Riverside Municipal Airport is home to numerous flight and maintenance schools, and is what most people would think of if you referred to as the Riverside Airport. Most, but not all. For pilots in the know, a quaint little field a few miles away is almost considered “Oshkosh West” — for Flabob (a quirky little name that comes from combining the first names of the airport’s two founders) is an amazing place to snoop around if you’re looking for homebuilts and antiques. I dropped in for a few minutes one afternoon last week, and not much was happening, but it was clear that when the evening or weekend comes, there is some amazing flying.
From the DC-3’s on the ramp to various homebuilts peeking out of hangar doors, Flabob seems to have stayed true to its roots as a haven for sport flying and those that like to fool around with flying machines. Home of EAA Chapter 1, this was the home base for Ray Stits (for whom the Chapter is named), creator of many different airplane designs and building methods. Let’s not forget that the entire line of RV aircraft derive from a highly modified Stits Playboy, so many modern builders owe their thanks to this place.
To the casual observer, the airport might appear a bit run down, but to the dedicated aviation enthusiast, its just well seasoned. The moderate Southern California climate doesn’t require robust, insulated hangars and a lot of infrastructure. I wish I’d been able to drop by on a day and time when hangar doors were open and their wonders displayed for everyone to see. I guess that will have to wait for another trip. Meanwhile, I’ll make do with the feeling I got from simply standing on the dirt—enjoying an important birthplace of the activity we love.