Flying from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara for Lunch

Jason Daniel Shaw

Flying from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara for Lunch

Santa Monica Airport – Los Angeles, CA

Even though the runway was shortened at Santa Monica Airport (KSMO), it hasn’t shortened our flying adventures.  Santa Barbara is one of the easiest, most scenic lunch flights that you can take from Santa Monica.  New Year’s Day was Amanda’s birthday so Marco, Amanda and I flew to Santa Barbara for some lunch at Beachside Bar-Cafe.

Santa Monica Mountains Sunset

Changes to Santa MOnica Airport

This was our first flight since the airport reopened and from the shortened runway at Santa Monica.  Everything seemed all too familiar until we finished the airplane runup at the southeast runup.  We went to taxi to runway 21 and got strange taxi instructions.  After taking a minute to realize that the new entrance to 21 was further down the runway, we back-taxied down Bravo to Bravo 5.  It looked a little different but felt all the same.

Hazy Santa Monica Mountains

Santa Monica to Santa Barbara

There was quite a bit of haze in the air and the sky wasn’t the classic cloudless blue.  It made for an amazing view as we climbed out toward the beach and hung a righthand turn at the Santa Monica Pier.  You can either go along the Malibu coast, around Point Dume and along Point Mugu, past Ventura or head inland over the Santa Monica Mountains, which is what we did.  This takes you over Camarillo and intersects with the other route over Ventura.  The low-level haze gave us some beautiful views looking out over the Santa Monicas toward the Malibu coast that we would have missed if we took the other route.  Anacapa, one of the Channel Islands (a part of Channel Island National Park) looked like a dream with the flat sea and the way the light reflected.

Channel Islands National Park Aerial View

Santa Barbara Airport

The flight is a quick 30 minutes from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara.  When you park the plane at Atlantic Aviation, they have a couple beach cruisers that you use or a crew car (if available).  The beach cruisers are a great option if there is only two of you since the airport sits right next to the ocean.  We opted for the car and took the short drive to Beachside for a late lunch.  The food, mainly seafood, is good and the views are even better.

Goleta Beach Pier Birds

Santa Barbara to Santa Monica

We took off just before sunset to head back to Santa Monica.  Point Mugu Tower was closed so we decided to take the coastal route back along the Malibu coastline.  Again, the light was beautiful and gave us a great sunset.  I did three live streams on my Instagram of the flight.  Go follow me if you want to fly along with us next time.


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