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Winter 2012 -2013

Plane News - 1948 Stearman - Photo by S Solis  

In this issue:

Compass Points: San Diego County Airports – Gillespie Field 

Local Children’s Art Work brightens up McClellan-Palomar Airport Traveler’s Experience

PBY Catalina fly’s in to Gillespie Field – Brings Back Old Memories for Many

County, Marines Team Up to Collect Toys for Tots

Taxiway Improvements at Palomar Airport

New Contracted County Airports Staff

Gillespie Field Service Road

Just Another Day at Borrego

Other News


“Compass Points”

By Peter Drinkwater, Director of Airports

San Diego County Airports – Gillespie Field:

The journey of Gillespie Field from a military training facility to one of the largest and best general aviation airports in Southern California continues. Over the last year there have been numerous ongoing improvements. Several new projects are about to start including construction of an access road designed to improve safety of vehicle movements on the airfield. In addition, the Environmental Impact Report for the Cajon Air Center is complete and a Federal Environmental Assessment should soon be finished. This will clear way for the progression of this important project.

The business and economic benefits of Gillespie Field, including the business parks, are significant and greatly add to East County community vitality. The East County Economic Development Council has developed a collaborative effort with the cities of El Cajon and Santee to explore the Aerotropolis concept of leveraging surrounding community benefits of Gillespie Field. Gillespie is home to some world-class historical aircraft and supported by passionate aviation enthusiasts. They are committed to preserving general aviation’s history as well as inspiring the next generation by generously making their aircraft and tools available through community and private events. With a rich history and a promising future, Gillespie Field will continue its exciting, innovative journey and exemplify the very best that the San Diego County aviation and business  communities have to offer.

Clear skies & happy landings,

 

Peter Drinkwater

Director of Airports

Gillespie Field

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Local Children's Art Work Brightens Up McClellan-Palomar Airport Traveler's Experience

By Dan Thompson, Administrative Secretary

Budding Rembrandt’s and Monet’s are increasing the cultural experience of Palomar Airport Travelers.

This artistic endeavor started when County Airports was approached by Discovery Elementary School in San Marcos.  Last fall their school partnered with Art Miles, an international mural company, to allow their students to create murals based on a theme of their choosing.  Each classroom in the school was given a five foot by nine foot canvas to let their imaginations run wild and create a mural to be displayed in their community. 

Two of the murals were recently mounted in Palomar Airport where passengers wait for their flights to board.   Over 4,000 passengers each month can now enjoy the children’s art.  Other locations the art is being displayed in the area are at Cal State San Marcos, San Marcos High School, the local Boys and Girls Club and the San Marcos Community Library.  Eventually, the art work will be given back to the school and donated to the Art Murals Project for use around the world. 

So the next time you fly out of Palomar Airport, check out the students work and see North County through the eyes of a child.

Artwork

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PBY Catalina fly’s in to Gillespie Field – Brings Back Old Memories for Many

By Jiri Rutner, Administrative Analyst

Earlier this year Jim Slattery’s most recently acquired plane, the PBY Catalina, was flown into Gillespie Field. The PBY Catalina was an American flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s and was considered the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. The PB represents “Patrol Bomber” and the Y was the code assigned to the manufacturer. During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escorts, search and rescue missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. Even after more than 70 years, this aircraft is still used as an airtanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world.

The aircraft arrived at its final destination at Gillespie Field from where it was originally being worked on and restored in South Africa. The 16-leg, 12,000 mile journey from South Africa took about 3 weeks. The PBYs arrival attracted the attention of many people who had flown or serviced the aircraft during WWII and brought many of them to the Gillespie Field Terminal Building. Demand to view the aircraft was so high that Jim Slattery announced an Open House that occurred in early February.

PBY Catalina

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County, Marines Team Up to Collect Toys for Tots

By Cova Becker, Contract Airport Manager

Ramona Airport hosted a very successful Toys for Tots event again this last December.  Pilots and community members turned out to make the season a lot brighter for kids who might not have had any presents for the holidays.  As usual, the US Marine Corps were in attendance, thanking people for their donations and loading up several vehicles with a very gratifying array of toys.

Martin Wood put on his usual outstanding BBQ with all the trimmings for pilots that flew in their donations.  This was also the end-point collection site for Palomar and Gillespie Airports, so it was truly a team effort.

Fallbrook Airpark hosted their Toys for Tots drive on the following weekend.  Once again, the generosity and holiday spirit of the community and fly-in pilots carried the day.  We even had leftover donations that wouldn’t fit into the Marine’s vehicles, or got dropped off after they left, that were delivered personally to the Marine Reserve Headquarters by George Watson, Manager at Fallbrook.

Toys for Tots

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Taxiway Improvements at Palomar Airport

By Dan Thompson, Administrative Secretary

County Airports is committed to maintaining their facilities and the taxiways at Palomar Airport are no exception.  The County has undertaken an ambitious project to improve the taxiways at the airport.

The project is in three phases.  The first phase, which has been completed, included digging out and replacing the base material and asphalt on part of the runway 24 run-up area.  The second phase, which began on December 9, 2012, involved the same kind of work on taxiway A5.  Due to inclement weather, this phase was halted and is scheduled to resume on April 21, 2013.  The third phase, scheduled to begin in early May, will conclude the project and will include the same work on taxiways A3 and A4.

