May 26th, also know as Memorial Day is a day dedicated to remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces but, the weekend preceding Memorial Day is know as the beginning of Spring.
While trying to come up with some ideas to not only pay respect to our nations fallen men and women but, to plan our next fly-in. I kicked around several ideas including, a fly-in to Salinas for a BBQ lunch. But I soon scrubbed the idea when logistics and cost became too much. What I finally came up with was a reasonably cheap fly-in to Castle Airport (KMER) in Atwater, Ca. Quarterly, the Castle Air Museum host an "open cockpit" day" and as luck would have it, the next date is scheduled for May 25, 2014. Each one of the many aircraft at the museum will be open and available to tour; aircraft like the B-17, B-52 and B-25. Not only can you get up close and personal with each plane, there will be pilots who flew either these aircraft or ones like them available to talk with.
After touring the aircraft, the museum has a food court area where we can purchase lunch (cost unknown) and, according to one employee at the museum, several food vendors along with souvenir vendors make an appearance on open cockpit day as well. She assured me "you'll find something to eat."
Another thought. You can always pack a lunch and bring it with you or, we can plan a potluck type lunch. Cold-cuts, chips, soda, etc.. But, that's a call I'll leave in your hands.
Late Note: I just got an email from one of the museum narrators, Joe. Here's his reply to my request for a picnic area: "The Museum does have a Picnic Area near the SR-71 display near the front of the Museum that would be available. Unfortunately the nearest restroom would be in our Gift Shop across the parking lot." So, if you'd like, we can do a pot-luck type lunch. Just let me know via the message board below.
The cost to attend the museum on open cockpit day are as follows:
Adults: $12.00, Seniors (60+): $8.00, Youths (6-17): $5.00
Children 5 & under (with paid adult): FREE
Active duty military personnel (with I.D.): FREE
Family Pass: $30.00
I also talked with the tower personnel today. There are no worries or issues flying into Castle. For the past 18 years, it's been a Class "D" airport and nothing more. I was told there;s ample parking with tie downs and there are no fees for parking. Once on the ground, transportation from the tarmac to the museum and back will be provided by the museum at no cost to you.
Please RSVP when you can. There is a slight chance I may be able to get a group rate if our numbers are 20 or more.
I've listed both NavAids and the Castle Air Museum links below.