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Author: Subject: Baja Runways from Space-Part 1 San Felipe to L.A. Bay
David K
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[*] posted on 12-15-2009 at 10:15 AM
Baja Runways from Space-Part 1 San Felipe to L.A. Bay


After seeing how close the satellite images of Baja's airport runways to those photographed by plane in the pilot guidebooks, I went to each of the airstrips and airports in the San Felipe to Bahia de los Angeles region alng the coast and inland to the mountain ranges.

Only a few of these runways are open or safe. The images are for general interst only in the history of flying in Baja. Some are long abandoned and only make good landmarks. Consult the Baja Bush Pilots (membership required) web site for the latest airport news.

One open airport/ landing strip was covered by clouds or fog when the satellite was taking photos, it is El Vergel... about 25 miles south of San Felipe. No image available.

So, enjoy this look at old and new runways in Baja!

NEW: Part 2 South of L.A. Bay and Punta Prieta to Guerrero Negro:
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=44822

NEW: Part 3 Northwest Baja (Ensenada to Laguna Chapala): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=44848

From north to south, more or less...

Playa Blanca (for a short time the principle San Felipe airport with air service. Closed now). The original downtown San Felipe airport is no longer visible due to newer construction. It was near the where the south Pemex station is today.



Rancho Fonseca (south end of Diablo Dry Lake, the runway was to the right side of that large clearied area):



Fonseca, high look:



San Felipe International:



Bahia Santa Maria (a strip in the 1970's, closed):



Sulfur Mine (strip from the 1950's and earlier when the mine was in operation. The Old Puertecitos road cuts across the runway.):



Bahia Santa Maria and the Sulfur Mine (El Vergel airstrip is under the clouds on the left):



Plan Nacional Agrario (Farm project from the 1970's near the entrance to Agua Caliente Canyon, in Valle Chico):



Rancho Parral/ Cerro Chato (near the south end of Valle Chico). This runway is in 'Air Baja!' and on the CH-22 chart, it is just a straight section of the road to Parral today. Two satellite images that are similar to the two photos in Air Baja.





Rancho Matomi (Another former strip used by bighorn sheep hunters and ? Now just a straight section of the road to Matomi ranch, near the east end of Arroyo Matomi.):





Coloradito (About 16 miles north of Puertecitos, listed in Senterfitt's book in 1987):





Puertecitos:



El Huerfanito:





Las Encantadas (just north of Punta Bufeo):



Punta Bufeo (5 miles north of Gonzaga Bay):





Gonzaga Bay overview (There were two runways at Papa Fernandez' back in the 1960's, but they are too faint to even make out today):



Alfonsina's:





Rancho Grande (2 runways):







Punta Final:



Puerto Calamajue:



Molino de Calamajue (from the gold mining days, long ago):



Desengaño (long abandoned gold mine runways 3 miles north of the L.A. Bay highway, 7 miles east of Hwy. 1):





Bahia de los Angeles:





Bahia de los Angeles-2/ Muñoz (Camp Gecko is at the bottom of the first image):







Sammi's (south-east corner of Bahia de los Angeles):



================================================

There may be a few more old runways I will add...

Remember, this is for historic review of the number of airports that once were in Baja that are mostly now closed/ abandoned... Pilots, use Baja Bush Pilots for latest data on OPEN runways. The majority of the ones shown here are CLOSED.

Stay tuned for more areas of Baja...


NEW: Part 2 South of L.A. Bay and Punta Prieta to Guerrero Negro:
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=44822

NEW: Part 3 Northwest Baja (Ensenada to Laguna Chapala): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=44848

[Edited on 3-19-2010 by David K]




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[*] posted on 12-15-2009 at 11:17 AM


Good stuff, David.

There also was a runway that I clearly remember in downtown Ciudad BOLA with it's south end right at Casa Diaz----------now covered with campgrounds, fences, trees, etc.

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[*] posted on 12-15-2009 at 04:17 PM


very cool views. brought back memories from the early - mid 80s in Piper Cherokees and a brave little Mooney.



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[*] posted on 12-15-2009 at 04:39 PM


Oh! the Memories.

Yes that runway at the Bay of Los Angeles you could land and taxi right up to Papp Diaz Store, get some fuel from 55 Gal Drums through a chamois and some good food!!

David.\, Hope you come up on Punta Pulpito It was short!

