Changes at Montgomery Field

My home airport, Montgomery Field in San Diego, was built by Bill Gibbs in 1937 and later acquired by the City of San Diego in 1948. Ever since then the Gibbs Flying Service has run the FBO services there providing tie-downs, fuel, service etc.

The Gibbs lease expires May 31st and the City has dragged its heels over giving Gibbs the opportunity to apply for renewal. This means that no new lease will be in place before June 1st and Gibbs will therefore lose its situation on the field. The City wants to make more money from the airport operation and getting Gibbs out is one way to do this; the manner of this ‘eviction’ whilst legal is certainly underhanded and unpleasant. The City says that things will continue as usual – someone will provide fuel and tiedown service, the flying clubs can remain in the office space, only the leaseholder will change. And of course Gibbs is free to bid for the lease when the City finally gets round to putting out the RFP.

I’m quite the traditionalist so am sad to see Gibbs moving out after having founded the airport and been there ever since. But on the other hand, dealing with their front desk has always been tedious. The staff do their best to ignore you, it is very hard to get their attention and when you do it always seems that your fuel order is the worst thing to happen to them all day. That’s no way to run an aviation business. So I probably won’t be sad to see Gibbs go so long as the services continue to be available.

Safety Pilot Duty

1.2 hrs PIC
Last night I was safety pilot for a guy I met off the Plus One Flyers club forum. In order to keep current to fly on instruments the regulations say that you must perform 6 instrument approaches, holding patterns, tracking and intercepting radials every 6 months. These have to be done in actual or simulated instrument conditions. Here in Southern California we don’t get many days where you can practice in actual conditions so the only way to do this is to wear a view-limiting device to stop you looking outside, and a safety pilot who tags along looking out the window and stops you flying into other planes or mountains.

Santa Ana winds had been blowing all day and so the winds aloft were acting weird. Over the coast the winds were from the west but a little inland they were from the east, each time we flew near the coast we got a little light turbulence. Serge flew an excellent circuit of approaches at Oceanside, Carlsbad and back to Montgomery, even landing with no lights working on the plane.

My currency expired yesterday so I need to get up with Serge and shoot the full 6 approaches. Hopefully I’ll do that later this month.