Tuesday, February 12, 2008

San Ardo Field Airport

The photo shows the strip to the right of the 101 that is in San Ardo, California.

I haven't posted much lately. Mostly because much hasn't been going on and also because no one actually reads my blog, so there' really no point. I do, rather, like having the ability to go and read previous posts I read and reflect on them. This post serves that purpose.

I got a call from my flight school while sitting in church last Sunday. It was the first day that I didn't have to fly in 3 days, and I was looking forward to not having to drive down to work. I let my voice mail get the call and I listened to it shortly after while listening to the sermon. Turns out, there were two pilots flying one of our 152's up to King City that had to make an emergency landing in San Ardo, California (half way between Paso Robles and King City. The girl that left the message pronounced the city wrong, but I figured she meant San Ardo. I've seen the airport from the air during the flights I've made up north, but I also knew that it was a private field. I returned the call and she gives me the phone number to one of the pilots who was stranded. After calling him, I told him I would be more than happy to come pick them up and asked for some information about the airport. It was an awesome opportunity to fly up to an airport I would probably never have the chance to fly into, all without costing me anything, except some of my Sunday.

After church I drove to the airport (Paso Robles, PRB) and began preflighting. It was also a great opportunity to fly solo again. I haven't been alone in the airplane since the solo time required for my private. I took off and tried to see if the GPS knew where this field was. With the help of my brother, who printed out some information about the airport, I punched in the identifier CA88. The GPS recognized the airport and I flew direct. I asked before hand which runway the wind was favoring and they said the wind was from the south, so I would land on runway 14 (although there were no runway markings on this strip, just giant X's). I slowed down before reaching the oil fields that make San Ardo recognizable in order to make sure I didn't mistake the field for something else. There are a few other private fields out there. I finally saw the field, which was newly paved, and began to enter a left downwind. The runway is about 2000 feet, which isn't too short, but it's only 45 feet or less in width, which makes it tricky to get a proper glideslope picture while landing. I made an OK landing, considering it felt as if the wind was blowing from behind and this airport was a bit intimidating.

Here's me while flying.

The two pilots came walking along the runway, I made a 'U' turn and picked them up and we took off. The flight back was uneventful, except for the story they told of how they ended up at this private strip. I was able to log close to 2 hours of flight time and some solo time on the trip. It was an excellent experience and opportunity and I'm glad that I was the only instructor on this list that was available that day to take advantage of it.