EAA 1418 meets every third Saturday at Noon in the pilots lounge at Rohnerville Airport, Fortuna, California.  Lunch and a beverage are provided for a suggested $5.00 donation to the chapter.  Anyone interested in aviation is welcome to attend.

Humboldt County, California Aviation Webcams

North Coast Aviators, EAA 1418, installs and maintains webcams at our local airports. These cameras show real-time weather conditions and have proved invaluable to aviators, local government agencies, and area residents.

All NorthCoastAviation.com webcams, AWOS, and more 

 Rohnerville Airport

Eureka/Arcata Airport

 Murray Field

Kneeland Airport

 Garberville Airport

Shelter Cove

See NorthCoastAviation.com for all the aviation cams, weather and local links, local highway cams and technical information about this program.

Affiliated with Lost Coast Aviators is the
AVI8CANDO Youth Aviation Program
Rohnerville Airport, CA

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Faux FBO gains independence

The Faux FBO at Rohnerville Airport had it's LAN umbilical cord cut yesterday by EAA1418 President Lindsay Locke.  The formerly hard-wired Faux FBO was upgraded to total independence with the installation of a WiFi system and removal of the LAN cable.  All that remains to be installed are the locked donation box and the pilots guest book.

All of the remaining components for the video monitoring system were checked and delivered to the Gates-Meade building and are awaiting the return to health of our master technician Hans Koster, who got the same damn bug that not a few people have endured of late.

Hans is going to assemble and bench test the system and install it with EAA1418 help sometime next week if his flu follows the same course as the rest of its victims.  Actually, we hope it doesn't... and that Hans is reading this and feeling much better already.


EAA1418 President and Dad book AirVenture 2011 flights

With fuel prices rising quickly and Airline tickets rapidly following suit, the President of EAA1418, Lindsay Locke, decided it was time to book flights to Oshkosh for the "Big Show".  And sure enough, booking now saved about $100 per round trip flight from SFO to ORD.  (Praise be to Richard Branson and Virgin Airlines.)

The dismay at not being able to fly to Oshkosh in a homebuilt like she did in 2010 was offset by knowing that this years visit will be her last visit for at least the following four years while she attends the United States Air Force Academy starting June 23rd, 2012.  (If they'll have her.)

Last years round trip avgas costs in Lancair 2's for Lindsay and her Dad were about $1,150.  This years round-trip Virgin Airlines tickets from San Francisco to Chicago are $458.54 complete.  (Chevron Aviation Fuels' loss is EAA's gain.  Lindsay and Dad just can't buy enough EAA stuff.)

Sure, flying over this magnificent continent and landing at remote airports and visiting with wonderful owners of small FBO's will be most surely and terribly missed, but Lindsay figures that the bus ride from O'Hare to Oshkosh will be yet another adventure in the journey to Mecca.

At last count there are already seven EAA1418 members committed to going to AirVenture 2011.  (We could probably get as many as 20, which is not bad for a club of 60 members.)  The uncertainty about the Middle East and our fuel costs can only aggravate the decision making process for our members, particularly those who are intent on flying to AirVenture 2011.  To commit to flying to Oshkosh in a private plane is truely a commitment, especially with Avgas prices predicted to be at a record high by then.

Update: March 13, 2011... just 21 days after booking these flights, the same flights cost $948.80.  A savings to date of $490.26!


Faux FBO not so faux after all

Sadness and happiness combined when, during the EAA1418 meeting at Rohnerville Airport, (this past Sat. Feb. 19, 2011) two new users were the first to take advantage of the Faux FBO system, one before and one after the regular monthly EAA Chapter 1418 meeting.  Both Faux FBO users are pilots of twin engine air ambulances that landed to transport stretcher borne patients.

