Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big Bear - Pauma Valley / Piper Dakota (N9704W) / VFR

Tired of shuttling between Santa Paula and Big Bear, I decided to fly down to some other tiny airport in SoCal, and I picked Pauma Valley Air Park on the chart. This is a tiny private field owned by a country club. I obtained permission to land there (permission is always granted in the world of virtual flight), and I was off, making my usual sharp turn through the mountains at the west end of Big Bear Lake, then to REANS, then over Hemet and French Valley airports, then to Pauma Valley.

My destination airport is tiny and I had never been here before, so I almost missed it, but I finally spotted the field. At the time of my flight, I didn't realize that the field had a golf course right next to it (duh!), or that would have made it easy to find. I was confused by what looked like another, even smaller strip, but I picked the one aligned with my heading (because the chart showed that Pauma would be aligned with me). I couldn't find the other strip on the charts, if that's what it was.

By the time I found the field, I was quite high. I turned to base and final in one 180-degree turn, slipping at the same time to get down to a reasonable altitude (I started at around 5500 and the field is at around 750). I aligned fine with the runway, but I came in quite fast and floated for a while in ground effect again. I finally touched down and stood on the brakes, and came to a full stop just inches from the end of the runway (see my photo). I'm not sure if that's good or bad in terms of airmanship!

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