts that fail. In fact, the company’s Mustang parts business is bigger than the laborious restorations.
Golfers arriving on Friday can play in a tournament at the Salinas Fairways Golf Course, literally on the airport—the seventeenth tee and the fourteenth green bracket the Runway 13 threshold. The Monterey Bay Ninety-Nines are planning the event; the chapter marks its fiftieth anniversary this August. “The condition of the course is excellent, especially the greens,” said Ross Kroeker, course manager and head pro, “and we’re the best-priced course in the area as well.” The course was recently rated a Top 10 value golf course of the week by Golf Advisor, he said.
Kroeker said the airport is a good neighbor. “Most people think it’s kind of cool. I know I never tire of seeing airplanes taking off and landing. Who gets tired of that?”
Friday evening’s Barnstormers Party features a barbecue and special screening of National Geographic’s Living in the Age of Airplanes with filmmaker Brian Terwilliger. Aircraft camping will be allowed on the field Friday night. Reservations are required for camping (www.aopa.org/fly-ins); there is a nominal charge for the Barnstormers Party.
Two Monterey hotels—the Portola Hotel & Spa, and Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa—are offering package rates that might encourage you to bring your significant other and transform your Fly-In experience into a weekend getaway.
An engine ready for installation on a P–51 Mustang at Cal Pacific Airmotive (above). Sunrise at the Monterey harbor (top). Monterey’s Cannery Row (right). Monterey Bay seen above Salinas Municipal Airport (left bottom).
The Friday night Barnstormers Party on May 15 will feature a special screening of the film Living in the Age of Airplanes. Filmmaker Brian J. Terwilliger (creator of the aviation classic One Six Right) will be on hand to introduce the film and engage fly-in attendees in discussion. The Barnstormers Party also includes a catered barbeque dinner at the historic Salinas airport.
A variety of events and activities will be available for AOPA members, pilots, and aviation enthusiasts. Airport camping is also available.
6:30 to 9:30 p.m.—Barnstormers Party
7:30 to 10:30 a.m.—Rusty Pilots Breakfast and Seminar
8:30 to 10 a.m.—Pancake Breakfast with Rod Machado
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.—Exhibits and Aircraft Display open
9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.—Seminars
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.—Lunch
2:45 to 3:30 p.m.—Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President Mark Baker
3:30 p.m.—Ice Cream Social sponsored by Sporty’s Pilot Shop
4 p.m.—Fly-In concludes
AOPA President Mark Baker will host a Pilot Town Hall, providing updates on the association’s many efforts to keep flying affordable, safe, and fun.
Mark Baker, AOPA President and CEO
AOPA’s fifth president, Mark is an accomplished general aviation pilot with more than 7,500 hours, multiple ratings, and an owner of numerous airplanes over the years.
Rod Machado, AOPA’s National CFI Spokesman
An aviation author, humorist, AOPA columnist, and certificated flight instructor, Rod is on a one-man mission to keep the fun in learning. He has logged nearly 10,000 hours of instruction, one student at a time.
Brian is a filmmaker whose pursuit of excellence has taken him to all seven continents in search of compelling stories and stunning imagery. A certificated pilot captivated by flight since childhood, Brian has produced and directed three documentaries.
George Perry, AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President
A former U.S. Navy F–18E squadron commander with some 850 carrier landings and more than 5,000 flight hours, George began flying at age 16. He holds ATP, CFII, and MEI certificates, and was a senior aviation safety leader in the Navy.
Adrian Eichhorn, JetBlue Airways Pilot; A&P/IA
An airline transport pilot who has flown for the FAA, NASA, General Dynamics, the Washington Redskins, and most recently JetBlue, Adrian focuses on owner-performed maintenance and flying safety.
John Kounis, Editor in Chief, Pilot Getaways magazine
An avid pilot, John has been crisscrossing the country in his Cessna 185 to research fun and exciting destinations. Before starting the magazine, he spent eight years in Germany, where he flew his Cessna 172RG more than 1,200 hours in more than 40 countries.