STORY and PHOTOS By HAYMAN TAM
The annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines show held at Half Moon Bay Airport (KHAF) marks the airshow season opener in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This year’s event started off with drizzly overcast skies that discouraged some fans and visiting aircraft to make the journey to this coastal locale. Although the weather improved dramatically later in the day, it was too late for many pilots to attend, but did make it much nicer for the departing aircraft at the conclusion of the show.
This is not really an airshow, more of a celebration of all things wheeled, winged, tracked, and in between. Imagine a fly-in, blended with a custom car show, plus a dash of carnival atmosphere for the younger ones.
A vast array of transportation vehicles were brought in for display and demonstration to the crowds of spectators milling about the airport grounds. Well over 1,000 vehicles drove in to be placed on display.
The aircraft were arranged on the North end of the field.
A variety of aircraft also were on display, warbirds and civilian alike.
For those wanting a bird’s eye view, several businesses were selling rides. Nostalgic Warbird & Biplane Rides kept its 1930 New Standard D-25 busy all day, while a long line of customers waited patiently to orbit the field in a Robinson R44 Raven.
By far, the largest plane on display this year was a C-47 Skytrain all decked out in 1944 D-Day colors. The most powerful plane attending was was certainly the 4,000-horsepower Hawker Sea Fury air racer “Dreadnought.” This aircraft was involved in a mid-air collision with its Cessna support plane on the way home after the show, and the other aircraft went down in San Pablo Bay. The fastest aircraft in attendance would have to be the Czech Cold War-era L-39 jet trainer.
Besides the Sea Fury, warbird lovers were rewarded with several P-51s, a Yak-9, Yak-11 and a whole bevy of military trainers. The Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, Calif., flew up its P-38 Lightning and a F4U Corsair to nicely round out the World War II display.
With the damp weather at the start, the quantity of visiting aircraft was noticeably lighter than seen in past years. A pair of Quickie Q200s were the most interesting aircraft on the apron, along with a very colorful Great Lakes Sport Trainer that flew in for the show.
This was the 24th year for this show, which helps to fund the Coastside Adult Day Health Center.