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"West Airways owner in business for fun of flying"



Wednesday, November 7, 2001

West Airways owner in business for fun of flying
By ALLISON GATLIN
The Antelope Valley (CA) Press


CALIFORNIA CITY - Ever wondered what your neighborhood looks like from 3,000
feet?
If so, Pierre Kandorfer can help.

As the owner and operator of West Airways, Kandorfer offers relatively
inexpensive local sightseeing flights over the Antelope Valley. The service
is based at the California City Municipal Airport, but flights from other
airports can be arranged as well.

A recent flight to Cal City from Gen. William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster
on a crisp fall morning revealed hidden treasures in the local landscape:
vibrant green fields surrounded by seemingly barren desert, the emerald
serpent of the California Aqueduct as it snakes along the foothills and the
shimmering jewel of Lake Elizabeth tucked into Leona Valley.

Cars circling the Willow Springs Raceway looked like a commercial for Hot
Wheels, and golf carts could barely be seen navigating the links at Rancho
Vista.

"The beauty of a local flight is you're low and you can really see,"
Kandorfer said. "Most people have no idea how beautiful the geography is."

Given the "totally different perspective" of the Valley from the air,
Kandorfer said he is surprised by others' complaints that the area is ugly.

"To my taste, it's a beautiful area," he said.

Prices for the half-hour flights begin at $36 for one passenger, $46 for two
and $54 for three. Fares may vary for airports other than Cal City.

West Airways also offers extended flights of approximately one hour. Prices
for these start at $65 for one passenger and run to $78 for three.

All flights must take off and land at the same airport.

"Flightseers" travel in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, piloted by commercially
licensed pilot Kandorfer. He also serves as tour guide, pointing out
landmarks and points of interest. He can tailor the flight to suit his
passengers' interests.

The business is the realization of Kandorfer's childhood dream.

"I wanted to be an airline pilot when I was 5," he said. It took almost 50
years before he was able to satisfy that desire, earning his commercial
pilot's license six years ago.

In the meantime, the Austrian native worked as an aviation reporter and
television producer.

He moved to Cal City three years ago after spending 15 years in Woodland
Hills.

Looking for a way to spend more of his time in the air, he decided to start
West Airways. While it is a business venture, Kandorfer is not in it for the
economic benefit.

"I love to fly, that's why I do it," Kandorfer said. "This is something that
matters to me emotionally.

"If there's a market, that's good," he said. "If there's not, that's O.K.
too."

"This is something I would like to do as a pleasure-type of thing, not as a
deadly serious business."

In addition to the sightseeing flights, West Airways also offers aerial
photography and movie scouting.

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