"Sonoma Valley Airport (FAA LID: 0Q3) is a public-use airstrip opened in 1959 in Schellville, Sonoma, California, United States," Wikipedia states.
"Located 4.14 nmi (7.67 km) south of central district of Sonoma (4.76 mi, 7.67 km) and 26.9 nmi (49.8 km) north of San Francisco (30.94 mi, 49.8 km), the airfield offers two asphalt runways, of which the 17/35 is restricted, with prior permission required.
"Among other fixed-wing aircraft, vintage planes can be seen on Sonoma Valley's apron, such as a fully restored, flying Curtiss P-40, a North American SNJ-4, three Boeing-Stearman PT-17 biplanes, a Globe Swift, a Cessna 195, a Douglas DC-3, a Dornier Do 27 or a Seabee amphibious. Others are being restored, like a Howard DGA-15." Vintage Aircraft Co
. offers rides that are definitely worth the price. It would be the thrill of a lifetime to ride in one of the vintage aircraft at Sonoma Valley Airport. It offers biplane rides, rides in the Navy version of the famed AT6 "Texan."
Vintage Aircraft Co. has three Boeing PT-17 Stearmans which, the company notes, would be "the first aircraft a cadet would fly during training prior to and during World War II."
"Known for its stability and strength," the company continues, "the Stearman was a reliable primary trainer and remains a popular classic today."
Vintage Aircraft's 1942 Stearmans have been modified to carry two passengers in the cockpit. It says the seating is cozy, but that's the last thing I'd think about if I rose in one of them. Think about cruising over one of the world' premiere wine-growing regions.
The North American SNJ-4 Texan is also a historic plane.
"World War II cadets flew in a series of three aircraft: primary, basic and advanced trainers," Vintage notes. "The North American AT-6 (Texan or SNJ-4) was an advanced trainer designed to give cadets a taste for the higher speeds and more complex systems of fighters, bombers and transport aircraft.
"Vintage Aircraft operates a restored SNJ-4. Flying low over the surrounding hills gives the passenger a feel for the speed and excitement of WWII military flying. Passengers may also request aerobatics!"
I plan to return to the airfield someday and take photos with my upgraded gear. When I took the photos in this gallery, I was using a consumer-grade digital before I made the financial plunge to professional digital gear.
© Glenn Thomas Franco Simmons' Photography