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Memories of VNY…

March 26th, 2005 · No Comments

As I was browsing through an aviation-related message board that I frequent quite often, I came upon a post that linked to a website that promoted a documentary that’s in the works about Van Nuys Airport in Southern CA.

A few clicks later, I found myself watching the trailer to one of the most remarkable historical documentaries I’ve seen recently.

Van Nuys Airport is very near and dear to my heart. I grew up about 5 miles west of it’s runways. When I was small, my dad (an aviation enthusiast, but due to some medical issues, not a pilot) used to take me over to Van Nuys to watch airplanes take off and land. We’d sit in the observation area and watch the National Guard C-130s do touch-and-go’s. During my high-school years, I’d take my camera and stand by the fence for hours, hoping to catch a glimpse of something interesting. Several buddies and I would wait until the darkest hours of night to jump the wall on the east side of the field and wander among the DeHavilland Caribou that Darrell Greenamayer had received as payment for a salvage job he’d done. Afterwards, we’d end up at the Denny’s on Sherman Way, talking about all the stuff we’d seen until the sun came up.

One September day in 1993, I woke up and looked outside my bedroom window to see a remarkably blue sky splashed with whispy, horse-tail clouds. That day I took my first real flight lesson. That day was the day that I believe my real adulthood began, and it happened at Van Nuys Airport.

Today, I live about four miles to the north of the airport. Though I haven’t flown into or out of there for about 7 years, it still plays a large part in my life. Every day I’m at home, I’m coaxed by airplane noise to look out my kitchen window at aircraft on final to runway 16 right. After 12 years of flying, it’s still my home airport.

I’ll be seeing the documentary in the theaters when it comes out. When the DVD is released, I’ll own that as well. It’ll go on the shelf right next to the video tape of my first solo-flight, hopefully to be watched during a quiet moment with my daughter.


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