We fly Carbon Cubs, which are ideally suited to off airport operations. We love this type of flying, which opens up the world in between airports and provides a direct connection to the landscape and wildlife in California. Flying low and slow, it isnít unusual to see whales, sharks, hawks, deer and wild boar, As we often tell non-pilots, or cross country pilots, most flying is measured by how quickly you can get from one airport to another. Weíre more interested in seeing whatís in between airports, as slowly as possible.

There are many grass or dirt airstrips in our area that allow for quick breaks, in between flying. We love Frasier Lake, Mercey Hot Springs, Panoche and Monterey Bay Academy. Our large diameter bush wheels make these landing possible and safe.

In September of 2020, a friend and I were exploring BLM (public) land southeast of Hollister, CA, when we discovered an open valley that provided a much needed break (and pit stop). We had no cell coverage at this low altitude, so we couldnít confirm that we were still over the BLM land. In our haste to land, we had inadvertently landed on private property and now faced the consequences of landing on one of the largest private land holdings in the western U.S. (see below)

Public BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land can be explored through apps like OnX Hunt, but require connectivity to be useful. Throughout the U.S., public land is interspersed with private property. In our haste to take a break, we had crossed the line.

We donít want you to make the same mistake that we did. If you arenít sure of your location, donít land, especially on private property (unless, of course, itís an emergency). The Las Aguilas ranch and Quien Sabe Valley are definitely off limits. This ranch has been been negatively impacted by countless low flying airplanes and helicopters in the past. In one egregious example, a pilot incited a full scale stampede that destroyed over a mile of expensive fencing and left organized pastures in shambles. Other pilots have dropped off illegal passengers, to hunt. The owners have every good reason to be upset and are deadly serious about illegal entry on their land.

As a fellow pilot who loves wide open spaces, we implore you to avoid landing on private land in general, and this one in particular. It covers 60,000 acres, between Hollister and Mercey Hot Springs (see below). Donít even think about landing there, or flying down low on to the deck. In fact, our advice is to avoid all private property, unless youíve made prior arrangements with the owner.

Safe Flying.