With heavy clouds and occasional rains, both pilots were gratified to have full access to all the information they needed to take off from the airport and make their destination safely.  Members of the Lost Coast Aviators who were present got to relish the fact that they had contributed to something that really matters.  There were sick people on stretchers outside the pilots lounge that didn't even know the role they were playing in the the story of the evolution of Rohnerville Airport.  Of course, they probaly didn't... and shouldn't care.

But we did.  And we do.  And we all hope whoever they are they are feeling better.

Thanks to the pilots and crew, EMT's and to all the rest of us who care.


"I would go with Lee right now."

by Lindsay's Dad    February 19, 2011

I called Al Rice about 9:30 AM and asked if he would call Capt. Whitehead (Lee to the rest of us) and arrange to accompany Lee to the EAA1418 meeting at the Rohnerville Airport.  Al called Lee and then drove up to Lee's house and accompanied the 93 year old Capt. Lee Whitehead, not by being in Lee's truck with him, but by following Lee on his motorcycle!

When Lindsay and I got home after a most stimulating EAA1418 monthly meeting, I reminisced about Linz meeting Lee for the first time three years ago and how Lee offered to take Linz up in his T-6 and teach her how to fly his legendary plane.  We talked about Lee's steadfast, near obsessive love of life, and especially his certifiable love and obsession with flying.

I commented that it is pretty amazing that a 92 year old man was still flying his WWII trainer, and that it was also pretty amazing that a 93 year old man was still driving his big-ass Ponci Turbo equipped 3500 Dodge Ram truck, and that a whole lot of people are prepared to, and do regularly sit in the right seat.  I told my daughter that I do not expect to accomplish the same feat by any stretch of the imagination.  I told Linz how Al described to me the excitement of flying in Lee's airplane just three years ago, and how he readied himself by deciding that he "wasn't supposed to die that day".  He could trust Lee, and he did trust Lee.  Lee had flown so many, many planes, and Lee had never scratched one.  Lee had never hurt a soul.  Lee is good at what Lee does.  The odds were in Al's favor.

And my 16 year old daughter said "I would go with Lee right now."

And I said "So would I."

If there is a greater testament to a human life, I don't know what it could be.  Heroes come in a rainbow of colors.


"Who would ever want to come here?"

The following article was published in the Times-Standard, The Humboldt Beacon and the Redwood Times.

Pictured left to right...

John Norberg, EAA1418; Steve Bowser, Past President EAA1418; Hans Koster, Technician; Dave Sandige, EAA1418; Lou Davis, President NCVAS; Jill Archibald, Secretary, EAA1418; Dr. George Jutila, Avi8CanDo; Lindsay Locke, President EAA1418; Jacquelyn Hulsey, Humboldt County Airport Manager, Archie Archibald, EAA1418.

 "Who Would Ever Want To Come Here?"

Imagine being on a road trip, stopping at a gas station or truck stop and not being able to find a map or any information about the road conditions ahead.  Imagine if there was no one to talk to, no food,(not even snacks), and nothing to drink but water from a bathroom sink faucet.  And the only way you have to communicate with anyone is with the unsheltered pay-phone on the outside of the building.  (It's a good thing most of us have cell phones these days.)

Now imagine instead of driving a car, you are flying an airplane and you land at Rohnerville Airport in Fortuna and find yourself in the same situation.  Even if you don’t fly, you can appreciate that pilots don’t get to “just pull over” when they need fuel or when problems occur.  They plan their flights carefully and check the plan continuously, especially at each stop along the way. They certainly need to know the weather conditions at their destination and along their route.  Their lives and the lives of their passengers depend on it.

With no FBO (Fixed Base Operator) at Rohnerville, not even the rudimentary flight information and convenience services are available which are offered by the majority of general aviation airports, including many airports that are smaller than Rohnerville Airport and which are supported by communities much smaller than The Friendly City of Fortuna.  A visitor’s log which was left in the Rohnerville “pilots lounge” (and abandoned) had a number of rather harsh comments from aviators who had flown in, including one pilot who wrote, “Who would ever want to come here?”

