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Baja Cardinal Fly-out

Tony Williams popped up on the digest one day and invited the Cardinal Flyers along on his trip to Baja. Although weather in the US deterred many, the reports and pictures from the trip make it clear that those who did go had a great time. We're already talking about making this a CFO fly-out next year. Here is Tony's report and a few pictures from the CD he sent me. Thanks, Tony! Webmaster

From: Tony Williams (
Subject: Baja Flyin Report

I flew into Calexico at 8:30am on Saturday with two non-pilot passengers from San Diego, where I met Larry Wokral and daughter Stephanie, and Craig & Heidi Steele and family.

Nine people in 3 Cardinals ultimately made the trip from CXL to Loreto. We spent almost 4 hours of chatting with each other on 122.75 and taking pictures of each other's planes while flying over the Baja shoreline at 3500 feet.

Jimmy Hawley and family flew direct to Loreto, bypassing CXL, however we never did meet up, even though we stayed at the same hotel. Russ Dent flew Cardinal N633DA into Loreto, landing right behind me. He and his wife were chasing us all the way from Tucson.

It was a pleasant surprise to meet up with another Cardinal driver while on our group trip, but it did have me scratching my head at first, not recognizing the tail number. It turns out that Russ was not part of our group, but was at Loreto to get gas only, since the airport he was staying at did not have any.

Everybody else who wanted to go to Baja cancelled, primarily due to the forecast conditions for the return trip on Monday. Certainly safety comes first, but you missed a GREAT trip!!!

I'm told that of the 25-30 Mooney airplanes that planned to go to Baja this weekend as a group, only 9 went. One didn't complete the trip without missing the runway at Mulege. (Visible in picture to right.)

On Sunday, the group played with the whales at Laguna San Ignacio, which turned out to be more exciting then I envisioned. The whales do come to the boat... up close and personal.

(The picture to the right shows Larry Wokral petting a whale. Ever fashion aware as he is, that's a CFO hat on his head. :-)

The runway of crushed sea shells and sand was flawless, and since I landed first, I got some great shots of the other two planes during their landing there.

After the 2 hour whale excursion, all three planes flew to a late lunch at Mulege (pronounced Moo la hay).

While we were enjoying lunch, we realized that the Loreto airport may be closed at 6pm on Sunday. After calling the ATC tower in Loreto, we confirmed that it was OK to land later than 6pm.

I suggested a tour of the ATC tower, which was approved, and many of us participated in the tour.
This morning (Monday), we all left Loreto, myself going to San Diego for U.S. Customs, Larry to Calexico again, and Craig to Yuma. Enroute, I landed at Melling Ranch (Rancho San Jose).

What a neat place!!!! This is a 6000 acre working ranch that was founded by a Norwegian family about 100 years ago, and they feed you just like the ranch hands. The landing is not for the faint of heart (the runway ends uphill, making go-around a risky proposition).

I next landed at Ensenada (a Mexican military airfield) to get gas and then on to San Diego Brown Field for U.S. Customs. I was in and out in no time, but a storm was racing us for my home airport (Montgomery Field).

I took almost 300 pictures with my digital camera, so I'll be going through them and picking the best to be put up on my web page. It was great to meet many new faces, and to share the fascination I have with Baja.

Hope to see you all next year, hasta luego,

Tony Williams * N177AW * San Diego

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