Runway prep work is done

The airport has been a busy place since Friday. That afternoon and every day since we have been preparing the runway for the slurry job, which starts tomorrow. John Bower has worked especially hard and very long days to get as much done as possible.

We had to make sure the runway and all other asphalt surfaces were clear of weeds, loose debris, and dust. Just running the sweeper across all surfaces took many, many hours. Then all of the potholes and shallow spots on the runway were filled to be flush with the surrounding areas. Bigrig trucks were driven back and forth across every filled spot to compact the material. Then John ran the sweeper across all the surfaces a second time to remove all excess fill material. It was quite a task!

Our airport was lucky to have three generous volunteers help out with the prep work this week. On Tuesday ORAA member Naomi painted closure signs to position at each driveway and she brought us a picnic lunch donated by Trinks Cafe. She even baked us a cherry pie for dessert! Eric, another ORAA member, worked really hard on Tuesday. He threw gravel and sand with the rest of the crew for hours on end. Today we had volunteer Ken pick up where Eric left off. We are so grateful for all this help. Thank you, volunteers!

As we were wrapping up the pothole work and getting ready for the final sweeping, we saw all the slurry contractor’s trucks roll into the airport. It looks like everything is all set for the resealing work tomorrow!

Remember that the airport is officially closed to all traffic (vehicular and aircraft) on Thursday, July 17 for the asphalt work. Cars are welcome back on Friday but the runway will remain closed until we have applied the required runway markings. Our goal is to paint Friday and Saturday.

A NOTAM has been posted.


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Airport slurry resealing scheduled!

We have REALLY good news!

The slurry resealing is scheduled for Thursday, July 17…yes, that’s next week! It was originally planned for later in the month but the contractor asked to move it forward and will be giving us a small discount for doing so.

We received a bid from a slurry contractor that will be doing another job in our area at the end of this month. There was a narrow window of time to secure the price and the contractor could only schedule the work if we signed the contract. The price is really attractive because we would be able to save a considerable amount on mobilization costs by scheduling when the contractor would already be in the area. This is exactly what we’ve been hoping to be able to do.

Based on our projections of fundraising efforts, we believe that we can get the remaining money donated in time to accept this estimate. So we went ahead and signed the contract this week.

We need another $8,000 to close the funding gap. Now is the time to make that donation if you have not already done so.

There are a variety of ways to donate to the runway project. Please visit to select the one that works best for you. Remember that purchasing annual tie down packages also contributes to this fund.

A NOTAM will be posted for the airport closure for the work next week.

As always, we at ORAA appreciate your support with this effort and look forward to providing you with a pleasant airport experience here on the coast.

Excitedly, Julie

ORAA members:

David Bower

John Bower

Naomi Schwartz

Eric Kritz

Mitch Kirby

Sheralyn Kirby

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Last day for Small Knot campaign!

The Small Knot fundraising campaign is coming to a close. It was open for the last 44 days…where has the time gone?

So far we have had 42 generous donors giving a total of $6,250. That’s only 13% of the goal but it is still impressive.

Small knot_last day

If you haven’t already invested in the airport please consider doing so now. This is the last chance to donate through Small Knot and get one of the amazing thank you gift packages available.  These gifts will not be available to donors after the close of the Small Knot campaign.


If you’ve never had a chance to really explore Gualala, here’s your chance. Many of the investor rewards include free stays at Seacliff on the Bluff, a downtown motel with ocean and river views.  Wouldn’t it be great to wake up in a room like this knowing that you also helped save our airport?

Seacliff room

Check out all of the rewards here:

Small knot_rewards


Go to Small Knot to donate now!

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Crowdsource Fundraising Campaign!

Hello Friends of Ocean Ridge Airport,

We are proud (and relieved) to announce that our online crowdsource fundraising campaign has been launched!

Small Knot campaign site

Small Knot campaign site

Getting this campaign took months of planning, from requesting donations of goods and services from local vendors to organizing the reward packages to building the site.

You can find the campaign here:

Please share this with your friends, pilots or not–the reward packages are great for anyone!

Everyone at ORAA appreciates all of your support and guidance for this venture. Let’s all work hard to make sure that we reach our fundraising goal.

Flying high in Gualala,

ORAA members:
Naomi Scwartz
Eric Kritz
Mitch Kirby
Sheralyn Kirby
David Bower
John H. Bower

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Fundraising update and more

Email newsletter from 4/28/2014

Hello friends of Ocean Ridge Airport,

I hope this email finds you well. We had a little rain at the end of last week but since then it’s been sunny and pleasant (if not a touch windy) here on the coast.

Here’s an update on fundraising and more:

1. We are currently at about 23% of our fundraising goal. Donations have stalled for the most part, probably because we haven’t been featured in any aviation journals recently. I made sure to get coverage in: AOPA, CalPilots, and AvWeb previously. If you know of any other places I should contact, please let me know.

