2012 Fly-Ins

The DAF's first trip to Alamos, Mexico was a great success with 25 people attending in 10 planes.  The border crossing was mostly uneventful (except for one ill-fated pair of passengers temporarily abandoned in Calexico) and most of us arrived in Alamos on Wedneday afternoon (Nov. 7). The Cogan's and Ekberg's had flown in the day before and greeted us along with Jim Swickard, owner of Hacienda de los Santos. Refreshments were served on the tarmac (including some very potent Margaritas) as we waited for all of the planes to come in. Jim offered us the use of his beautiful hangar and all 10 aircraft managed to squeeze in.

joomplu:3043I think I can speak for everyone who had not stayed previously at the Hacienda de los Santos in saying that it greatly exceeded all of our expectations (which were already pretty high based upon Joe and Craig's descriptions). The rooms were incredible, the grounds were stunning, and the staff could not be more accommodating. After checking in, we all gathered at Zapata's Cantina for drinks and appetizers, where Jim Swickard presented each of the pilots who had flown in an official "Club Pilotes of Mexico" ballcap. We then moved to the terrace for a great dinner, and were entertained by both a talented guitarist/singer as well as special music by the group "La Estudiantina". (Click "Read More" below for a full trip report).

Once again, Dave Weir planned a fabulous fly-in to Healdsburg. It was a perfect weekend for 6 planes to fly up to Sonoma County with 5 landing in Santa Rosa, 1 in Healdsburg and we also had 1 car drive up from Torrance. The weather was slightly cool, the leaves were starting to turn into their fall colors and the wine tasting was great.

The fun started at the happy hour on Friday night and then the group split into two separate groups for dinner in downtown Healdsburg. The next day it was off to wine tasting at various wineries and then a group wine tasting and lunch at the Hanna Winery. Dave had suggested that everyone pick up a box lunch at the Jimtown Store and the lunches were enjoyed by all. After another happy hour on Saturday night , Dave arranged a dinner for the entire group of 14 at the Bear Republic Brewery where we were able to enjoy good beer, wine and food.

This was not the first time Dave has taken us to Healdsburg and hopefully it won't be the last. Thank you again Dave and Earline for a great weekend.

Peter (and Liz), Fly-In Chairman

Las-VegasBlue skies, reasonably smooth air and a nice dry heat greeted 13 DAFers for the Las Vegas fly-in on October 7-9.  After unpacking in our very nice rooms at the MGM Grand, everyone met up in Peter and Liz's room for the traditional Happy Hour.  Most of the group ended up having dinner together Friday night at Wolfgang Pucks.

On Saturday morning, a few of the group headed out to tour Hoover Dam - the less energetic took the opportunity to sleep in.  On Saturday evening, the group converged at the Paris Hotel, had a quick drink, and then sat down for the Jersey Boys show.  The show was very good and a lot of fun (and exceeded this writer's expectations)

joomplu:2834A number of Liz's family also came to the show, and everyone had a chance to "Meet the Morski's".  There were a lot of them - it was a very Morski-rich environment.  

After the show, everyone went to the Mon Ami Gabi Bistro for dinner.  The food was fantastic - this is a very popular place.  Most everyone went back to the hotel after dinner, except for a few hearty souls who started an ill-fated search for a nearby dance place.

Thanks again to Liz Broen for organizing a very special weekend.

The Del Amo Flyers annual Agua Dulce Flaming Brisket flyout was held on Bastille Day (July 14th) and was a huge success. The group met at the Torrance General Aviation Center at 10 AM under low clouds and limited visibility. The organizer, however, arranged for the field to go VFR just prior to the 11 AM launch time and everyone departed. The participants were greeted at Agua Dulce with light winds and pleasant temperatures. The group took over the picnic tables in the grassy area next to the terminal and enjoyed the shade, while the food was assembled. There was plenty of Mitch's fantastic brisket to go around together with an outstanding variety of the dishes flown in by the participants. Great work everyone.

Participants included an estimated 14 airplanes, 2 cars, 30 people and at least 2 dogs. Some planes and faces new to the DAF were seen on the ramp at Agua Dulce as evidence that the DAF family is growing.

Three members of the Tiger Squadron arrived at Ague Dulce in a parade formation. The two CJs and Yak separated in the overhead break and landed individually on the narrow runway. Because they avoided temptation and didn't execute any low passes (with smoke), the DAF may be able to go back next year.

Thanks, Mitch, for another outstanding event.

