I’m back up in the air with SWS’ Kodiak 100 doing another flight. This time it’s in the SoCal region flying through the infamous Cajon Pass and into a very interesting airport. Here’s the whole story!
Van Nuys takeoff
I decided to start at KVNY Van Nuys Airport. This is an Orbx scenery that is available through the Orbx Direct store. If you’re a Flight Simulation Association captain member, it’s also available for free right now through a redeemable code on the FSA website.
This is a very cool airport. It services a lot of business jets and GA aircraft but its big enough that you could conceivably launch almost anything from the longer 19R/34L runway. There’s some neat details around the airport and it’s located in a great spot to do some journeys in the Los Angeles area. And that’s exactly what I wanted to do!
My other motivation? Dovetail Games just announced Train Sim World 3 and one of the new American routes is a BNSF freight route called Cajon pass running between San Bernadino and Barstow. I wanted to see what this area was like in Microsoft Flight Simulator and I was not disappointed in the flight!
After taxiing to the end of 19R, I spotted another Kodiak 100 preparing themselves for takeoff. They ran down to the end of the runway but I never observed them lifting off so maybe they were having some technical issues.
I did my own run up and took off in a short amount of distance showcasing the Kodiak’s impressive STOL capabilities.
Turning left after takeoff, I established myself on a course of 90 degrees from the airport and contacted SoCal approach. I was cleared through the Class C airspace ahead and proceeded on my planned route that would take me over to San Bernadino first before I would make the turn and go north.
This area is covered extensively with photogrammetry and pretty good photgrammetry at that. Cruising at around 3,000 feet ASL, I could make out individual houses and their unique landscaping in some cases. Malls, intersections, horse racing tracks, and other elements that make up the area were rendered in impressive detail.
I passed by Hollywood-Burbank airport which is another Orbx scenery package. I unfortunately don’t have that one (yet) so it looked like the usual generic airport. Still, there was lots of traffic going in and coming out of this area so I kept and eye on everything going on.
To my left was the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel mountains including Mount San Antonio which apparently has many great hiking trails. To the right I could see downtown Los Angeles, Anaheim, and glimpses of the Pacific ocean.
Flying parallel to interstate 10 and 210 I noted the interchange ahead as the road splits off and heads into the mountains as my queue to make a turn to the north. I disengaged the autopilot and flew the Kodiak here for a while as the road made several turns and then headed into the Cajon pass.
Late day fog or mist rose up in this area showing off the unique gradients in this area. Apparently there have been three runaway train crashes in this pass over the last few decades. The steep hills certainly made an impression even from the air!
Through the pass and up
As I made my way through the pass, I noticed the ground rising up and there is indeed a steep climb here. Kicking the Kodiak 100 briefly into full power, the aircraft went into a zoom climb and I gained a over a thousand feet in just seconds – necessary to ensure that I had ample clearance.
Here the landscape changed dramatically as I emerged into the plateau region beyond the pass. This area was distinctly different from the one I left behind. Gone are the dense surburbs replaced by farm and agricultural areas, plus some new development housing in places.
As the sun began to get low in the sky, everything in the area began to be cast in a beautiful orange glow. It felt appropriate for the kind of colour scheme that the area already takes on. Now I had to find a place to land as my time was running out.
Ahead was a small airstrip called 52CL. I had no idea what it was but I decided to land at it. Later I learned that this is Adelanto Airport and its a private community airstrip. I aligned myself against the wind and made the landing on the strip landing in just a couple hundred feet. Kodiak STOL capabilities remain impressive!
I parked the aircraft, opened the doors, and shut everything down. What a flight!