Channel Islands Aviation

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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 [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 continues to fly to the islands as concessionaire to Channel Islands National Park. Only Santa Rosa Island is allowed to have commercially-available public flights under Park Service ownership.

The business, now greatly expanded to include mainland charter and jet services, is currently operated by two generations of Oberman family.

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.”