|Arrival at Columbia Airport (O22)
Being non-towered, the flight into Columbia was a choice between runway 17 (calm) or runway 35 (not-so-calm) and most pilots cautiously opted for 35 with a left downwind arrival. I couldn't help noticing a small hill momentarily obstructing the numbers as Amanda - our skilled student pilot - went from downwind to base. With an elevation of 2,120 MSL there was no doubt about it, we'd gone up the hill a bit. The area is also prone to wildfires and the stationed Cal Fire unit at Columbia was hard to miss at what is currently its busiest time of year. Several WOW's watched as a 30,000 pound Grumman S-2T air tanker carrying 1200 gallons of fire retardant weighing an additional 20,000 pounds struggled to get airborne and utilize the full 4670 feet of runway 17.
|Lunch at the Saloon
Columbia was a fun destination and at 88 miles from Palo Alto airport, it was just far enough away to feel like you were experiencing a very different part of California and all within an hour by plane. Next time we really should do a spot of gold panning. There can't be a better endorsement to travel by plane than this.
(written by Jayne Pearce/edited by Sue Ballew)