Channel Islands Aviation is the host FBO for the event show center. This family-run, full-service FBO has been serving Ventura County for more than 40 years. Established in 1976 by Mark Oberman, Channel Islands Aviation offers jet charter, fuel sales, hangar space, flight training, aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, and flights to Channel Islands National Park. Channel Islands Aviation has the exclusive contract to fly to the Channel Islands, and a flight in the FBO’s Britten-Norman Islander to the windswept islands off the coast of Camarillo is not to be missed. The other Camarillo FBOs—Air 7, Sun Air Jets, and Western Cardinal—also will welcome visitors. The world’s largest TBM sales and service center, Avex Inc., will be open for tours.
AOPA has expanded its fly-in events to two days, increasing the opportunities for pilots to learn, explore, and enjoy the camaraderie and educational offerings that are the hallmark of an AOPA Fly-In. On Friday, attendees can sign up for one of four intensive workshops designed to increase and enhance the flying experience. For just $105, members will learn from aviation experts during a seven-hour experience that will expand their aviation knowledge. Attendees can choose from clinics on over-water and mountain flying; maintenance tips for owners and renters; sharing their aircraft experiences with others; and an instrument refresher course. After this informative day, exhibits open, a happy hour commences at 4 p.m., and the Barnstormers Party gets underway at 6 p.m.
Camarillo Airport (CMA) will open its doors to visitors on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. The traditional pancake breakfast is served with the assistance of local volunteers and AOPA staff. Throughout the day are free seminars and product demonstrations. Visitors can view the aircraft display with their families, share a catered luncheon, and enjoy an ice cream social. AOPA President Mark Baker concludes the day with updates and messages from the association’s headquarters.
There’s so much more to an AOPA Fly-In; see what the aviation community is buzzing about (www.aopa.org/kcma17).
By Julie Summers Walker
Mark Oberman has been flying to California’s Channel Islands since 1975. He married his wife, Janie, on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the eight islands in the chain that has been called the Galapagos of North America. These rugged, jagged islands in the Pacific Ocean are characterized by weathered sandstone canyons, rare Torrey pines, windswept beaches, and fertile grasslands. Since he and Janie became the first people in recorded history to be married on the islands, Oberman has had a love affair with these islands, which are only accessible by boat or by airplane—and Oberman runs the only official airline of the Channel Islands National Park. (General aviation isn’t allowed here; pilots risk $100,000 fines for flying too low.)
The Channel Islands have a rich and storied history—from the Chumash Indians to the Vail and Vickers Ranch, big-game hunting, and sheep and cattle ranches—and Oberman is the perfect guide. In his Britten-Norman Islander, Oberman takes visitors across the Santa Barbara Channel to land on one of two spots on the five islands that comprise the national park (the other islands are controlled and used by the U.S. Navy for weapons testing). He points out whales spouting in the waters, gives the history of the remaining ranch houses, talks about a winery that once existed here, and identifies the rare species of wildflowers and fauna. He touches down on the beach and on the grass strip that are the two runways on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands with such finesse it’s hard to believe these strips are rarely groomed. A rare island fox greets visitors on the grass strip. The fox lazily watches the aircraft and shrugs off this event. These are his islands, and he’s unimpressed by the machinery.
Channel Islands Aviation offers day trips to the islands where visitors can hike and explore. Camping is available but not much else; the islands are kept as pristine as possible, as are the 175 miles of coastline and the mile of ocean that surround the islands. More than 150 unique species of marine life, plants, and animals live here.