Guy on a BUFFALO! Flying a Small Airplane to Catalina Island

Guy on a buffalo, or two guys on a buffalo… Stephen and I head to Catalina Island in Southern California for a day of flying, $100 hamburgers, beautiful sites, and just a really cool excuse to commit aviation.

Stephen is time building in his Cessna 150, preparing to be a commercial pilot. Right now he’s just a private pilot without instrument, but he’s really close to achieving both as he works on his aviation career.

We start in Camarillo, CA at the Waypoint Cafe. I was hanging out there when his instructor saw me on my Instagram story. Then one thing lead to another, and we ended up going flying together.

It’s always great to meet a new flying friend and head up. We went south past Point Magu and saw some traffic really close. They didn’t have ADS-B on ForeFlight, so they were hard to see. But, it all worked out just fine.

Then we made our water crossing which is always something you need to be careful to consider for aviation safety. Flying over water can be hazardous if the correct preparations aren’t made. But we had life preservers and got a bit higher.

Stephen told me about a recent shark encounter that someone had, where the shark bit their kayak and embedded its teeth. Pretty crazy!

Then we landed the airplane at Catalina Island in the traffic pattern. I did sterile cockpit so Stephen could concentrate. Let’s just say his landing was… successful. We made it down in one piece ;D

This airport is quite challenging, being on top of the mountain, and on a slope. It means you get a lot of wind moving around, making for a very dynamic and active landing sequence. In all fairness, I just wanted to point out that it is a challenging place to land an airplane.

Catalina Island is a conservatory and kept very wild. There are even wild buffalo on the island. And yes, we did have a buffalo burger. And it was amazing.

After seeing the sights on the island, we took off and flew around the rest of the island, taking in the sights. With an airplane we can circumnavigate pretty easy. The water is bright blue, with big crashing waves. It’s a really impressive flight.

I bet Stephen $10 that he couldn’t see buffalo before me… and lost. We saw buffalo from the airplane! Very cool.

Later I said my debt was null and void if I could land the airplane really smoothly. But, I didn’t. Even this CFI couldn’t do it… Oh well.

Had a blast, and I hope you enjoyed it as well!

One Reply on Guy on a BUFFALO! Flying a Small Airplane to Catalina Island

I found the part in the video about a “3 mile left base” interesting. Yesterday morning I was instructed by a local tower controller to report a 3 mile left base for the active runway. Having recently watched this video, I was tipped off on what I should do. After landing, I asked the controller what he meant by the instruction. He told me he wanted me to enter a left base 3 miles from the end of the runway. It has been my understanding a “3 mile left base” was a 3 mile long left base at a normal distance from the end of the runway. I have never been called out on this by a local controller (perhaps because most controlled fields in my area do not have radar). Learned something new. Keep up the good work.

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