Flight Test Areas for us Urban Dwellers?

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karmarepair

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Does anyone have any idea what sort of flight tests areas have been assigned for the San Francisco Bay Area? Specifically, KOAK or KHWD? KCCR would also be of interest. Is it even possible to do initial flight testing given the Class C airspace over KOAK down to the ground?

Those of you based at Whiteman, Compton, Burbank or Van Nuys are welcome to give your examples, as well as others based at close-in airports in built up areas with complex airspace.
 

Victor Bravo

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I am located at Whiteman just north of Burbank. Just yesterday I had an FAA inspector remind me we could not do Phase 1 at Whiteman. We are fortunate to still have Camarillo airport available for Phase 1, but I prefer the Mojave desert by far. We will do our chapter Zenith at California City, Fox Field, etc.

In the Bay Area, I would be looking at Gnoss Field in Novato, or better yet Byron Airport or Tracy Airport just East of Livermore. The reduction in pilot stress, reduction in short-term hangar rent, reduction in ATC communication, and better weather would all more than justify the hour's drive.
 

karmarepair

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I am located at Whiteman just north of Burbank. Just yesterday I had an FAA inspector remind me we could not do Phase 1 at Whiteman. We are fortunate to still have Camarillo airport available for Phase 1, but I prefer the Mojave desert by far. We will do our chapter Zenith at California City, Fox Field, etc.

In the Bay Area, I would be looking at Gnoss Field in Novato, or better yet Byron Airport or Tracy Airport just East of Livermore. The reduction in pilot stress, reduction in short-term hangar rent, reduction in ATC communication, and better weather would all more than justify the hour's drive.
Thanks, that is sort of what I thought.

Gnoss has hairy winds. I've been there when the wind socks at each end of the runway were pointy ends towards each other. But you're right about weather being better once you get a little away from Alcatraz, more than once I had to divert to Concord because the summer fog layer would close me out of Oakland, then Hayward. Take the train home after a long cross country and reposition the airplane the next morning - been there, done that....
 

BoKu

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South bay builders often do their final assembly and Phase 1 at South County. East bay builders likewise at Livermore, Byron, or Tracy. San Francisco proper, I don't know.
 

Victor Bravo

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If there's a train or a frequent commuter bus that goes to and from Tracy or Byron, that's definitely a huge win.

What kinda airplane will you be testing? If it has a Continental A or C series engine, I'll make a case for less chance of carb ice out there in the valley too :)
 

karmarepair

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No transit to speak of to Tracy, Byron, or South County airports, at least from where I live North Of Berkeley. Gnoss, you can get within bicycling distance. I'm going to call the Oakland FSDO to see if Concord, Napa, or Nut Tree are options for Phase I.

This scenario revolves around a Thatcher CX-4 Pat Panzera has for sale out at Hanford. Scott Casler engine with a Zenith carb. The previous artisan saw fit to put carb heat on it.

I'm also looking into setting up camp IN HANFORD and doing the final assembly, inspection, and Initial Flight Testing there, before flying her back to a tiedown at North Field, KOAK, my preferred permanent base. AirBnB and Craigslist indicates a room/sublet is a possibility for the 4-6 weeks it would take, and the last 20 years of immigration means it's now possible to get decent South and East Asian takeout in the Central Valley, when one tires of Tex-Mex and Chicken Fried Steak, the only options available in my ill-spent youth. It's still hot enough to melt lead and warp iron though....
 

Victor Bravo

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I have seen that Thatcher in person, it looked pretty reasonable, but I did not fully inspect it. Hanford will be a perfectly good place to set up camp if you want to do it that way, likely no problem for Phase 1. You could probably arrange to have the flight test area go pretty far up and down the Valley, so you can not suffer from too much boredom during the 40 hours.

The brave "test pilot" landing at Harris Ranch for lunch, sitting down to a first class steak, then dashing over to Fresno to visit with BMCJ, then back to Hanford... isn't a bad way to spend a day :)

But it you need to be downright international about it, there's a really good Basque restaurant near Bakersfield Airpark !
 

karmarepair

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Just following up on this. Phase 1 testing out of Concord (KCCR) is do-able, and your flight test area is the Delta, and the gas/wind turbine fields between the deep water channel and Travis/I-80.

For various logistics reasons, I'm giving the Thatcher projects a pass, and will probably buy a project much closer to my home in the Northern portion of the East Bay.
 
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