Pleasant Valley (P48) Backcountry Fly-In [Feb 11, 2012]

By: Category: EventsFly-in


When I heard of this event earlier last week, I knew I had to make space for it in the calendar. I couldn’t really pass up an opportunity to go to a small fly-in not too far away from me, especially after missing several Coolidge fly-ins. As I started digging through, I realized this was a pretty cool opportunity.

As I found out once I got there, Pleasant Valley makes Coolidge look like Schipol. The pavement ends at the access road (at least on one of the sides). There are four runways, according to Google Maps only one of them is paved and marked.

The airport is home to a gliding school that seems to be the only permanent user. A couple of Piper Pawnees and a Luscombe live there. The amount of brush inside the airfield, and the buildings, reminiscent of a 1900s movie make me feel like I’m somewhere in the Mexican Altiplano. The only fuel truck is an old GMC 4000 which was probably made well before the 70s.

But back to the Fly-in.

I arrived there just past 8, which was the start time. I didn’t read the directions and ended up driving to the south side, which houses the gliding school. This proved to be great to catch the arrivals, however, the brush made it impossible to catch the planes as they landed.

After most of the planes had arrived, I headed over to the north side  to take more pictures, and some more planes kept on arriving and a few more left. Of all of them, two seemed to be magnets for crowds: a CubCrafters Carbon Cub SS and a SCAN Type 30.

The Carbon Cub is, as the names says, a replica of a Piper Cub made using Carbon Fiber, which shaves off about 250 pounds, and it’s also certified as an LSA. The basic tubular structure is made from steel and everything else, down to the interior trim and the prop spinner are made from CF.

The SCAN Type 30 is a Grumman G-44 Widgeon built in France under license by the Societe de Construction Aero-Navale (SCAN), and only 41 of those were built. Eventually I had a 30 sec window to take photos of those without the crowds.

Some of the other planes were like old friends to me, I had already seen several at one or two other fly-ins, and you could overhear that most conversations talked about other great local airports, the upcoming Cactus fly-in and the traditional Coolidge fly-in/breakfast. People chatted with the pilots and made comments about some of the planes that were there. While the original flyer said there was going to be a small acrobatic demonstration (which supposedly included Tim Webber), I overheard someone talking on a cellphone that the FAA had heard about it and said that it sounded kinda like an airshow, and they didn’t have the permits for it. I later heard from somebody else the same thing, apparently this was known by several people.

Another notable plane was a Quest Kodiak sales demo. If you haven’t seen a Kodiak the best way to describe it is as a Cessna 208 that has been shortened, or as a Cessna-shaped Pilatus PC-12 that can be offroaded. That’s what it really is, a small utility plane. There was no carpet, only plastic, and the seats seemed to be easily removable. This was the first plane to leave, and the pilot got it off the ground in no time, thanks to the great power of the PT6 turboprop.

Unfortunately, shortly after the Quest  left they switched runways to the cross runway, and it was getting hot, with the conditions against me, I headed to In-N-Out and then to Deer Valley. I later spotted some of the same planes as they came back to DVT.


At last, the photos, including the obligatory prop-spinner portrait



Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>