Joe Dezso's 1960s Baja flying adventures

Joe Dezso, who first got a pilot's license when he was a student a Mira Costa, enjoyed flying to Baja California with his own aircraft in the 1960s.  Here are a few of his photos of those adventures.  Note: there are photos of Joe's flying adventures in the 2000s on other pages of this website, including Mustang Neighborhood, page 5 and Mustang Neighborhood, page 6.

Joe calls this "downwind" because a pilot flying the normal rectangular pattern at a real airport would see the runway from this vantage point before turning to land.  But here the "airport" is a strip of hard-packed beach sand at Alfonsina near Punta Willard, 100 miles south of San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez (the east side of the Baja peninsula).

Joe calls this "final approach" because a pilot flying the normal rectangular pattern at a real airport would see the landing strip from this vantage point just before landing.

Joe calls this spot on the beach "transient parking" because it's the equivalent of the place set aside for visiting pilots at real airports.  From the exterior, his 1960s vintage Cessna 172 doesn't look much different from a modern Cessna 172 in 2012, but inside the avionics were totally different.  The radios for air-to-ground communications, for instance, had vacuum tubes that glowed and heated the cabin (even on hot days).  The old Cessna had 145 horsepower, compared to 180 in the Cessna 172SP that Joe flies now.

This is Joe's "pilot's lounge," to carry the metaphor of a real airport a step further.  This may seem like a fantasy from a place long ago and far away, but it's not all that different from the Oceano Airport on California's Central Coast near where Joe lives.  Oceano is still an uncrowded little airport with a short landing strip adjacent to a beach, although the runway is paved and it's surrounded by a town.

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