California Dreamin' (Of A Sunny Day)...

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Rain Washing Away Runways

Rampant (and perhaps record-setting) rains in southern California have wrecked about one-third of the 2,650-foot runway at Santa Paula Airport, a busy, privately owned public-use GA field about 20 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Santa Paula is home to about 300 planes, many of them vintage. The banks of the Santa Clara River have been eroding since a five-day storm in January, and the (unusual for California) persistent periodic downpours have since made it worse. Last Tuesday, the overflowing river was cutting away at its banks and threatening hangars as well as the runway, and the airport closed. "Our effort now is to save what we've got left, with the hopes of repairing the damage and reopening this airport someday," airport director Bruce Dickenson, whose grandfather founded the airport in 1930, told The Los Angeles Times. AOPA has pledged to help airport officials work through the maze of state and federal assistance programs. "Seeing this vibrant airport literally washed away has been painful for pilots everywhere," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, who committed the resources of AOPA's Washington, D.C., office and the AOPA California regional representative to help.