In a long and difficult effort championed by Dr. George Jutila of Avi8CanDo, the aviation community in Humboldt County came together with the support of Humboldt County Airport Manager Jacquelyn Hulsey, and Network Technician Hans Koster, and on February 5th turned on the first working open WiFi access at the airport and finally started the process of putting the word “lounge” in “pilots lounge”.

Dr. Jutila and the staff of Avi8CanDo raised the original money for the project, as well as paying for much of the equipment and overhead themselves.  The Redwood Coast Flyers chapter of the Ninety-Nines donated $500, and many people volunteered their time and expertise trying to get a working Internet connection and runway/horizon camera system installed.  There were no funds provided by Humboldt County, however there was support and encouragement by Airport Manager Hulsey that inspired everyone involved. 

But even with all the hard work, money and good intentions, the system was still non-functional when Lindsay Locke, the newly elected President of local EAA Chapter 1418 (Experimental Aircraft Association), decided on January 15th to reinvigorate the effort to finish the project.  With the support of her friend Dr. Jutila, and her EAA1418 staff and members, she was able to locate the person with the expertise and willingness to make the system function; Hans Koster.  Hans identified the problems, recommended solutions and then offered to do all the repair, re-installation and post-installation support for free.  Lindsay purchased the new gear requested by Hans and then purchased a refurbished computer system custom made for the airport from Emerald Technologies in Garberville.  She also donated spare computer hardware she had so she could create a "Faux FBO". 

A "Faux FBO" is a stand-alone, un-manned computer station located in the pilots lounge which will allow everyone who visits the Gates-Meade Building at Rohnerville Airport to go on-line instantly and do so without charge.  They will be able to print documents and access email and all of the FAA, weather and other Internet sites they need.  By using salvaged and rebuilt "boat anchor" hardware, like a 35 pound CRT type monitor, and a funky looking but up-to-date CPU, the system is likely safe from harm mostly because no one would want it.  Of course the fact that the building is surrounded by cameras inside and out and that only authorized people are allowed on the airport grounds pretty much guarantees the system can remain un-tended.

Anyone will be able to log onto a number of different websites and see real time weather pictures every 15 seconds from two new cameras strategically placed looking down and high over both ends of the runway. The tops of the surrounding mountains will be in the frame and will allow pilots to determine quickly and with confidence if it is safe to fly into the area.  That means pilots will be able to see the actual weather and ceiling levels from a ground perspective rather than an overhead satellite image.  Having this information available in real time on the Internet should actually increase usage of the airport and result in more outside revenue being generated in the local community.  Pilots eat, sleep and spend money like everyone else.  Maybe a little more.  It will also make flying in the area a safer experience for everyone.

The next enhancement project being planned by Lindsay Locke and EAA1418 is Garberville Airport, which is the airport she uses the most and where she learned to fly.  A similar system as the one at Rohnerville is planned for Garberville as soon as Lindsay and her aviator friends can secure more funds.  And once again no government money is being used.  Third on the list is Shelter Cove Airport, an airport that is not even a county managed facility but most certainly could benefit from real time and accurate weather information.

Dr. George Jutila is universally regarded in the local aviation community as being the most vocal advocate for youth in aviation in Humboldt County.  For many years he has pursued project after project, often with his own money, all with the intent of promoting aviation to kids and enhancing aviation in Humboldt County.  Humboldt County Airport Manager Jacquelyn Hulsey has persevered through controversy, tragedy, sliced budgets, new and vital security and safety issues, evolving and cash strapped airports, and continually changing regulations from city, county, state and federal agencies and regulators.  As busy as both these people are, they continue volunteering their own time, and lots of it, to make things better and to make things work for aviation and the community it supports.  And they and others have inspired the young President of EAA1418 in her quest to bring the entire aviation community together.  In a cynical and stressful time, this project, and the ones to come, are a good example of what the public and private sectors can do together when they share a common vision.