Channel Islands Aviation

From Islapedia
Channel Islands Aviation over
Santa Cruz Island
Channel Islands Aviation landing at
Santa Rosa Island
Channel Islands Aviation at
Smugglers Airstrip, Santa Cruz Island

Channel Islands Aviation ( 1975-2021), [CIA] was started in 1975 with pilot partners, Mark Oberman and Tom Driscoll. Initially operating out of Oxnard Airport, they took their first charter flight to Santa Cruz Island on January 1, 1975. The following year, on October 21, 1976, when the Camarillo Airport reopened from the Oxnard Air Force Base, the partners moved CIA to Camarillo.

Initially, flights were operated to five airstrips on Santa Cruz Island (Campo Grande, above San Pedro Point, Main Ranch, Christy Ranch, the Point); Santa Rosa Island's main ranch strip east of Becher's Bay; and two airstrips on San Miguel Island (the relocated Hammond Field and Green Mountain). Private island owners, their guests, and hunting and recreational businesses operating on the islands relied heavily upon flights from CIA. After five years of operations, CIA became the official flight concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park when the park was created in 1980. Park personnel increased flight business as well.

After more than two decades, Tom Driscoll left the partnership. Today, after more than forty years in business, Channel Islands Aviation continued to fly to the islands as concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park. Only Santa Rosa Island was allowed to have commercially-available public flights under Park Service ownership.

The business, greatly expanded to include mainland charter and jet services, was operated by two generations of Oberman family when they sold to CloudNine.

Landing on Santa Rosa Island

In the News~

April 22, 2017 [VCS]: “Channel Islands Aviation founder and owner Mark Oberman, of Camarillo, has been recognized with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the Federal Aviation Administration's most prestigious award for certified pilots. The honor goes to U.S. citizens "who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least fifty years while piloting aircraft," according to the FAA. To be eligible, pilots must be a citizen and hold a U.S. Civil Aviation Authority or FAA pilot certificate, and have fifty or more years of civil and/or military flying experience. Awardees have their name, city and state added to the "Roll of Honor," which is published on the FAA's website. Oberman graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in agricultural engineering and started his career working at McDonnell Douglas in Marina del Rey as an associate engineer working on rockets, many of which were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc. Oberman decided to combine his career and flying hobby and launched his own company, Channel Islands Aviation, in 1975. He had identified the demand for charter flights to the Channel Islands when he took his first charter flight to Santa Cruz Island on Jan. 1, 1975. The following year, he and his wife, Janie, established Channel Islands Aviation at the Camarillo Airport. "When I first soloed in 1966, I had no idea I would still be active in private and commercial aviation in 2017 and still enjoying it," Oberman said. "I mostly fly out to the Channel Islands. There are six islands with airports or or strips, and we go into all of them. It's some of the most beautiful scenery in the country." Oberman will receive his award at the 2017 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Fly-in set for April 28-29 at the Camarillo Airport.”

Mary and Janie Oberman, Channel Islands Aviation

August 9, 2021 []: “Channel Islands Aviation founder Mark Oberman retires from flying. Camarillo, Calif. – Channel Islands Aviation’s founder Mark Oberman retired from flying after 46 1/2 years of serving the island community at the end of last month, his daughter Sarah Oberman Bartush confirmed. Oberman, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Agricultural Engineering, founded the charter flights company alongside his wife, Janie Oberman, in 1975, taking his first charter flight to Santa Cruz Island on January 1, 1975. The family-run business at the Camarillo Airport has served the area faithfully for 45 years, offering trips to the islands as well as a Cessna pilot center and a Cessna, Beechcraft and Cirrus Service Centers, along with CI Jets, the jet charter operation. Oberman continues duties as General manager overseeing the business’ daily operations and as logged over 15,000 flights hours. Oberman was awarded the Federal Aviation administration’s most prestigious award, The Wright Brother’s Master Pilot Award, in 2017, honoring 50 years of accident, and violation free continuous flying. His name is published on the Roll of Honor on the FAA’s website. The tight-knit business is also run by Oberman’s son, Mike Oberman, and his daughter, Sarah Oberman Bartush; Oberman Bartush serves as the business’ chief marketing officer and director of business, while Mike Oberman work as the business’ director of Operations and COO. For more information about Channel Islands Aviation, visit, or call (805) 987-1301. Channel Islands Aviation is located at the Camarillo Airport, at 350 Durly Avenue.”

June 24, 2022 [Aviation Pros]: “CloudNine Acquires Channel Islands Aviation Fixed-Base Operation at Camarillo Airport (KCMA). Ron Rasak and Nick Martino were constructing CloudNine’s executive hangar development at Camarillo Airport when the long-time aviation enthusiasts realized there was an opportunity to “fill a gap.” Channel Islands Aviation (CIA), one of four fixed-base operators (FBOs) on the airfield, was for sale. It was operated for 43 years by Mark and Janie Oberman. “We watched from a distance, and then thought about the logistics of operating the FBO,” said Nick Martino, vice president of operations for CloudNine. “We knew the importance that it can play in CloudNine’s hangar development and our future growth. We are combining Ron’s business acumen with my love of the airport.” Rasak is CEO of CloudNine and RKR, Inc., a southern California commercial real estate development company. At Camarillo, CloudNine is constructing four, 25,000-square-foot executive hangars, with an additional 5,000 square feet of office space. With the help of Nicholas Daddis, CEO and founder of FBO Advisors and Air Capital Group, CloudNine secured financing for both the hangar development and the acquisition of CIA through Signature Bank of Chicago. By the end of May, CloudNine and CIA signed an acquisition contract. The legacy owners, with four decades and a lifetime of memories, then shook hands and transferred the keys to the next stewards of their family FBO. Channel Islands Aviation opened with the airport in 1976. It’s the first and only full-service FBO at the airport with each of the remaining three FBO operators offering specialty aviation services. “We plan on keeping the name,” said Rasak. “It’s got a great legacy and reputation throughout SoCal. It is well known and is one of the longest running affiliates of Cessna Aircraft Company in the country.” Martino has a sentimental view of the acquisition. “I grew up in Ventura County. I was out here all the time and we are already out here with CloudNine, doing some FBO services (aircraft management) so it was logical for us to consider acquiring the full-service FBO. Quite honestly, It would have been difficult to watch someone come and take it over. This is home to me, and I want to continue CIA’s legacy and growth,” he said. Rasak added, “We’re looking to hire mechanics, flight instructors, pilots and avionics technicians.”

Currently, CIA has 150 flight school students, with a majority being enrolled in Part 141 programs that include single engine, multi-engine up to airline transport pilot (ATP) certifications. As part of the purchase, CloudNine acquired six Cessna 172s and a Beechcraft Duchess. “It’s a very student-friendly airfield as we’re just outside Class B controlled airspace,” said Martino. “We’re the only FBO on the airfield dedicated to piston general aviation,” said Rasak. “That’s one reason we have a tremendous amount of upside, especially since we can dovetail the hangar project with our full FBO services.” Immediate goals of CloudNine include modernizing the business to streamline processes. “We also want to work with our Cessna and Cirrus services partners to draw aircraft owners from other airfields, like Van Nuys, Oxnard, Santa Barbara and Santa Ana,” said Martino. His vision extends even further as he points out CloudNine’s continued commitment to general aviation and community-focused outreach. CIA is a Cessna Service Center, Cirrus Authorized Service Center and FAA Approved Part 145 Repair Station with Airframe Class 3 limited Cessna Citation 525/S550/560 power plant and accessories. As authorized factory service centers, CIA performs warranty work on new Cessna and Cirrus aircraft. The company is also a Garmin dealer.”