Toys for Tots at L52


Gyroplane CFI
Staff member
Oct 30, 2003
Santa Maria, California
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2600+ in rotorcraft
Mitch and Jolie are trying to save the Oceano airport, L52 from developers.

One way to do it is to make things happen there that involve the community.

The Marines collect toys for kids that might otherwise have a somewhat austere Christmas.

It is a simple concept, bring an unwrapped toy and get to hang out with a bunch of other nice people who brought a toy at the Oceano airport.

They had a live brass band, a great Barbeque and 100LL at $4.81 per gallon. It is currently $6.03 at SMX.

There was a wing walker on a Stearman.

Jolie had a place reserved for us so we were up early and headed down to the airport.

It was a lovely day to fly as long as we didn’t want to go south where they had ugly winds.

L52 is North West of SMX so we were good to go.

After a longish preflight and a call to Lockheed Martin we loaded up and joined a parade of planes on taxiway Alpha to 30.

As we worked through the preflight I again realized that Ed is the love of my life and her presence makes everything seem special to me.

Ed was so jammed with stuff that on the flight up the beach she was not able to take pictures. I feel this Santa Clause stuff really requires a larger aircraft.

The flight to Oceano was slow dancing across the sky.

Very little wind and just a few bumps to remind us we were flying.

We meandered across the Santa Maria Valley in a most delightful casual way.

The sun reflected off the GPS screen in time to the rotor shake. I felt like I was being hypnotized. I would adjust it a little and soon it would be right back in my eyes. I was pleased to turn north along the shoreline.

Because of the extra traffic I called in from ten miles out, 7 miles south over the shoreline and every odd mile after that. It paid off as too pilots got back to me, the Bonanza went ahead and a Helio fell in trail. We were making 45kts and he was at 55kts. He is a local politician and gives good radio. I turned early base and was less than an eighth mile from the numbers when I pulled the power full back and we began our descent from 1,000 feet AGL.

I was catching some lift and worried I would overshoot the taxiway so we slowed to 30kts indicated air speed. I dropped the nose at 100 feet and had just reached 50kts IAS when it was time to flair. Touched down as nice as could be and we were off the runway in a flash. I felt it was a very stylish entrance.

We parked between a Mooney and a Bonanza and Mitch came by to help unbury Ed and move us to a place that he had reserved for us. I filled out the Log book, put the condom on the rotor and put her signs up. There were nonstop questions and the party didn’t start for a half hour.

A wonderful 86 year old came by and asked a lot of very good questions. He had built and flown two experimental fixed wings and a Scorpion Helicopter. He said that building the Helicopter was harder than the two fixed wings together. He found it difficult to fly describing his challenges with the slop in the controls in a very colorful way. He sold it to a fellow who refused any kind of help and watched as he taxed to the end of the runway before touching the tail rotor and destroying the aircraft. He admitted that he went straight to the bank and cashed the check.

He asked many questions about Mariah Gale and offered some sage advice. He was a builder more than a pilot and I am a pilot more than a builder. I love the people I meet through gyroplanes.

Jolie had purchased a box of antlers and had many of her friends wearing them to try to promote the festive holiday mood. Ed had immediately embraced the concept, I was a little slower.

Joe showed up in Daisy with Kim and Scott in trail. I showed Joe the new gust lock and he was very impressed and pleased that I was trying to preserve his art.

We all hope to fly to Santa Paula tomorrow if the winds die down. The terminal aerodrome forecast for CMA, 8 miles south of SZP at 10:00 am Sunday is wind at 037 degrees at 19kts gusting to 27kts. We will be flying a heading of 107 degrees from SMX and severe turbulence is predicted along the hills by Santa Barbara. It may not work out.

We had a great tri tip barbeque and a lot of good company and general revelry.

I found it easy to catch the holiday spirit.

During the day more than 60 aircraft showed up.

The toys under the tree continued to grow as the band played on.

The party was winding down and several people asked to see us take off.

We waved good bye as we climbed out.

The flight home was a little warmer and a little bumpier. I ran the speed up a little and Ed loved it.

We did a through preflight in preparation for tomorrow. Even if we don’t make it to Santa Paula I am sure we will have fun flying somethere.

Thank you, Vance


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No matter how big the aircraft, it always seems to small on trips like this!:first:

Ed was so jammed with stuff that on the flight up the beach she was not able to take pictures. I feel this Santa Clause stuff really requires a larger aircraft.
I think the trick is, it must be a sleigh.
I am still amazed Santa can carry and deliver all his stuff in one night.
It looks like fun,Vance. Thanks for the trip.
My Edsicle!

My Edsicle!

Exactly Jeff,

I have found that in most cases the stuff expands to fill the space.

Glad to have you along Lee!

It was a lot of fun, more than I expected.

Ed earned a new nickname at Santa Paula yesterday.

We flew over the San Marcos pass at 4,500 feet.

She was so cold she was not sure she could get out and climb down when we reached Santa Paula.

The water bottle inside her jumpsuit developed slush.

She was described as my Edsicle.

Thank you, Vance
Hi Vance and Edsicle!

Happy to read you gave support to the Toys for Tots program by flying to L52. A wonderful program that I donate every year to. I can see you had a wonderful time at L52.

Unfortunately, I had to miss SZP yesterday. I really wanted to be there and visit with you, Ed and my friends.

In the mean time, here's my favorite commercial for Toys for Tots.

Marine Toys for Tots - Are You Santa? - YouTube

A video from Jolie!

A video from Jolie!

Thank you Wayne and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

For those of you that need a little Christmas Cheer here is the link.

: Oceano Airport Toys for Tots 2011 - YouTube

Jolie and Mitch are the driving force behind the Friends of Oceano Airport and she sent me a link to a video of the Oceano Toys for Tots fly in.

I think she did a nice jog and it will help you understand why people show up and what can be done with enough passion.

Yes that is a Model A club.

Jolie and Mitch are a lot of fun.

They are also the driving force behind Mooney Boosters and each has their own Mooney.

The actually met through an ad for a Mooney and will live happily ever after.

Thank you, Vance