Trip report - Catalina Island

Matthew Curcio

I figured I'd share this one as it was something fun and new. I flew the Q down to Brawley (BWC) Saturday around noon to meet up with some friends to fly our paramotors around the sand dunes at glamis. On the way back home from there Sunday at noon I was kind of not in the mood for the weekend to be over so after I landed back home at Tehachapi and dropped my bags, I decided to make the inaugural trip for my quickie (or maybe Quickies period) into Catalina Island Airport. For those unfamiliar Catalina, it is a large island about 30 miles off the coast of long beach / LA. It has two small cities, three harbors, and it was, for a long time, owned by the wrigley family (as in wrigley gum and the wrigley field). They have since sold the majority of it. I've been vacillating for a while about taking the quickie in there. The airport receives no public funding and the pavement isn't in great shape. It's basically on the top of a mountain/hill at 1,600 feet. It's 3000 feet long with 50 feet of over-run on either side and after the over run its more or less a cliff on both ends. it has a fairly steep slope (2.1%) on runway 22 for the first 3000 feet and then it levels out. They actually discourage landing on rwy 4 for this reason because you can't see the end of the runway and the obvious problem of floating and slowing down on the decline. I ended up landing on 22 with a 4 knot headwind, getting some dinner at the diner and then taking off on runway 4, with the 4 knot tailwind. I figured the gradient was more help than 4 knots and if you have a problem on take off you could glide into the water vs. a mountain. The pavement was definitely the worst I've landed on, I would be a little nervous about it if I was heavy. on departure, I circled the island and climbed up to 7,500 to cross the ocean and then used the LA special flight rules area to transition the bravo 4,500 feet over LAX (while not taking to any controllers). 

Some co-workers told me stories of watching the DC3 that brings supplies into the island taking off and landing. The landing is nothing special but apparently they take off on 22 and basically drop the nose when they get over the end of the runway and go under the edge of the runway to pick up some airspeed - seems like that would be a fun show! 

Matthew Curcio


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