By Fred “Crash” Blechman
About 65 Airventurers Flying Club members and guests recently flew or drove into Santa Barbara Airport for its annual picnic. The event was held at Goleta Beach County Park, about a half-mile from the airport.
Arriving in the late morning and early afternoon, about 20 aircraft double-parked at the Mercury Air Center. Many attendees drove in from the Los Angeles area. Some walked to the beach from the airport while others were taken there by a Mercury Air Center courtesy van.
Dave Timms hosted this year’s picnic. He made all the arrangements for the food and facilities, and was the chief chef, with others helping. There was no charge for the club-sponsored afternoon of fun and food, which included salmon, in addition to the usual fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken breasts.
The grill was surrounded by hungry guests who added fixings to their choice of the main dish, and then settled into a large area of tables and benches under a sun-shaded covered area. Some headed out on the beach and enjoyed the Pacific Ocean breeze on a 70-degree day. The annual dessert contest took place, as it does every year, with blue ribbons for the winners.
Several planes flew back in loose formations, some along the Pacific Coast toward Malibu Beach, others taking the inland route, each returning to its “home” airport.
The Airventurers Flying Club was founded in 1964. Currently there are 69 members and applicants. The club doesn’t own airplanes, but 61 members own one or more aircraft. Members fly out of many Southern California airports, such as Van Nuys, Whiteman, Camarillo, Santa Monica, Hawthorne, El Monte, Oxnard, Torrance and Palomar. The club is member-owned and run, and all functions are run on a non-profit volunteer basis.
Any person who is qualified as a pilot of any aircraft, including airship, lighter-than-air, glider or balloon, and whom the FAA certifies as such, can become a regular member. The club welcomes new members who are fun-loving, qualified, safe pilots.
The club plans monthly fly-ins. Some are for only one day and others are for a weekend or more. In 1998, some members went on a 14-day trip to Alaska. All fly-ins are planned and run by members at cost. The annual picnic has been at Goleta Beach County Park for the last three years. There’s also an annual holiday party in December. The organization’s newsletter lets the members know what has happened and what events are upcoming, and includes many photos from the fly-ins.
Monthly dinner meetings feature interesting speakers. The September meeting, for example, will provide an IFR refresher lecture by member Ken Coolidge, a CFII who gives numerous safety meetings in the Los Angeles area. The October meeting will host Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, the granddaughter of Jimmy Doolittle, who wrote a book (“Calculated Risk”) about him. She will talk about Doolittle and other aviation greats she has known. The cost of the meetings is the cost of the dinner charged by the restaurant.
If you’d like information about the Airventurers Flying Club, visit [http://www.airventurers.org], or contact the president, Don Eisenberg, at 818-783-4482 or email@example.com.