A popular aviation event in the San Francisco Bay area is the Pacific Coast Dream Machines 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.
It had been three years since I last attended and I was looking forward to the event.
Thousands of folks tied up traffic on the scenic coastal highway on April 28, 2019, to attend the show held at Eddie Andreini Sr. Airfield, formerly known as Half Moon Bay Airport.
A vast array of transportation vehicles were brought in for display and demonstration to the crowds of spectators milling about the airport grounds. An estimated 2,000 vehicles drove, flew, and trailered in to participate.
Alas, a stubborn marine layer hung over this part of the coast, preventing many aircraft, especially warbirds, from arriving. As it turned out, there were more visiting aircraft flown in by attendees than by exhibitors.
The aircraft were arranged on the North end of the airfield. Due to the weather, only a small number of aircraft were on display, warbirds and civilian alike.
By far, the largest plane on display was a C-47 SkyTrain. The C-47 is owned by the Estrella WarBirds Museum of Paso Robles, California, and has been flying regularly since a complete restoration in 2009.
Warbird lovers had to settle for three P-51s, a Yak-9, Stinson L-5, a T-34 Mentor trainer, and a Scottish Aviation Bulldog. A Robinson R66 did arrive for an hour’s worth of static display before departing. Late in the schedule, hints of blue sky did allow a few more aircraft to come in, including a Yak-52.
A team of skydivers from Precision Skydiving suited up and boarded the C-47 as it rumbled to life and carried the team aloft in search of suitable jump conditions, only to return to earth as passengers later on. When the crew replaced the jump door with the standard cargo door, you knew there would be no second attempt.
Apparently six P-51s were gathered at Hollister Airport farther down the coast hoping for better conditions, so the marketed “Mustang Madness” headliner never quite came to fruition.
The P-51D Mustang from the Erickson Aircraft Collection, currently touring with the Liberty Foundation, was on hand offering premium-priced rides.
Steve Croutches brought his very rare P-51H, looking at first like a classic Mustang but then you start noticing some differences. A taller tail, deeper fuselage, and no wing root kink are just a few of the signs that this was a totally new aircraft, delivered too late to see any combat.
Those hoping for more affordable aircraft rides were disappointed. The low ceiling kept the helicopter rides grounded, but did eventually clear enough for a 1926 Travel Air operated by Coastal Air Tours to land with 90 minutes left in the day.
Instead of airplane rides, the Travel Air ended up bolstering a static display area weakened by departing aircraft.
What was surprising to me was the complete absence of any government agency aircraft this year. No military, Civil Air Patrol or law enforcement, not even any flight schools or colleges were represented.
Local microbreweries and plenty of food trucks and booths were on hand to fuel the crowds. Beside the cars and planes, there were also concerts, monster truck rides, and motocross stunt shows to entertain the folks. This was the 29th year for this show, which helps to fund the Coastside Adult Day Health Center.
Half Moon Bay Airport (KHAF) was recently renamed Eddie Andreini Sr. Airfield and is located right on the coast approximately 20 miles south of San Francisco.