Route: We flew direct from F70 to Catalina airport while avoiding the restricted airspace by Camp Pendleton At 4500 feet while on flight radar (VFR flight following).
Time Enroute: 25-30min depending on the amount of sight-seeing you partake in.
“De-Hangered” and ready to fly.
Buffalo can be spotted off in the distance. These non native buffalo were brought to the island in the 1920s for a movie shoot and have been there ever since.
Don’t let this picture below fool you, that’s not me with my arm around my wife, that’s my friend Ryan…. I’m taking the picture, as always.
Furthermore, I didn’t fly here by my self. I brought chief pilot Jeff Goodwin, my former flight instructor from EFI flight school at F70. This was my first flight out to Catalina as pilot in command (PIC) and wanted some back up help due to the expert level of pilot this airport demands.
Airport Environment: Catalina is a complex and visually deceiving airport. There are very few ground reference due to the airport sitting on top of the island.
- runway 3000×75
- Rough surface
- runway 22 Right pattern and is up slopped up 1.8 degrees
- runway 22 is Preferred runway.
- runway 04 Left pattern and slopes downward
- NO touch and goes
- **Common easterly winds create a down draft when landing on runway 22.**
TIP: opposing traffic can not see from end to end due to the curve of the runway, announce all calls to ATC at airport
TIP: Straight-in approaches are frowned upon and usually end up in a go-around according to the airports website.
FYI: 25 dollar landing fee.
Here is my sequence of events during my approach.
#2 approach from the South.
#3 right pattern runway 22
TIP: The pilot MUST flare more than he or she thinks due to the up slope of runway 22. We witnessed a Cessna pilot flare but still strike the nose wheel first resulting in a hard landing (and his tow bar falling off his front wheel UH OH! )
No FBO but they do charge a 25 dollar landing fee. There is a yearly deal that costs around 100-150 dollars or so. This will give discounts for the landing fee and I believe taxi service to Avalon. I will double check on this…..
There is a very good restaurant called the “DC3 gifts and grill” of which sell amazing buffalo burgers and giant cookies. Due to the deliciousness of the cookies, we call the trip the “hundred dollar cookie flight” instead of the famous aviation term “hundred dollar hamburger”.
The DC3 airplane is commonly used to deliver supplies to Catalina. These huge airplanes are amazing at landing on short fields……Kinda big……
FYI: The “hundred dollar hamburger” is an excuse for a pilot to run -up the engine. Often times the pilot has no where to go, so they fly somewhere for a burger. The trip often costs about 100 dollars for fuel and food, hence the name.
Near by Accommodations: There is a shuttle that Will transport you from the airport to Avalon, however, the trip will cost you about $18 PER PERSON and PER WAY. Rates may change, call ahead.
Places stayed: If you are staying only for a day trip there are many great restaurants in town. If you are staying overnight I highly recommend Hamilton Cove.
Catalina is a MUST FLY-IN for all skilled pilots. Its a perfect island get away! But like most islands, the trip with cost you island prices.
And as always, more to come as we take a closer look later.
-May your props always spin.