Pilots who are planning to attend the AOPA Fly-In at Camarillo, California, presented by California Aeronautical University, should make plans now to participate in two distinctly different fly-outs—one to a rocky island and another to a mountain getaway—during the April 28 to 29 event. AOPA is also facilitating land excursions to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and a behind-the-scenes look at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, just west of Los Angeles at Naval Base Ventura County.
The fly-out options are new additions to the association’s popular regional fly-ins, which began in 2014, and they are designed to build on skill sets that attendees learn during fly-in workshops and seminars. For example, pilots attending the tuition-supported “Overcoming Mountains and Water: Flying in the Extreme” workshop on April 28 can put those skills to use the following day during fly-outs either to rugged Catalina Island, 20 miles beyond the coastline of Los Angeles, or to Kern Valley, tucked into a mountain valley near Lake Isabella.
The Cessna Pilots Society (CPS) is helping AOPA organize the Catalina overnight trip with the camaraderie of a barbecue dinner, a group breakfast, and various island excursions. Pilots flying into Catalina Island have the unique experience of approaching the rocky outcrop from the ocean before the terrain quickly rises in front of them to 1,600 feet.
Sailboats dotting the semicircular Two Harbors bay and nearby Cherry Cove make for spectacular aerial photos, and the island has a rich history of exploration, biodiversity, and aviation. Pilots familiar with the area are advised to be aware of an illusion that could occur as they approach an airport over swiftly rising terrain.
Participants at the Friday workshop hosted by experts Lori MacNichol and AOPA Editor at Large Tom Horne should have the tools they need before tackling a mountain flight or an extended overwater flight.
The cost for the Catalina fly-out is $55 for Catalina Airport members and $70 for non-members, and reservations are quickly filling.
Pilots interested in the mountain-sports town of Kernville can join Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) members leading an overnight trip to Kern Valley Airport, nestled alongside the Kern Valley River, with on-field camping and a convenient café that is known for its 10-ounce Pilot Burger.
Sierra Nevada mountain peaks scrape the sky at 9,000 feet, framing the deep blue waters of Lake Isabella and the town of Kernville, so make sure to keep a camera handy on approach.
“Although pilots are near tall peaks, they are encouraged to do what they’ve been taught as a pilot and they will be just fine,” said airport liaison Anthony Longobardo. He said Camarillo AOPA Fly-In pilots can receive a discount from river rafting outfitter Sierra South, as well as hotel discounts for those who prefer not to camp. Fly-out attendees are advised, however, that Kern does not sell fuel.
The campground is a short walk to the rushing Kern River, and amenities include bathroom facilities, an outdoor shower, fire pits, and access to drinking water.
An afternoon barbecue lunch, hiking, fishing, and exploring await adventuresome travelers. Included in the trip are a traditional RAF potato bake dinner, Sunday breakfast, and the camping fee.
The cost for the Kern Valley Airport fly-out is $75 per aircraft, including one pilot, with additional passengers $40 each. Space is limited for this popular overnight trip.
Tips to build great experiences, fun destinations, and memorable photography into these two unforgettable flying adventures will be revealed in the “Pilot Plus One: Combining Learning, Inspiration, and Adventure” Friday workshop led by aviation-travel experts George Kounis, Jim Koepnick, Robert DeLaurentis, Jolie Lucas, and Jan Maxwell.
Fly-in attendees who prefer a land-based tour can experience an interesting look at Naval Air Station Point Mugu’s enormous geographic diversity including vast ocean, deep water ports, and protected islands within restricted air space just west of Los Angeles at Naval Base Ventura County.
The association will bus fly-in attendees to the facility, where participants can tour the Naval Air Station Point Mugu Archive Center and Storage Facility, home to a collection of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles and electronics countermeasures equipment. The tour continues with a look at the X-30 unmanned aircraft system in what is considered to be the UAS capital of the West Coast. Participants will get up close and personal with an E-2C Hawkeye squadron and carrier-capable tactical airborne early warning aircraft, as well as military C-130 cargo aircraft that can be converted to firefighting air tankers.
Lunch with the commanding officer of the air station is included in the $12 trip that begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.
Attendees who would like to view the gleaming silver-and-blue Air Force One jetliner that flew over 660,000 miles and served seven presidents including Ronald Reagan can catch a lift to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, compliments of AOPA. The association will provide free transportation to and from the facility, but participants will need to purchase their own tickets upon arrival at the library as this is not an AOPA planned tour.
There are two Reagan Library excursions from Camarillo: a morning trip from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and an afternoon option from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Attendees planning to participate in a 2017 AOPA Fly-In Saturday excursion are encouraged to sign up early.