We were going to go to Camarillo (KCMA) for breakfast but the forecast was for IFR conditions there until after 10am. Corona was supposed to be clear in the morning so we decided to give Big Bear another try and see if we could eat at the Barnstorm Restaurant on the field.
There is a fire burning in the mountains to the southwest of Corona and they had a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) covering that area and extending almost to the airport. It “looked” like as long as I stayed north of the 91 freeway we would stay out of the TFR but I called up the number listed to be sure. They gave me another number to call and the guy I talked with confirmed that if we stayed north of the 91 we would be fine.
Saturday dawned clear and cool, although it would warm up later, so we headed for the airport about 6:30am. After getting everything ready and adding some fuel (I hadn’t filled up after my evening flight to Santa Ynez) we were doing a run-up and then rolling down runway 25. At 1,200′ I began the crosswind turn and instead of rolling out just continued the bank until we were on the downwind leg to stay well clear of the TFR. Another plane came on the radio and was about 5 miles west of the airport and “flying an extended left downwind because of he TFR.” We would be well on our way before he was even close.
The flight there was quick and with the exception of a few bumps as we got ready to enter the pattern it was smooth.
The Barnstorm was open and we got a seat right by the window where we could watch planes coming and going. The food was good, although the portions were about half the size of Thelma’s down the street and about the same price.
The flight back downhill was as smooth as can be with the air speed indicator pinned right at 170mph. With all the times I have flown into Corona I flew a pattern I have never flown before. If I am coming in at night and it is quiet I will fly a straight in approach to 25 calling out a 7, 5, and 3 mile final. However I am not going to fly a straight in on a busy Saturday morning. With the TFR starting less than a mile south of the runway there is no room to maneuver there so I flew an upwind to the right of the runway and joined the pattern on the crosswind.
There was a twin taking off as we were a couple of miles from the airport and we watched him take off and make his crosswind and downwind turns. He was going to be departing to the north after flying the downwind so I let him know we had him in sight as his plan was to turn in our direction. After he made his downwind turn I told him exactly where we were and he reported that he had us in sight and would pass behind us. The key to staying safe is good communication on the radios.
The Wings of Faith were having a breakfast fly in so it was busy. As we were on short final we saw three familiar RV’s holding short and as we cleared the runway the first two took off in formation followed shortly by the third. By the time we got out at the hangar they were on their second pass above putting on a little show for all the people.