Business View Magazine | May 2021

94 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE MAY 2021 AT A GLANCE COLUMBIA AIRPORT WHAT: A popular general aviation airport; home to a CalFire Air Attack Base WHERE: Tuolumne County, California WEBSITE: T Celebratingaviation C olumbia Airport is a gold mine for aviation enthusiasts. It’s one of the few airports on the West Coast with a grass runway and a full-service campground. It has a flight school that offers biplane training and an old S-2 air tanker on display that has attracted visitors from as far as Denmark. “There’s an actual group out there that follows these old aircraft… goes to visit them and take a look, and we happen to have one of the last of them here that could even potentially be retrofitted to fly again,” reports Columbia Airport Manager, Benedict (Benny) Stuth. But the gold mine reference extends beyond the unique features Columbia Airport has today. In fact, the rare metal is why Columbia Airport was built in the first place. Located in the Sierra Nevada foothills and within walking distance of the historic town of Columbia, California, the airport sits at an elevation of 2,118 feet. That’s probably a few feet lower than where it was about 100 years ago. According to Stuth, “It was a gold mine that was hydro mined pretty much all the way down to a level, flat surface. As the story