2. We are working very hard to organize an online crowdsource fundraising campaign, similar to Kickstarter. We’ll be using as a host since Kickstarter is limited to technology and arts projects only. Our goal is to launch it in the next couple of weeks, once we have our donated ‘rewards’ lined up. Our community has been very generous in donating a variety of goodies/discounts toward this campaign.

Hopefully this campaign will get us the remaining $46,000 that we need to get the slurry sealing done by the end of September. Yikes! It’s a lot of money…do you think we can do it?

3. The CalTrans inspector who issued the runway repairs has left the department. We are now under Patrick Miles’ jurisdiction. I will be contacting him as we organize a contractor for the slurry work to make sure that we are doing everything properly. I haven’t met him but I hear he’s great to work with.

4. The paint/markings on the runway will need to be redone after the slurry seal. We are working to determine the amount of paint we will need so we can ask paint vendors for donations or discounts. It sounds like we’ll use traffic paint and reflective glass beads.

5. In the next week we will be scheduling the initial prep work for the runway, including filling potholes and spraying weeds. If you’ve flown in recently, you probably noticed blue and white outlines around the damaged areas that need this type of work. There is also a lot of damage on the taxiway, tie down area, access road west of the runway, and the driveway/parking area near the pilot’s lounge (near the owner’s home–this is used by folks driving into the airport to get to their hangars and planes). However, since those areas are not a safety concern for aircraft and have no CalTrans deadline, they will not be repaired right now. We’ll wait until we’re past the current hurdle.

6. We have some fun things coming up soon: a possible campsite at the airport, a loaner car, an airport day (possibly in the fall with a pumpkin patch and apple picking), and a revamped pilots lounge with wifi and a mini fridge and free cold drinks.

And remember, all of this is to keep Ocean Ridge Airport open to the public as a safe, sunny runway on the Mendonoma Coast.

To everyone who has offered advice and/or donated money to ORA so far, THANK YOU so much! It’s never too late to donate:

Fly safe,


Another donation yesterday afternoon brought us up a bit. We’re nearly 25% of the way there!

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Regrowth along the airport

A few weeks ago, Ocean Ridge Airport was host to the South Coast Fire Department for a fire drill. The fields along the north end of the runway were burned up to the edge of the forest. If you go up there now, you’ll see the brilliant green grasses have started to grow back. It really is lovely.

ORAA_burn regrowth_Feb 2014

Lush green grass after a controlled burn off.

You can even see it from above, as Julie got to do when a friend took her up in a 1946 Luscombe 8A.

ORAA_airport view_Feb 2014

Seeing Ocean Ridge from the air is quite a treat to us land-dwellers!

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Above the fog, beyond the smog

This postcard has been hanging in John Bower’s office for decades.

ORA postcard front

ORA Postcard back

 This picture probably dates to the mid 1970s. You can see that there are not any hangars yet and the clearance to the tree line on the east (tie down) side of the runway is quite narrow compared to nowadays.

A lot has changed since this picture was taken, but Ocean Ridge Airport is still “above the fog, beyond the smog.”

Isn’t it fun to find old treasures like this?

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The cost of slurry sealing

Every quarter, the California Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics circulates a newsletter called Cal Aero. The January 2014 edition highlights the cost of improving a runway similar in size to Ocean Ridge Airport. You can read it here.

While we are fundraising for the slurry sealing job alone (at approximately $60,000), you can see from this article’s price that the total cost for such runway maintenance is actually much, much higher.

Some community members, John Bower’s family, and Ocean Ridge Airport users have already committed to lending a hand for much of the work that must be done before and after our slurry seal is applied.  This includes donating their time, labor, and materials for:

  • Removing vegetation from cracks in the paving
  • Sweeping debris from the runway (gravel, grit, loose asphalt chunks)
  • Sealing cracks
  • Filling potholes
  • Acquiring donations for glass-beaded/reflective paint
  • Repainting runway markings to meet current requirements

In addition to the slurry seal fund, monetary donations for any of the above components of this grand task are much appreciated. But donations of materials such as reflective paint are also graciously accepted.

As always, thank you for thinking of Ocean Ridge Airport!

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New Tie Down Amenities

In November 2013, the tie down area received some new amenities.

Tie down closet at Ocean Ridge Airport, Gualala, CA. November 2013.

Tie down closet at Ocean Ridge Airport, Gualala, CA. November 2013.

Not only is the sign new, but so are the tie down fees! For too long the fees were only $2/night. Our fees are now competitive with surrounding airports and the funds will go toward maintenance like the slurry resealing job.

Inside the tie down closet you will find everything you need to safely tie down your airplane.  ORAA member Mitch painted and labeled all of the new chocks and member Eric donated some new cinch straps. Payment envelopes are provided–just drop them inside the red drop box.

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Flying into the Internet Age

Ocean Ridge Airport finally has its own website!

Updates on fundraising efforts, major maintenance, pictures, and events will be posted here on the blog.

You can also find us on Facebook.

Happy flying!

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