In the 1920s and 30s airplanes routinely took off and landed on California beaches near Pismo, Oceano and Grover City. Barnstormers became more popular in the mid 1940s, hopping rides and spotting schools of fish. Yet due to increased tourism, vehicular traffic, and the harsh environment at the beach, a more inland landing strip became necessary.
About the airport
I moved to the Central Coast in 2005 and fell in love with this little airport and its friendly welcoming vibe.
Oceano Airport (L52, CA) was built in the 1950s to serve the local communities. This unique airport is within a short walk of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and sandy beaches.
Likely the closest public airport to the Pacific Ocean, Oceano is a vital link in emergency services in San Luis Obispo County.
Life-flight, California Highway Patrol, Sheriff Aero Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, Diablo Canyon evacuation, Beach rescues, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, and Angel Flights all make use of Oceano airport. It is a great field for training, particularly short field, and is used by regional CFIs. Many type clubs have their annual events at L52-Oceano.
A slice of paradise saved
In 2009 this beach-side airport was under the threat of a developer with his sights set on bulldozing the airport and building a housing development. While some folks scoffed at the threat, I took it seriously and began to mobilize local and regional pilots. I founded the Friends of Oceano Airport, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to the preservation of this unique and beautiful airport. With the support of the California Pilots Association and AOPA, we pretty quickly quashed the developer’s plan.
What to do at Oceano
The airport is walking distance to the dunes, hotels and restaurants and offers on-field camping and fly ‘n ride bicycle loans.
The Friends of Oceano Airport (FOA) is proud to be a chapter of the California Pilots Association whose goal is to help promote general aviation and protect general aviation airports.
FOA hosts three standing events per year.
May: Oceano Airport Celebration: Salute to Veterans
August: Fly-In Movie Night
December: Toys for Tots
All events are family friendly and free-admission.
Community events encourage visits to the airport from both tourists and locals and generate revenue for the area. Oceano Airport is a perfect example of how airports can be good neighbors.