On June 16, 22 DAFer's departed through overcast conditions at Torrance to a much sunnier situation at Fox Field for a Trivia Contest/Lunch fly-in.  Prior to leaving Torrance, organizer Peter Broen explained the contest's rules (basically none) and handed out a multi-page questionnaire to be filled out by participants in each aircraft.  After a very nice lunch at Foxy's Landing restaurant, Peter collected the forms and promised to reveal the winner at the June dinner meeting.  Thanks to Peter (and the other trivia question creators) for organizing this great event.


...They May Turn Out Like This

An outstanding turn-out of over 30 DAFer's attended May's fly-in to Santa Paula on May 18-20.  Friday evening started with Happy Hour on the patio of the Santa Paula Inn followed by a group dinner at the Familia Diaz restaurant.  On Saturday morning, everyone headed to Santa Paula to board the Murder Mystery train ride.  Just about everyone (except for a certain Canadian-sounding gentleman), got into the mood by dressing up in their finest cowperson gear.  Our group pretty much took over the dining car, where we ate, drank and bore witness to an unfolding drama (and eventual murder!).  Over 16 minutes of high-quality story and acting was crammed into the four-hour train ride. Back home in Santa Paula, another great Happy Hour on the patio, followed by a delicious tri-tip dinner overseen by chief griller Mitch Taylor.  The evening closed with awards given to best costumes (Dan and Lori Delane).  Jerry Stephens' evil twin also accepted an award on behalf of his brother.   A big thanks to Jim and Diana Morino who not only organized the trip, but provided most of the food for Saturday night's dinner.  

Stormy weather on Friday, April 13 didn't deter a resolute group of DAFers from attending the April Fly-In to Cambria. The weather forced most of those who came up Friday to drive rather than fly. While the pounding rain would have convinced lesser folk to turn back, thoughts of a waiting Happy Hour at Lisa and Curtis' room kept everyone focused on the mission at hand.

Saturday brought much nicer weather and a chance to appreciate the magnificent scenery surrounding our hotel (which was also very nice). By Saturday afternoon, 32 DAFers in 11 cars and 4 aircraft had converged to attend the evening tour of Hearst Castle. After an earlier-than-usual Happy Hour, the group had an excellent dinner at the nearby Manta Rey restaurant and then proceeded to the Castle.

We reached the Castle just before a stunning sunset. Divided into three groups, we toured the pools, guest house and main house. The docents guiding us were quite knowledgeable and entertaining - everyone learned something. (On a personal note, this editor thought the decor was a little spartan. With all that money, you'd think that Hearst could've afforded to 'zazz things up a bit.)

Thanks to Lisa Hahn for all of the planning and organization that went into this. Everyone had a great time.

The gods smiled again on all DAFers as we flew out to Borrego Springs for lunch on March 3.  Twenty-seven people in 11 aircraft made the flight - all experiencing blue skies and gentle winds.  The restaurant was very hospitable and accommodating with everyone seeming to enjoy their meals.  Borrego VideoClick to Watch Borrego Video

Afterwards, many of the participants were called upon be part of the first DAFer feature film - the exclusive preview of which can be found here.  All in all, a very nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Thanks to Jodie Chapman for putting this together.


...Down Calexico Way

February 4, 2012.  Seven aircraft and 19 DAFers showed up for our lunch fly-out to Calexico.  The weather was perfect - blue skies, unlimited visibility and smooth winds.  After landing and politely declining US Customs service, we all headed to Rosa's Plane Food for a great lunch.  Thanks to Craig and Jody Narr for arranging a very pleasant trip.  Watch the exciting {modal url=http://www.youtube.com/embed/c5V5W3agvnI|width=560|height=315}video!{/modal}


Despite All Predictions, No Stupid Questions Asked

January 13, 2012.  Over 35 DAFers showed up for a Wayne-arranged tour of the SpaceX facility in Hawthorne.  SpaceX is the private rocket manufacturer founded by Elon Musk (the founder of PayPal).  Last December, SpaceX became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and have it return intact.  NASA recently announced that SpaceX has been contracted to launch and dock its Dragon capsule with the International Space Station in 2012.

Our SpaceX hosts were very hospitable - starting off with a multimedia overview of the SpaceX operation followed by a factory tour.  The technology was very impressive as was the energy and passion of the SpaceX employees.  Everyone took away something different.  As he watched a giant keg-like cylinder being welded on a rotating platform, Peter was overheard to mumble "Mmmmm...beer".

Thanks again to Wayne for arranging this fascinating trip.