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Flights Soaring At Oakdale Airport
Plane 2
The WWII Old Glory B-25 Bomber will arrive on scene at the Oakdale Airport at 10 a.m. to be on display for guests to explore on Saturday, Oct. 4. - photo by Contributed

Fly into action, entertainment and fun at the Oakdale Airport Appreciation Day on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The WWII B-25 Bomber will arrive at the airport at 10 a.m. and be on display until 2 p.m. along with an assortment of other aircraft, cars, food and plenty of activities for the kids.

The first Open House held at the Oakdale Airport was in 1928 where there were 5000 people in attendance.

The event is sponsored by the 2014 Ad Hoc Committee, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and the City of Oakdale.

Nicole and Don Gutridge II are the caretakers at the Oakdale airport and have participated in the Young Eagles program for several years, with that program encouraging young people to get interested and involved with aviation. That is part of what Airport Appreciation Day is all about.

The couple ran the Young Eagles program in Santa Rosa a few years ago, where hundreds of kids received free flights. Youths between the ages of 8 and 17 will have the same opportunity at the event on Saturday. The young flyers will need to have a parent present and proper consent forms will need to be signed in order to participate at the event on Saturday.

“The most astounding thing is the comments we get both from parents and the kids and what seems to happen with a lot of them is that the kids get so excited about math and science and other subjects as they see it in action,” explained Gutridge. “And this exciting event with the free airplane ride is something that they will never forget but they see it in action in this fun experience of life and it has an impact for the rest of their lives.”

The EAA’s network of volunteer pilots takes the youth on the free flights for the Young Eagles program.

“Nationally the Young Eagles have given rides to 1.8 million (youngsters),” stated Gutridge. “And of those (flyers) 20,000 have actually gone on to get pilot’s licenses and enter aviation as a career.”

There is a specific course that the pilots will take the Young Eagles on which will take approximately 20 minutes and flights will be available all day.

According to Gutridge, the Oakdale Airport has been a part of the California and national transportation system since 1918 and there has been a definite increase in executive travel of business executives flying out and business travel in to Oakdale. They travel in a variety of planes like the Pilatus aircraft, Cessna Centurion, King Air’s Turbo Commanders, Cessna 421’s and others, he explained.

“Also on the rise is the Light Sport Aircraft activity with two new maiden voyages taking place just last week,” Gutridge added. “Many people don’t realize some of the extra services provided by Oakdale Airport such as PG&E Air Surveying, Highway Patrol Surveillance, Air Ambulance Medevac Helicopter operations, and rodeo fly in transportation and skydiving support and free airplane rides for kids’ career inspiration, to name a few.”

There will also be a static car plane show where cars will be paired with a plane. The NorCal Cross Winds formation team will also be present at the open house.

“Come with an open mind and prepare to have a good time and meet the pilots and talk to them and ask questions, find out what it really is all about,” said Gutridge. “Because it is like a whole new dimension when you see things from a higher level.”

The airport is at 8195 Laughlin Road, Oakdale.