Cars and planes gather locally

Cars and planes gather locally


It was an active weekend for airplane and car enthusiasts locally as two annual events occurred at Santa Ynez and Lompoc airports.  Wings ‘n Wheels held its 34th consecutive get together at our local field, and Lompoc airport hosted the 24th annual West Coast Cub Fly-in.

Wings ‘n Wheels is a gathering of antique- and classic-automobile buffs who meet each year at Santa Ynez Airport to tour the valley and local area in these mostly restored vehicles.  The wings part of the weekend is provided by pilots of classic and antique aircraft who join the group and provide rides swaps to those earth-bound folks.

The event was started sometime before 1974 by antique car enthusiast Leo Gray.  At that time, Gray was the head of the Horseless Carriage Club, which staged events with another group, the Vintage Airplane Club.  Over the years the event has grown to attract several dozen fans of these cars and airplanes. Past years have drawn nearly 100 cars to the valley, where these visitors cruise the back roads of the central coast, enjoying the sights and activities offered.  Organizers noted that, as fuel prices have risen dramatically since last year, there were fewer participants in this year’s event.


Wings ‘n Wheels make arrangements with the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Sport Aviators Inc., for use of their hangar at Santa Ynez , where they hold their Saturday evening barbecue and Sunday morning breakfast.  The groups also stage at the west end of the airport to give airplane rides to those who want to fly.  This year a pre-WW II Stearman, a British Tiger Moth, and two other modern airplanes provided rides to the group. 

Touring the valley this year were a number of antique Ford Model T’s, a 1913 Chalmers, a 1913 Cadillac, and a few classic mid-1950s Ford Thunderbirds. 

Organizers noted that most of these antiques and classic vehicles were driven to the valley from the Los Angeles area and a few from as far as Orange County. 

Another annual event was held 20 nautical miles to the west at Lompoc Airport.  The 24th annual West Coast Cub Fly-in is a regular event that draws pilots and fans of the light aircraft to Lompoc each year from all over the western United States. 


The Piper Cub is a high wing, conventional gear (tail dragger) monoplane built by the Piper Airplane Company during the late 1930’s through the late 1940’s.  The airplane became one of the most popular airplanes of its time, as it was easy to fly and provided a good learning platform for pilots.  More than 400,000 pilots learned to fly in Cubs just before World War II through the Civilian Pilot Training Program. 

An organizer or this year’s West Coast Cub Fly-in, Holly Palmer, explained that Lompoc pilot Bruce Fall first started the fly-in in 1984 with another pilot, Monte Finley.  Over the years the event has attracted pilots from as far away as Pennsylvania.  Palmer noted, however, that this year turnout was substantially lower, with only 40-50 aircraft visiting the central coast.  She said that many aircraft fly south from Washington and Oregon, but smoke and restrictions to visibility in the northern part of California prevented many aircraft from coming this year. 

During the weekend event, pilots competed in best of show for the nicest aircraft and also participated in spot landing contests and flour bombing contests that test the skill (and luck) of pilots as they try to drop a small sack of flour on a bullseye target on the ground.


Santa Paula Airport Condos

Developer and recreational flyer Robert Banman has announced in a statement that he will begin building a condo project at historic Santa Paula Airport.

Banman will build 37 condos atop airplane hangers at the east end of the privately owned field in Ventura County.  The project, known as the Santa Paula Sky Lofts, will range from 1,373 to 1,757 square feet above hangers that are 39 by 39 feet or 39 by 47 feet.  Prices will range from $650,000 to $850,000 for the units.

Bauman said that the project has been in the works for seven years. Sales of the condos will be limited to licensed pilots.

Santa Paula Airport is located adjacent to and south of the City of Santa Paula along the Santa Paula River.  The privately owned air strip was established in 1927 and is considered a unique spot that recalls the “golden age” of flying.

Information on the Santa Paula Sky Lofts can be obtained by calling (805) 633-2214.