Jason Daniel Shaw
The Most Beautiful Flight to Big Bear
Big Bear Airport – Los Angeles, CA
The flight to Big Bear from Santa Monica is about 80 miles and only takes 50 minutes in a Cessna 172. That beats the 2+ hours drive and makes it a perfect spot for a $100 Hamburger flight. Along the way, you pass by downtown Los Angeles and then out through the San Gabriel Valley. This gives you amazing views of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Santa Monica to Big Bear
Our flight to Big Bear started out as usual, with the exception of a layer of haze that was over the beach area. As we climbed, you could see that it actually covered the entire LA Basin. Once above the layer, the air was clear. Passing over downtown, there was a chance for a nice shot of the Staples Center. Immediately after passing downtown, we got a traffic call from ATC about a plane passing off our 3 o’clock. I looked over and saw an Alaska Airlines flight on the downwind for LAX. I was able to capture a photo of it and then just after, got a shot of the Alaskan Airlines passing a Southwest flight that was on final for LAX. Out the other side was Mt. Baldy and the San Gabriel Mountains. It was hard to stay focused on the flight. As we crossed over the mountains and out of the LA Basin, Lake Arrowhead was a beautiful sight. A few minutes later, we are landing at Big Bear.
One of the great reasons Big Bear is a perfect destination is the Barnstorm Restaurant. It is right on the airport and open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week and for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. As spectacular as the flight up was, the flight back was even better.
Big Bear to Santa Monica
Before taking off from Big Bear, I took the opportunity to get a few shots of Marco and N84347. Taking off to the east, Big Bear Lake is the first sight that you see. I could tell right away that this flight was going to be special. The haze and cloud layer from the flight had thickened and since the sun was getting low in the sky, the light was really starting to come to life. I just couldn’t get enough and the scenery kept getting better and better. This was one of the best flights, visually, that we had been on in a long time.
Just before making it back to Santa Monica, we passed by a couple LA landmarks, Dodgers Stadium and Griffith Observatory. Dodger Stadium had a TFR because of a baseball game but ATC vectored us right overhead. From there, we were direct to Griffith Observatory to intersect final for Santa Monica.
I hope that you enjoy the photos and let me know over on Instagram what you think.