JAG’s Steerman at El Monte

Gabe Lopez, at El Monte, owns a small but impressive collection of Hollywood’s famous aircraft.  First, there’s the Stearman, flown by Lt. something or other in the television show JAG, very cool. Gabe acquired the Stearman in a scenario that sounds like every airplane buff’s daydreams.  He was out at the airport one day when he was approached by a kid who said, “Would you be able to tell me if an airplane my uncle has for sale is a good deal?”  Gabe agreed to go with the boy to his uncle’s house and look at he plane. As they rounded the house, he glimpsed the landing gear and said, “Kid, it’s a good deal.”  The young man said, “But you don’t know what he’s asking!”  Gabe advised him “Whatever he told you, just give it to him.”  So the kid agreed to buy the plane on the condition that Gabe would agree to do the restoration.  Soon, the boy realized he was in over his head and agreed to sell the plane for what his uncle had originally asked, a low, unrevealed figure, sure to make us all ache with longing to have been out on the field that fateful day. Gabe bought the plane, restored it and now owns a treasure. He offers scenic rides in the beauty and of course it’s available for TV and motion picture work as well.

Gabe Lopez and his father, Ed Lopez, stand together as proof positive that piloting skills are hereditary.

Then he also has Errol Flynn’s old Navion, N5348K, a real honey in powder blue and cream. Gabe has 100LL running through his veins, he must have aviation genes if there truly is such a thing. Gabe’s dad, Ed Lopez, flew in WWII at the age of 19 in P47’s in the Thunderbolt Squadron, the 387th Fighter Squadron called the Hell Hawks. Ed also used to fly for Cloverleaf Flying School at Santa Monica back when Santa Monica’s airport was called Cloverleaf.  He flew charters for movie people in Navions.  The Navion his son Gabe now owns, that was formerly owned by Errol Flynn, and was one of Cloverleaf’s and likely flown by Ed.  So it is only fitting that Gabe ended up with it all these decades later.  Ed, now 86 years old, went on the fly in Korea in F86 SabreJets. So the Lopez family has a proud history of flight, a legacy in the air.
If you want to use one of Gabe’s airplanes for show business work or reach him about a biplane ride, you can contact him at
(626) 893-1774.


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