December 16, 2018 By jakepwa

You can’t use the Hearst Castle airport, but you can fly to Cambria

By Steve Ells

The Paso Robles Municipal Airport (KPRB) is friendly, capable and safe. Located five miles east of downtown, the airport sits on a large flat plain.

There’s plenty of ramp and tiedown space, the self-serve fuel island (both 100LL and Jet-A) is open 24/7, a deli with a sunlight patio is open in the shiny new terminal building, the runway and taxiway surfaces are in great shape, and IFR approaches are available—but they’re rarely needed since this large World War II-era airport is almost always VFR.

The Paso Robles Jet Center is equipped to provide support services such as 400 Hz/28 volt power, start cart, air conditioning and de-ice services for turbine traffic.

The shortest runway (13/31) is 4,700 feet long; it’s used mostly by Blue Sky Aviation, the helicopter training school on the field. It’s used by fixed-wing aircraft during those rare periods when prevailing winds shift around to the northwest.

The more commonly used runway (1/19) is 6,008 feet long by 150 feet wide. One-Nine is the preferred runway anytime winds (ASOS 120.125 or 805 239-3593) are less than five knots. Traffic patterns are left, and field elevation is 847 feet.

The Paso Robles airport is an uncontrolled airport. It’s not unusual for traffic advisory requests to go unanswered; no radio (NORDO) aircraft also fly into and out of KPRB. And occasionally someone will take off against the wind (usually from Runway 1 or 31) to avoid the long taxi to the preferred runway.

Therefore, pilots must be vigilant and need to monitor 123.0 and communicate when approaching the airport. ARTCC coverage is good; contact Oakland Center on 128.7 if flying in from the north; Santa Barbara Approach on 127.72 is appropriate when approaching from the south.

During winter months fog sometimes overlays KPRB. It usually burns off by 10 a.m. During summer months temperatures top 100 degrees F in the afternoon hours.

Try it; after one trip you’ll agree that the Paso Robles airport is a friendly fly-in gateway airport to California’s Central Coast.

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