Hey. So I just wanted to share this really great airport I love, it’s my second favourite after WMBT in Malaysia, in terms of how unusual and difficult the approach is.
It’s called L35 / Big Bear City Airport, in Southern California, close to Palm Springs.
The airport is at 6700 feet surrounded by mountains ranging from 8000 to 10000 feet, so if you take off from a nearby airport (KREI) in a Cessna, you have to either do circles to climb before proceeding, or climb through a long narrow valley. If you’re in an overloaded C208, it’s not that easy to make it!
The approach to runway 8 is the most interesting part. Most people just fly the GPS approach as indicated, but it is wrong and is not used in real life.
In fact, you need to:
- Fly over the mountains at a low engine setting, not configured for landing
- Enter right downwind runway 8, taking care to avoid populated areas
- Execute a 170-degree right turn to final, fly over water at an angle towards the runway.
- AVOID SCHOOL (located on a small peninsula on the left, second peninsula counting from the runway)
- Just before the runway threshold, execute a 10 degree turn to align with the runway.
Here is how the airport looks like, and check out the runway 8 approach map here: http://www.bigbearcityairport.com/pages/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/L35_West_Arrivals.pdf