While Gnoss Field Airport is surrounded by wetlands with little development pressure, recent changes to the Housing Element brought new challenges. Increasing residential density around Gnoss Field will bring more neighbors closer to the airport than ever before. Unfortunately, the 32-year old Airport Land Use Plan of 1991 is way obsolete! That creates difficulty to protect the airport and to satisfy state and local pressure for more affordable housing. Our airport businesses need good housing for their employees, so what to do?
Rick Beach will describe how he got into airport land use planning years ago in San Diego, and how that experience might help Marin County and the City of Novato to understand and update their local planning. Learn about opportunities for the aviation community at Gnoss Field to take a supportive position that will protect operation of the airport while promoting more affordable housing and addressing neighbor concerns about safety, noise, overflight and airspace protection. It’s the state law! Let’s become part of the solution!
On the second day of the Marin Fire contract to base a helicopter fire attack asset at Gnoss Field, Marin County Fire dispatched it to the Alamere Fire, a vegetation fire on the Coast Trail near Bolinas.
At about 3pm on Tuesday, July 11, aerial fire fighting assets were called in from CalFire in Santa Rosa with a fire commander and two tankers, CalFire’s Firehawk helicopter from Boggs Mountain near Middletown, and Marin Fire’s N606PJ from Gnoss Field.
The Marin Fire helicopter was first on scene but coordinated with CalFire. The Marin Fire helicopter arrived on scene within 7 minutes, and the CalFire FireHawk from Boggs Mountain arrived 16 minutes later. Following standard practice, the tankers were directed to lay down red fire retardant that helps control the advance of the fire, while the helicopters came in later and lower to drop water at the direction of the fire command to suppress the fire.
Contacts at Marin Fire expressed satisfaction that our local helicopter provided rapid and effective air attack service, especially in an area that was difficult for ground crews to reach. The fire event lasted about 2 hours and was reported to be less than 5 acres in size.
Our EAA Young Eagles event for Saturday November 5 was canceled due to low clouds. EAA requires that flights be conducted in VFR (visual flight rules) conditions that involve clouds higher than 3,000 feet and visibility greater than 5 miles. Morning clouds were less than 2,000 feet and obscured several ridges along our planned route of flight.
We are looking at future dates when the weather promises to be better. We will contact Young Eagles who could not fly this time. Likely in March, April or May 2023.
Free flights for kids!
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On Saturday, August 27 GFCA will host a Young Eagles Day at Gnoss Field, giving free airplane rides to kids ages 8 to 18. The Young Eagles program was launched in 1990 with the goal of giving 1 million kids a flight in a general aviation airplane by the turn of the century, and to date over 2.6 million kids ages 8 to 18 have been flown. Our chapter at Gnoss Field has flown over 1,000 Young Eagles in the past 18 years, and we enjoy the experience as much as the kids do!
These flights are absolutely free and are given by highly experience volunteer pilots in their personal planes.
For more information and to pre-register your Young Eagles (space is limited, so pre-registration is required), visit the Young Eagles Day website:
On the second day of the Marin Fire contract to base a helicopter fire attack asset at Gnoss Field, Marin County Fire dispatched it to the Alamere Fire, a vegetation fire on the Coast Trail near Bolinas. At about 3pm on Tuesday, July 11, aerial fire fighting assets were called in from CalFire in Santa…
Airport Land Use Planning for Gnoss Field While Gnoss Field Airport is surrounded by wetlands with little development pressure, recent changes to the Housing Element brought new challenges. Increasing residential density around Gnoss Field will bring more neighbors closer to the airport than ever before. Unfortunately, the 32-year old Airport Land Use Plan of 1991…
Our EAA Young Eagles event for Saturday November 5 was canceled due to low clouds. EAA requires that flights be conducted in VFR (visual flight rules) conditions that involve clouds higher than 3,000 feet and visibility greater than 5 miles. Morning clouds were less than 2,000 feet and obscured several ridges along our planned route…
GFCA has made a huge impact for many kids in the senior STEM engineering class at San Marin High School. The Pegasus Project is something that we were told about throughout our STEM path and is a very exciting project that many kids looked forward to working on.
Many people are mind blown when you say you helped build an airplane in your high school engineering class. The mentors and the connections you build through this program are phenomenal, and it is truly inspiring to be around so many educated and accomplished adults who want to help you grow and succeed!
