Pat Quinn wins Santa Paula Airport Challenge!

March 24, 2000
Santa Paula News
Airport regular Pat Quinn won the March edition of the Santa Paula Airport Challenge Series on Sunday with a score of 23 feet. Quinn, 59, is a retired fire department helicopter pilot who lives in Ventura. “I knew I had a good chance of winning the spot landing contest because all of the former winners were absent this month,” Quinn said. In this contest, pilots must land their planes as close as possible past a line on the runway without landing before it. He explained that he uses what he calls the “scoot and stick” method. This requires the pilot to fly inches above the runway and then force the wheels onto the runway as the plane passes the landing line. Fly too low and the tires touch early, resulting in a disqualification. Fly too high and the pilot risks damaging the landing gear when the plane is forced onto the runway. “It is risky,” Quinn stated. “In fact, I damaged the landing gear on my own plane practicing for the event so I had to borrow a friend’s plane to compete.”Santa Paula resident Dan Mooney was second place in the event. Mooney, 58, is a retired Navy chief and is the chief flight instructor at CP Aviation on the airport.An international flavor was added to the contest when Dr. Masahiro Utsumi of Chiba, Japan finished in third place. Dr. Utsumi, 29, is a trauma surgeon at Chiba University Hospital who regularly flies from CP Aviation at the Santa Paula Airport. He is training to be an aerobatic competitor with his instructor, Rich Stowell.Dave Byrne won the Teddy Bear Drop. His son Evan, 8, was his bombardier. Ray Findly was second.
Also flying was J. R. Conklin, 15, of Ventura, the youngest pilot every to compete in the contest. Conklin’s instructor, Mike Fountaine of CP Aviation flew with him. He finished third in the Teddy Bear Drop.The series continues on April 9 and is open to all Santa Paula Airport pilots. There is no entry fee but sign up prior to 4 p.m. is required. Contact Rowena Mason at 525-7081 for details.

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