McClellan Air Force Base

It's not an Air Force Base any more, and I've wanted to land there for years.

My friend Jeff remodeled his house last year, and he wanted to get some aerial pictures of it. Plus he has a new camera he wanted to try out. :-) Plus a co-worker of ours wanted to go up in a small plane - she's been asking for a while when we were going to take her up - so we combined all of the above and all of us took off from Cameron Park airport, to Jeff's house, and on to McClellan.

The first thing Jeff noticed was that his window didn't open, so he'd have to shoot pictures through the glass. It was fairly clean, so I don't think it was much of a problem. We took off and headed toward Sacramento. Shachi was being quiet in the back, I'm not sure if we had already scared her to death or if she was just being quiet because she was video taping the flight.

Flying over Folsom we were close enough to Folsom Dam to see the amount of water coming out of it. It was quite a bit! Then we flew over Intel, where we all three work, and took pictures of it. We followed the river down toward Jeff's house, and he got some shots of it and his church, which is nearby. Then we headed over toward McClellan.

That's when the fun really started! I made my radio calls and got into the pattern, but the radio was strangely silent. I just figured nobody else was around, and we didn't see anyone, so it wasn't a big deal. Until I came around on my final approach and someone else pulled onto the runway. Not quite all the way on, and it's possible he did know I was there, but he was close enough that I just turned around to try again. He took off, and we landed, and I called out for a radio check.


I tried a few more times, and got no response. So we pulled over to the side and fiddled with the radio for a few minutes. Then Jeff checked the frequency we were on with my Flight Guide (the official book of airports), and it turned out his was out of date, and the frequency had changed! That was special! So we futzed with the radio for a few minutes getting it set - the new frequency was off from what they normally are, and we had to find that button on this radio - and I called out for a radio check and someone said "you're coming in nice and clear". Whew! So I did a couple more landings just to get my three in, and parked so Jeff could fly.

McClellan, having been an air force base, has a 10,000 foot or so runway. It takes forever to get all the way down it to turn back into the pattern in a 172. Plus there's a helicopter school there, so there were a bunch of them on the taxiways. And the occasional California Fire Department plane coming in, as well. But it was cool.

We wheeled out so Jeff could take off, and he made his radio call. He didn't, however, hit his mike button, so he just told us. He realized that, and did it again to tell the rest of the world. :-) It's about then that we figured anyone that watched the video Shachi was making would never fly with us. :-) She was ok. She SAID she was ok.

Jeff did a couple of landings there and turned out towards downtown Sacramento. He had gotten a shot of it a couple years ago, and wanted a better one. I don't know if we got one, but I took a lot of them. Through the glass, and it wasn't THAT clear out, so we'll see. Then we headed back to Cameron Park without too much more going on.

Shachi said she enjoyed it. We'll see if she ever wants to fly again, though. Plus Jeff and I have both added McClellan to our list of airports.

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