Category Archives: Airshows

Birthday Present For FedEx

I wasn’t privvy to many details, but from what I heard there was some sort of anniversary or birthday party that FedEx was throwing for itself down at their LAX facility. That facility sits atop what was once one of the primary North American Aviation factories during World War II, back when LAX was known as Mines Field.

We happen to have two magnificent examples of that particular North American factory, our P-51 Mustang and our PBJ bomber.

They asked if we might be able to send those two aircraft down for the party. To the best of my knowledge we’ve never had our planes at LAX before, nor are there many that ever go in there with the big aluminium tubes from the airlines. So we went.

It was a nice day for flying in SoCal. (Not that I got to leave the ground – someone had to pay the bills today.)

It’s great to have our P-51 flying again after being down over a year with a complete engine rebuild, and the PBJ is going strong and hitting her stride after her first flight last year following a 23-year full restoration.

Coming soon to an airshow near you, especially if you’re on the West Coast or in SoCal. If nothing else if you’re in SoCal, the 2017 Wings Over Camarillo airshow will be at our home base on August 19th and 20th. Come out and see our facilities and planes! (I will not be there for the first time in years – it’s a total solar eclipse weekend for me.)

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Flying, Photography, Video

AOPA Weekend At CMA

This last weekend at Camarillo Airport (CMA) there were some big crowds as the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) had one of their regional “fly-ins” at our site. (There’s a nice mention of the CAF presence there in the fifth paragraph – but you read this site so you already knew about that, didn’t you?)

The AOPA and all of its volunteers (many of whom are also CAF members and volunteers) did a great job of marshaling hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of planes into an airport that normally holds a hundred or so. The heavy winds on Friday and Saturday probably did a job on keeping the number of aircraft down – it seemed there were a fair number of pilots who chose to drive out from the LA environs and Southern California rather than risk the 15-20 knot crosswinds.

Nonetheless, when it was all over, the volunteers got to marshal all of those planes back out. If you think it’s crowded getting out of the parking lot at Dodger Stadium after a big game, or onto the train outside Busch Stadium after a Cardinals game, try putting hundreds of planes into the Los Angeles airspace in just a couple of hours!

On a nice weekend day CMA often will have five or six aircraft lined up to take their turns at take off. This weekend…

Click on this to see it full sized and start counting the planes. I see at least ten here and there were a couple more over to the left.

The other things to note are: a) the aforementioned volunteers out there marshaling traffic – you’ll NEVER see anyone out there on a normal day, at least not without the cops chasing them; b) look at the US flag and how those winds have it straight out. Fortunately, by this time it had shifted around to be blowing straight down the runway. The problem was that about 50 feet up it was apparently blowing in a much different direction (it happens) which meant that transitioning into or out of the ground winds was “exciting.”

Everyone was safe, a good time was had by all, and everyone made it home. All in all, an excellent job by AOPA and the CMA staff!

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The Next Two Weeks

If you’re local and you’re interested in some interesting and unique aircraft, you’ll have some great opportunities to see some gems in the next two weeks.

If you’re me and you’re still trying to get your annual audit and corporate tax returns done on top of having two major events going on at Camarillo Airport (CMA), you’ll have some great opportunities to have a nervous breakdown in the next two weeks. Consider this a heads up that there may be multiple days when a couple of pictures might be all I’ve got time or energy for. The good news is that they could be really good pictures!

Fifi is the CAF’s B-29. She visited us for a week two years ago and she’ll be back for a week starting tomorrow (weather permitting, of course).

Two years ago I spent every day of that week out in Camarillo, not just to see Fifi but to help out with all of the activity that will be surrounding her visit. With a (great!) day job now (and that audit etc) that won’t be an option. Which probably means that something like every other day I’ll be going out to the hangar after work in the evening.

The following weekend, April 28-29, there’s an AOPA Fly-in at CMA. Again, I won’t be able to be out there on Friday, but the rest of the weekend will be spent out there.

Oh, and did I mention that this weekend I’ll be running a 5K and going to the Angels’ game in Anaheim, as well as seeing my daughter and sister(s) and family?

“No pressure – no diamonds”

Yeah, that’s it. If I make it to May with the audit done, my blood pressure under control, and my sanity intact (or at least not any worse off than it is now) it will be time for a vacation. Which I won’t get until August.

It’s gonna be a slice!

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Flying, Paul

Shameless CAF SoCal Plug

Go look here to see some great pictures from our CAF SoCal Wing.

We were out at El Centro, CA last week for the first big airshow of the season. The Blue Angels were there.

The Blue Angels currently fly F-18’s. When they formed after WWII they first flew F8F Bearcats and F6F Hellcats.

We have a F8F Bearcat. We have an F6F Hellcat.

On the evening before the airshow, at sunset we went up with our F8F, our F6F, one of their F18s, and some photographers in our PBJ-1/B-25 as a photo platform. The pictures are pretty stinking spectacular.

Check them out on our website and also on our Instagram or Twitter feeds!

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The Airshow Working Me

As much as I might be in (serious, world-class, overwhelming, all-encompassing) denial about getting older, I might be getting too old for this shit.

Another lovely day, albeit another 13 hour plus day. First thing tomorrow, starting the week a half lap or more behind on sleep, the new week starts.

How was your weekend?

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Filed under Airshows, Flying, Health, Panorama, Photography

Working The Airshow

Working the airshow is not quite as much fun as just going to an airshow. But it was a good day, even if I did have a 15 hour day there.

 Tomorrow will probably be another 12+ hour day, so if you’re in SoCal, feel free to come out and say howdy!

Gates ooen at 10:00, flying starts at noon and goes until about 16:30. If you’re there, wander by the CAF hangars & chat. Don’t sweat finding me – just ask anyone working at any of the CAF booths there and they’ll track me down.

See you there, maybe?

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Out Of The Frying Pan

You may have noticed that The Long-Suffering Wife and I were on vacation in New York City for the last eight days. It was pretty much a “go, Go, GO!!” trip, trying to hit as many first-time tourist spots as possible in one of the largest tourist traps on the planet.

All good things must end. Today it was back to the real world, the office, and everything that had occurred back at the office during those eight days. The good news is that I have a fantastic team there (great job, Esther and Hazel!) and while today was a bit frantic, there weren’t any crises to speak of.

One might think that I would be grateful for a “short week” since I was off in the Big Apple on Monday and Tuesday. But that’s not to be. As busy (and occasionally exhausting) as the road days were, this upcoming weekend will be as frantic or more so.

It’s time for this year’s “Wings Over Camarillo” airshow! (Previous years’ pictures here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

With the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force being both a major sponsor of the show as well as one of the lead performing groups (at last check we’ll be flying the PT-19, the SNJ-5, the Hellcat, the Bearcat, the Zero, the Spitfire, and the PBJ (flying at her first airshow). The Mustang is currently down for repairs, but will be there to gawk at, sans engine.

With my volunteer role as Finance Officer for the CAF SoCal Wing, I’ll be extremely busy all weekend.

So much for the theory which says, “I’ll catch up on my sleep when I get back from vacation.” Somehow “I’ll catch up on my sleep ten days or so after I get back from vacation, put in long hours at the office, and then put in eighteen-hour days all weekend” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way.

Don’t worry. I’ll take lots of pictures to share. Sometime after I get caught up on my sleep.

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Flying, Habitat For Humanity, Travel