This last weekend at Camarillo Airport (CMA) there were some big crowds as the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) had one of their regional “fly-ins” at our site. (There’s a nice mention of the CAF presence there in the fifth paragraph – but you read this site so you already knew about that, didn’t you?)
The AOPA and all of its volunteers (many of whom are also CAF members and volunteers) did a great job of marshaling hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of planes into an airport that normally holds a hundred or so. The heavy winds on Friday and Saturday probably did a job on keeping the number of aircraft down – it seemed there were a fair number of pilots who chose to drive out from the LA environs and Southern California rather than risk the 15-20 knot crosswinds.
Nonetheless, when it was all over, the volunteers got to marshal all of those planes back out. If you think it’s crowded getting out of the parking lot at Dodger Stadium after a big game, or onto the train outside Busch Stadium after a Cardinals game, try putting hundreds of planes into the Los Angeles airspace in just a couple of hours!
On a nice weekend day CMA often will have five or six aircraft lined up to take their turns at take off. This weekend…
Click on this to see it full sized and start counting the planes. I see at least ten here and there were a couple more over to the left.
The other things to note are: a) the aforementioned volunteers out there marshaling traffic – you’ll NEVER see anyone out there on a normal day, at least not without the cops chasing them; b) look at the US flag and how those winds have it straight out. Fortunately, by this time it had shifted around to be blowing straight down the runway. The problem was that about 50 feet up it was apparently blowing in a much different direction (it happens) which meant that transitioning into or out of the ground winds was “exciting.”
Everyone was safe, a good time was had by all, and everyone made it home. All in all, an excellent job by AOPA and the CMA staff!