Livermore to Sacramento: Aviator’s Restaurant [The Flying Gourmet]

Jim Jellison - The Flying Gourmet

Aviator's Restaurant SacramentoAviator’s Restaurant
6151 Freeport Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 424-1728
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Over the years I have flown to almost every restaurant within about two hours flying time from the Livermore airport. Some might ask why? Well, as a pilot I have to “legally” fly every ninety days and make three takeoffs and landings to “legally” take passengers. Since I’m retired and love to fly I find this requirement no great hardship, but it is nice to have a destination for flight planning purposes. The regulations also state that as a private pilot I cannot take any money in exchange for the flight, but it is nice to get a free meal (the passenger pays) and have someone to share it with.

My latest excursion was just up the road about 51 nautical miles, as the crow flies, to Sacramento Executive Airport. From Livermore the direction of flight is approximately 1 degree magnetic which poses a problem since the directional rule is that when flying 0 through 179 degrees you fly odd thousands plus 500 feet and from 180 through 364 degrees you fly even thousands plus 500 feet. But holding a precise heading of plus or minus a couple of degrees is almost impossible in a light aircraft, even in smooth air. What to do? Well, the directional rules apply to flight above 3,000 feet, so I flew at 3,000 ft. This worked but caused me another problem in that the low altitude made finding the airport in the clutter of metropolitan Sacramento pretty hard.

I don’t know if you remember, but years ago there was a chain of restaurants called the “Red Baron” that were located at smaller airports such as Reid Hillview Airport in San Jose and the Livermore Airport. They were all decorated in the same fashion with model planes hanging from the ceiling and a few private tables semi enclosed with wood paneling and their signature salad bar. They went out of business several decades ago and have since been taken over by other restaurants with different themes. Well, when I walk in the door of the Aviator’s it was deja -vu all over again! I instantly felt at home with the same aviation theme and great food I remembered from so long ago.

Aviator’s is located on the second floor of the same building that houses the control tower. It has a great view and a very large patio area where you can work on your tan while enjoying lunch! For pilots it’s great because you can park your plane just feet away from the building. By the way, the plexiglas canopy over the salad bar is an actual canopy from a T-33 jet trainer. So, if you’re in the area and want to dine and watch airport operations Aviator’s is the place. They are also open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, with breakfast and lunch available seven days a week.

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