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[*] posted on 12-15-2009 at 05:58 PM


Yes Skeet... If I ever continue with this that far south... I did post the Punta Pulpito pages from Senterfitt for you a while ago...

Yes, the original main L.A. Bay runway is how the pilots would land for a dinner of turtle steaks prepared by Cruz Diaz... and taxi up to their rooms at Casa Diaz.

See http://www.bajadreams.com for some of Larry Hahn's old photos there.




[Edited on 12-16-2009 by David K]




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David K
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[*] posted on 12-16-2009 at 08:31 AM


If anyone knows of a runway not shown in this (or any future) region of Baja I am covering, please let me know!



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[*] posted on 12-16-2009 at 08:47 AM
Original L.A. Bay runway was here...


The flat area north from Casa Diaz (between today's paved road and the beach)... ended in the early 1980's I believe...





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[*] posted on 12-16-2009 at 10:45 PM


David, that runway was one of the great ones for Baja pilots, right in the middle of town. It was closed after a child was hit by a landing aircraft and killed. Very horrible



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[*] posted on 12-16-2009 at 11:29 PM


Yah, I heard that, too... sad stuff.

I posted a photo from 1957 or near that time of a plane parked in front of Casa Diaz... Larry Hahn's dad, I think.




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[*] posted on 12-18-2009 at 08:29 AM
Original L.A. Bay airport in 1969:




From my 1972 edition of Arnold Senterfitt's 'Airports of Baja California'.




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David K
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[*] posted on 12-18-2009 at 09:00 PM


How many Nomads have had turtle steak made by Señora Diaz?

I may have, but was only 9 years old when we first stayed there!?




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[*] posted on 12-18-2009 at 11:40 PM
great shots, but...


Nothing beats actually flying in there. I would love to just take a year off and fly into those old strips.

Of course I would need to land, look around very briefly, then get the heck out of there before the military gets me!

The military might even deploy their newly acquired US drones to track me down thinking I was a cartel member...scary.:lol::lol:
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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 07:46 AM


David:
Good job!..thanks! It's too bad that so many of those dirt strips are closed. Some that were not in the pictures because they are buried under development or sand are San Felipe "downtown" where we used to land and walk to the El Cortez for lunch and Rancho Santa Ynez up on the hill...still open but not used much now that we can't buy gas there. Ditto the dry lake bed behind Punta Bufeo. The US DEA leaned on the Mexicans to prevent avgas sales on all airports not run by the gummint in the early 1980s...that closed a bunch. Then the Mexican gummint plowed some others up.

A lot of good runways in Mexico don't look like runways from the air. But, if you know them, you can land just fine. But I have had newby passengers break into tears on short final because they thought we were "crashing" on such good runways as Alfonsina's and Punta San Francisquito and etc. etc.

A good dirt runway is a thing to be loved...just like a good grass runway where the grass grows. Both save tires and make a pilot warm with the love of flying after landing there.

BTW: The photos don't show the paving of "That Road" south of Puertecitos too well...would be nice if we had an ongoing photo record of progress there......so we could morn the old road and look forward to the new one.
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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 11:08 AM


Yah, the satellite images look to be about 2-3 years old... at least at Puertecitos.

Steekers (or other pilots), how about some fresh aerial photos of the road south of Puertecitos?




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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 11:33 AM


Bo Bucko flies that route more than anyone i know of.

anyone ever see Ralph from Imperial Valley area?
didn't he fly a Bo regularly to Alfi's?




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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 11:36 AM


Hope no drug lord sees this thread, he wouldn't be happy.



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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 11:46 AM


Why not? The airstrips above are all in books or on maps... no secret strips shown!



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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 12:00 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by David K
Why not? The airstrips above are all in books or on maps... no secret strips shown!


Explain that to those animals.




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[*] posted on 12-19-2009 at 12:39 PM


DK: I had steaks at Pappa DSiaz several times.
On one trip I pulled up and there was a small Flatbed Truck with tall sideboards, I was running over with Turtles. Sometime after that I heard that Pappa Diaz went to jail for 3 years,=Know that sometime after that Momma Diaz was doing the Store.

On my first trip I landed a San Felipe taxi up to the back of a Motel and Restruant and Had a Tortuva Fish Dinner. The best I can remember.

Does any body remember goiong into the Strip just off the Highway near BOmbero?? It was close to the Turn off to San Nicholas,
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[*] posted on 12-20-2009 at 08:58 AM


Skeet - are you ever in touch with Art willis? wonder if he retired?



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