Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some frequently asked questions concerning PAPA and the Petaluma Airport, and their answers…at least according to PAPA!

Q: Is 100LL fuel available 24×7? Is it self-serve?
A: Yes, and yes. The airport sells Chevron avgas, which helps support airport operations. You can check prices on the City website then click on “Hangar Rates & Fuel Costs” near the bottom of the page, or call the Airport Office.
Q: Is Jet-A available? When & how?
A: Yes, via truck, during normal business hours, and after hours on call.
Q: Who monitors the UNICOM frequency?
A: Airport personnel monitor the CTAF/UNICOM frequency of 122.7 MHz during normal business hours.
Q: Are aircraft hangars and tiedowns available? What are the monthly rates?
A: Tie downs are always available, and the hangar waiting list currently has 70-80 names. Tie-downs cost $50+ and hangars are $300/mo and up. For more details, see the City website then click on “Hangar Rates & Fuel Costs” near the bottom of the page, or call the Airport Office on weekdays.
Q: Are more hangars planned?
A: Yes, small 50 ft box hangars are planned, though there’s no firm date for construction.
Q: Is there a flight planning area for transient pilots? Does it have a computer? Or free WiFi? What hours is it open?
A: Yes, there’s a flight planning room in the airport office that’s phone and PC equipped. It’s open 8 am-5 pm seven days a week. Free WiFi is available near the airport office, restaurant and Aeroventure FBO. Plans are to have free WiFi available throughout the airport property but that hasn’t yet happened.
Q: What are the pattern landmarks? And why is the pattern on the Sonoma Mountain side of the airport? That makes the 45 leg come downhill!
A: Landing patterns are away from the city for noise abatement, left traffic for runway 11 and right traffic for 29. Winds usually favor 29, which is also the preferred calm wind runway.The power line that runs down the hill from the north end of Sonoma Mountain makes a good 45 to downwind for runway 29. Near the south end of Sonoma Mountain is a quarry that can mark the start of a 45 to runway 11.Other common reporting points are the “Schellville Gap” southeast of the airport and “North along the ridge” approaching the right 45 for runway 29. If flying the latter course, watch for traffic popping over the ridge from the north/northeast to enter the 45.

Note that Petaluma has a growing population of Light Sport aircraft that tend to use a lower & tighter pattern at 700 feet AGL or below. Not all have radios or transponders so use caution, especially when making a long final approach.

Q: Are there any noise abatement procedures?
A: Yes. Avoid crosswind turns below 800 feet MSL when departing either runway 29 or 11. Straight out departures should climb to 1500 feet MSL before turning onto course. On downwind, stay outside (northeast) of Old Adobe Road and avoid overflights of the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park.
Q: What instrument approaches are available?
A: There’s both a VOR and GPS 29 approach.
Q: What’s the weather like in spring/summer/fall/winter?
A: Typical summer weather is a ~1000 ft ceiling that burns off by 11am, and temperatures 65-90F. Spring brings occasional rain and wind that usually clears in a day or two, and temperatures 50-75F. Fall is about the same as spring. Winter usually brings weekly rain & low clouds that clear in three to four days, and temperatures 40-55F.
Q: Where can I find current local satellite photos?
A: Here’s a good source of Northern California and San Francisco area satellite images.
Q: Where can I buy charts or get an oxygen refill?
A: Aeroventure has limited pilot supplies such as charts. Mangon Aircraft provides oxygen refills.
Q: Are flight instruction and airplane rental available at O69?
A: Flight instruction and aircraft rentals are available from both Aeroventure at 707-778-6767 and the Petaluma Pilot Training Center at 707-765-1848.
Q: Where else can I find out about learning to fly?
A: The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association provides a great deal of information, including a free newsletter for those thinking of or learning to fly.
Q: My type club is looking for a place to fly out. Would O69 be a good place to go? Why?
A: We’d love to have you! We’ve had the west coast WACO club and they returned in July 2009 for our First Annual Classic Wings & Wheels display event. We have a great restaurant on the field, the Two Niner Diner. (It’s a favorite of one winemaker’s daughters!) Petaluma is celebrating its 150 year anniversary so there’s always something going on in town. Taxi service is a phone call away. A new Sheraton is on the Petaluma River next to the Petaluma Marina, and there are many other hotels to choose from. There are 175 restaurants in the city, lots of antique shops downtown and a quaint historic waterfront walk. And last, should you need it, there are two FBOs providing maintenance services: Mangon Aircraft and Aeroventure.
Q: What can I get to by foot/bicycle if I land there? Where can I eat? What services are available?
A: Petaluma is mostly flat between the airport and downtown. You can easily get anywhere by bicycle. Petaluma prides itself as a bike and pedestrian friendly city, and bike lanes abound – see this PDF map. The N. McDowell Blvd. shopping area is just over a mile to the west, and the downtown area is about 2.5 miles west.
Q: I see a golf course nearby. How far away is the clubhouse?
A: There are two main public golf courses in town. Adobe Creek is 2+ miles from the airport. Rooster Run is within walking distance, about ¼ mile. The front nine holes of Rooster Run are built on airport property so a portion of your green fees and cart rental go to the airport’s operating fund.
Q: My son/daughter/husband/significant other loves airplanes. Where can he/she/they go to watch them?
A: The best viewing area is from the deck outside the terminal building/airport office. Stop by any time and pull up a chair! Due to security and liability concerns, the public is not allowed to walk inside the airport fence without being escorted by airport personnel or an airport tenant. But visitors are welcome on the deck, on the grass area below, and in the airport office. Also consider attending some of the PAPA events, especially the free Display Day on the third Saturday of most months. That provides much closer access to both static aircraft on display and to many of their pilots.
Q: Didn’t PAPA used to host air shows? When’s the next one?
A: The last Petaluma Airport air show was in 1991. Since then a golf course was built on the air show flight path area. An air show today would require the golf course to be temporarily shut down for safety and the operator compensated for their revenue loss. Financially this makes future air shows unlikely.
Q: When are the next Penny-a-Pound flights? What other events are planned?
A: No Penny-A-Pound flights are currently planned due to City management’s liability concerns, but we’re working on it. Other events include our classic aircraft Display Days the third Saturday of most months.
Q: I have a historical photo/document/piece of an airplane from the old Petaluma Skypark. Would PAPA like it?
A: Yes! We’ve built a PAPA “club house” at the south end of the field and memorabilia donations are most welcome.
Q: Does PAPA have a museum?
A: No, but see the menu at right for nearby aviation museums.
Q: I saw the (award-winning) PAPA float in the Butter and Egg Days Parade. Did the first airmail flight really originate in Petaluma?
A: Yes! The first U.S. Postmaster-sanctioned airmail flight departed Petaluma on February 17, 1911, bound for Santa Rosa. The pilot was Fred Wiseman. The centennial of that historic flight was in 2011.
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