Flew a C-124 into Santa Monica Airport in the 50s

To the Editor:

The recent letter and article on the (Santa Monica) airport reminded me of a time when much larger airplanes used the field. In the late 1950s, as an Air Force pilot, I flew the four-engine C-124 into the airport on a number of occasions. I remember it vividly as the runway was short and was preceded by a sharp drop-off on the easterly approach.

We flew there because at the time, Douglas Aircraft manufactured missiles and equipment that would not fit on a smaller aircraft. The C-124 had a large interior capacity — large enough for a Greyhound bus — and was often used for out-sized cargo.

Because of the landing and takeoff requirements, one could say we became very familiar with both ends of the runway and its small extensions. More than once we essentially saw the whites of the eyes of the neighbors to the west. I had about 6,000 flying hours in the C-124 and put it in many small spots, but none with the surrounding area of Santa Monica.

Unfortunately, our missions were subsequently canceled when a friend of mine, and a C-124 pilot, landed short of the runway. He wiped out the landing gear on the cliff and the fuselage slid down the runway on its own. No one was hurt, but the aircraft was destroyed, and all subsequent missions were canceled. A small, but interesting chapter in the airport’s history.

Rod W. Brown, Playa del Rey

Requests more signs on the Westchester Bluffs

To the Editor:

The West Bluffs walkway extends from Berger Street in Playa del Rey to Bluff Trail Road/Lincoln in Westchester. The brown signs listing the rules and regulations of usage are nowhere near the entrances to the walkway. This is resulting in the walkway being used as a bike path when the poorly placed signs indicate “no bicycles.”

People are also following their unleashed dogs that use the walkway as a restroom when the signs clearly indicate “all dogs should be leashed.” A lot of this defecation is not being bagged by the pet owners.

There is clearly a need for more signage along the trail at least twice between each of the entryways. As new as the trail is, it’s already apparent that the same people that ignore the signs at the beach are frequenting the West Bluffs Walkway.

It’s obvious to me that most of these users that choose not to read signs don’t live in the area and have no vested interest in keeping it beautiful. I urge all users and walkers to tell violators on bikes and unleashed pet owners of the rules to keep this walkway safe and sane for those of us who use it.

The lack of proper and more frequent signage makes enforcement difficult. I urge the West Bluffs Homeowners Association/ developers to add a minimum of eight more signs in strategic locations to keep this area from becoming an eyesore.

Al Wiseman, Playa del Rey

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