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New Contracted County Airports Staff

Meet Andrew Wignot, Contract Ramona Airport Manager

Andrew grew up in Santa Barbara, California where he graduated High School in 1990. He went to Santa Barbara City College and graduated with an AA Degree in Liberal Arts. His interest in Aviation stemmed from traveling the world with his parents and from being on jets. He joined his first Aviation Club in 1986 and then started washing Airplanes at the Santa Barbara Airport for two flight schools. At one flight school he was able to get his solo flight certificate in partial exchange for washing the airplanes. He joined the United States Marine Corps with the intention of getting into the flight program. Since he was unable to get into the program he got his Private Pilot’s license in June of 1999. Andrew also worked as an Aircraft refueler for two FBO's and ran a Self-Serve Island. He then went on to work for two airlines providing ramps services. He’s been a dispatcher for a flight school and an Assistant Operations Officer for a flying club. In 2007 Andrew was awarded the Contract to Manage the North Ramp of Palomar Airport. He was recently hired on as the Ramona Airport Manager.

Andrew Wignot

Meet Meadow Chase, Fallbrook Operations Coordinator

Meadow grew up in Escondido. She graduated from high school within a year at the age of 14. She started attending Palomar College, from where she graduated with multiple associate's degrees. Soon after starting at Palomar, she became interested in aviation after watching Top Gun. Meadow started her flight training at sixteen with Ms. Julie Keane at Ramona Airport where she’s done all of her training since. She finally earned her private license in September of last year. She worked at Chuck Hall Aviation for a little while before graduating from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a bachelor's in Aviation Management. She was recently hired on as an Operations Coordinator.

Meadow Chase

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Gillespie Field Service Road

By Marc Baskel, Airport Manager

This spring construction of a service road will begin at Gillespie Field.  The completion of this project will reduce the amount of ground vehicles operating within the movement area.  Currently, the only option for airport service vehicles to move around the airport is utilizing the taxiway system.  The existence of a service road will reduce the amount of vehicle radio traffic using ground frequency and will also establish an appropriate means of travel for airport vehicles within the AOA.  This project will also address dust and erosion issues that exist in many of the medians that are adjacent to our taxiways and aprons.  The anticipated completion date for this project will be early summer.

Service Road

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Just Another Day at Borrego

By Viki Cole, Contract Airport Manager

Now you see them.... and now you don’t. I look out my window from the terminal building to see small white streaks across the sky. Suddenly there they are… smiling pilots of these fast and sleek 'Easy's' walking down the tarmac for lunch at Assaggio's. They are always fun to watch. Looking west are several antique aircraft. Some come with pilots telling tales of restoration.  I hear some commotion going on down at the hangars... must be those Canadian Jumpers again readying for the C130 to pick them up and drop them 3 miles s/e of the Borrego Valley Airport. I hear a jet on the Unicom. He is announcing his intentions to land here. I jump to the radio hoping to let everyone know the Aerobatic box is hot and active at this time. I look out and on the cement slabs just north there is a Global Express, a huge shining aircraft taking up space, framed by the purple mountains in this mild desert landscape... Just another day here in Borrego.

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Other News

By Cova Becker, Contract Airport Manager

Fallbrook Airpark will be hosting its annual Open House during the Avocado Festival on Sunday, April 21st.  Attractions will include the Radio Flyers and Ron Montoya’s Flight Simulator and lots of nice aircraft on Static Display. Volunteers from the Friends of Fallbrook Community Airpark (F-CAP to their friends and supporters) will have a handy food booth and assist with parking.   There will be shuttle busses running all day to pick up and drop off visitors at various locations around town, including the Airpark, so you can enjoy your day without repeated jockeying for parking spots or long walks, whether you drive or fly in (the transient ramp is located on the east side of the runway). 

For pilots who fly Antique/Classic aircraft, there will be someone available to sign your display sheet.  Plan to arrive early and remember, you have to actually display it for the duration of the event, not just drop in, get a signature and fly right out again.

There are several really good places to eat around town, not to mention all the vendors participating in the Avocado Festival.  So plan to relax, enjoy and make a day of it.  You’ll be glad you did!

By Viki Cole, Contract Airport Manager

There is a lot of excitement at Borrego Valley over one of the largest and most exclusive resorts, La Casa Del Zorro, which is planning to reopen at the end of May. Also, the Borrego Springs Resort has upgraded and now pilots and their passengers have courtesy vans at their disposal to and from the airport for lunch or extended stays. Enjoy the view from the deck at our onsite restaurant where spectacular mountains backdrop planes coming and going. Borrego Valley is now ramping up for the annual 'Chapter 36 Borrego Valley Hammerhead Round Up' which will highlight the spring season. Join us on the weekend of the 12th for some high flying excitement.

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Plane News is published by the County of San Diego Department of Public Works

Board of Supervisors:

Greg Cox  ∫  Dianne Jacob  ∫  Dave Roberts  ∫  Ron Roberts  ∫  Bill Horn

Chief Administrative Officer: Helen N. Robbins-Meyer  ∫  Director of Public Works: Rich Crompton  

Director of County Airports: Peter Drinkwater