Each spring, Half Moon Bay airport on the Northern California coast hosts a gathering of aircraft and cars for the Dream Machines event. Rob Edgcumbe visited for GAR to see what interesting vehicles would show up.
Half Moon Bay sits on the Pacific coast a short distance south of San Francisco. It is well known in the surfing community as the location of Mavericks, a particularly impressive and dangerous break that attracts surfers from across the world. However, late April is the time when people flock to the local airport for Dream Machines.
Dream Machines is a combination aviation and car event. It is not an air show but a gathering. The size of the airfield and its proximity to other properties makes it impractical to set up an airshow box so display flying is not possible. However, that doesn’t mean that the aircraft are unable to show themselves to the visitors with flybys carried out by many of the visitors and based aircraft.
The weather did not start out well. There is a large ridge of hills just inland from Half Moon Bay and it can cause a lot of cloud formation as the moisture moves in from the ocean. The day started with heavy cloud cover over the hills and a pretty low base over the field itself. The forecast was for improvement throughout the day but a number of potential visitors did not come in based on the weather. However, plenty of aircraft were already in place so there was a lot for visitors to see.
The car exhibits are focused on the south end of the field in the area where the visitors park. The aircraft were predominantly parked to the north end of the public areas although a few exceptions were scattered further south including a P-51D Mustang and a C-47 Skytrain. There were also a couple of options for those wanting a pleasure flight. If vintage flying was your thing, a New Standard was running regular trips around the area. If something a bit newer was of interest, a Robinson R44 was doing good business as well.
A number of interesting aircraft were on show. Local pilot, Eddie Andrieni had a number of his aircraft on display including his P-51D, a Yak-9 and his Super Stearman. He would take the P-51D up later in the day and fly a few formations with a Yak-11 demonstrating his smoke system as he went (Sadly, only a week later, Eddie lost his life at the Travis AFB air show while flying the Super Stearman. A sad loss and our condolences to his friends and family). The Planes of Fame museum had sent up P-38J Lightning ’23 Skidoo’ and an F4U-1A Corsair, both of which got a lot of attention on the static park prior to departing later in the day. B-25J Mitchell ‘Old Glory’ looked in great condition and also departed later in the day. Eric Presten had brought his Bleriot XI for static display and it had a steady stream of small children fascinated by the basic construction of such an old aircraft design.
The Sanders family had brought down Sea Fury ‘Dreadnought’. Sadly, following its departure in the afternoon in partnership with a Cessna 210 support aircraft, the two of them collided over San Pablo Bay en route to their base in Ione. ‘Dreadnought’ suffered damage but was able to recover to base. Sadly, the 210 was lost with its pilot. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all involved.
As forecast the weather did significantly improve as they day went by and the many visitors that showed up were treated to a great selection of automotive and aviation treats. The attendance appeared reasonable despite the initially unpromising weather but the flow of people was obviously steadier as the congestion at the end of the day seen in previous years did not prove to be a problem. The organizers seem to have put together a great little event and, even though not everyone who was expected to be there could make it, there was still plenty to keep everyone happy. If you are in the area next year, I would recommend you add this to your calendar.