Paul Dunn's 2010 blogGAR Entries

FEB 16 2010
California City Municipal Airport

Los Angeles International Airport is one of my regular destinations with work, and southern California is one of my favourite areas to visit and seek out interesting aviation. For my first trip to SoCal this year, I had arranged to visit a company at Mojave, but due to an unfortunate set of circumstances the visit failed to materialise.

Travelling with my friend (and work colleague) Dan, I still visited Mojave Airport and took the airfield tour offered by the airfield management. Sadly, photography is no longer allowed on these tours, which is a shame as the airport is extremely interesting and busy. The storage and disposal areas are crowded with recently retired types, including an increasing number of 747 “Classics”.

Moving on from Mojave, we decided to check out the municipal airfield at California City, a couple of miles to the north. California City is a moderately sized town of just over 8000 inhabitants. Despite its size, California City has a well equipped airport, home to several interesting aircraft.

The first aircraft which I noticed as we arrived was what looked like an early HS125 executive jet, registered N151SG. Some further investigation revealed that the aircraft is more accurately referred to by its original designation, the Hawker Siddeley DH125. The 35th aircraft built, it was produced in 1965. It appears to have been resident at the airfield for several years and remains in good condition, although it may not be currently airworthy.

Perhaps the most unexpected sight at California City was the presence of a total of five ex-French Air Force Fouga Magisters. The aircraft are a mixture of versions and are owned by several private owners, who fly the aircraft reasonably regularly.

Displayed outside the airfield restaurant and office building is a Convair C-131 Samaritan with an interesting past. The aircraft began its career with the USAF before passing to the USCG as an HC-131. It was later acquired by a local company to participate in a project to test an emergency egress system for the Space Shuttle, a task which necessitated the fitting of a large hatch in the rear fuselage on the left hand side.

At the other end of the airfield are two DC-3s. The first of these is N193DP, a former US Navy R4D-1. The aircraft was formerly owned by the Santa Monica Museum of Flight and was airworthy within the last five years. It is still in good condition, but appears to have been dormant at California City for some time.

Parked nearby is a slightly different Dakota – a turboprop engine C-47TP, registered N145RD. This aircraft was built in 1942 and delivered to the South African Air Force. The aircraft carries the colours of Baja Air, and was used up until recently on flights from various locations in California to Mexico.

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