I learned so much about collaboration, team work, organization, the list is endless. This program helped me grow as an individual in many ways, and gave me something to look forward to when I went to school every day.
I was so inspired by these mentors and this project, that I decided to do a fundraiser to help purchase the next kit for the RV-12 airplane we were making. My classmates, the mentors, and I organized an event to raise money for the Pegasus Project.
It was a great learning experience, and it showed me the power of a student body that, with the right guidance, can do amazing things. Together, with the extra support of Rick and Susan, we created an amazing event where we raised $7,000 for the project.
I am extremely proud of my classmates and our fundraiser. It was an amazon experience, and something I will always cherish. I will always remember this class and the mentors that guided us through it. Thank you to GFCA for giving hundreds of students the opportunity to learn and experience something new, exciting, and truly inspiring.
Graduate of San Marin High School. Participated in STEM Engineering class to build an RV-12 through the Pegasus project funded and managed by GFCA. Currently attending San Diego State University
Last March, one of my fellow Rotarians, Jackie Bonner, reached out regarding the issue of low-flying airplanes over her home south of the airport. It was not only the close proximity of the airplanes, but the loud noise, some worse than others. After listening to her concerns, I asked her to start recording the time and day of the flights over her home that were most bothersome. With that information, we were able to track many of the flights and aircraft. It was discovered that most were in compliance with the altitude restrictions over her home and were definitely legal.
What I thought was maybe Jackie needed to see the airport from a pilot’s perspective in the air. So, I asked her if she would like to go flying with me in my Cherokee 180. My plan was to give her a San Francisco Bay Tour and then fly the traffic pattern a bit.
That next Saturday, Jackie showed up at my hangar to go flying. Two things she was impressed with right away before we took off:
(1) the radio information at the end of AWOS reminding pilots to “follow the Gnoss Field noise abatement procedures and avoid the homes south of the airport” and
(2) the sign at the runup area of runway 31:
We had a wonderful flight, perfect weather and Jackie was able to get some fantastic shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. She reported back:
The big take away: We showed Jackie we are listening, we care and are trying our best to minimize the noise. We hope we can be this effective with the rest of our neighbors close to the airport.
I learned to fly out of Gnoss Field airport, Novato, and have been involved in the local aviation community for over twenty-five years. In September 2020, I got an email from a volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GD) who knew about my aviation connections. The organization was looking for pilots to transport adult dogs and puppies to several western states. I knew that Guide Dogs for the Blind had a campus in San Rafael, and I had seen them with their trainers around town, but it had never occurred to me that there could be a connection between aviation and dogs – two of my passions. I put the word out to my flying friends. Nobody I knew was able to respond to the request, but I wanted to learn more about planes and puppies, so I contacted the organization and spoke with Sarah Blevins, Operations and Project manager, and Karen Woon, VP Marketing.
I did not know that Guide Dogs for the Blind was started in 1942 to help veterans who had been blinded in World war ll. It has continued to grow over the years and has puppy raising programs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington, hence the need for different forms of transportation. According to the “Planes for Puppies” blog entry on the Guide Dogs for the Blind website, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the ability of the program to get dogs to their destinations. “Most airlines have discontinued flying dogs in the cargo areas, and those that are continuing have not been reliable in terms of their flight schedules or the aircraft being used.” Even transportation by puppy trucks has been negatively impacted. In light of these current events, they are in the process of assessing their future transportation needs, and considering general aviation solutions.
Guide Dogs for the Blind still has several options when it comes to flying adult dogs and puppies, one being the support of a private jet organization. But there is still a need for pilots and planes in our local area. The Gnoss Field Community Association (GFCA) has identified seventeen types of operations conducted from our local airports that benefit the community as a whole. Adding support for Guide Dogs for the Blind to that list would be supporting a worthy cause. When they have identified their specific needs, GFCA will consider the options for helping them. We will be looking at the infrastructure, as well as pilots and planes, that meet the criteria for transporting puppies, adult dogs who have graduated from training, and those dogs who did not graduate and will be seeking alternate “careers”! Stay tuned.
Barbara is a pilot and CFI based at Gnoss Field, a member of Marin 99s, and active with GFCA improving our outreach to the community.