Category Archives: CAF

A Flock Of Condors

Out at the CAF SoCal hangar today. It was rainy and gray, but the cloud base lifted a little bit around noon, and we got visitors.

The Condor Squadron flys out of Van Nuys Airport and is a common site in SoCal airshows, event flyovers, and other aviation events.

They perform formation flying in their AT-6 “Texans” on their missions. The “Advanced Trainer” was used in the US, but the same design in England during WWII was known as the “Harvard.”

With those old round engines, the “Texan” has a very distinctive “blaaaaaaaaaaat” sound as the prop tips break the sound barrier.

That sound carries well and the Condors’ practice routines often carry them over our house, so you’ll often see me running around the house yelling, “TEXANS!” and grabbing a camera to run out and catch them flying by.

With the rain and fog it had been quiet, but the arrival of the four Condor aircraft at full throttle over the runway took care of that. It was great to see them!

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

Missing Man Today

Today’s “missing man” flyover pass.

First pass is our CAF SoCal Wing PBJ (B-25), F6 Hellcat, and an F8 Bearcat. (The Bearcat isn’t ours, I believe it’s from the Palm Springs Air Museum, but I could very well be wrong. Ours is in mid overhaul.) It’s the F8 that pulls out of formation overhead.

Second pass are T-6 Texans / SNJs from the Condor Squadron out of Van Nuys.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Video

Throttle Quadrant

They don’t make them like this any more.

Literally.

That’s part of the problem.

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Filed under CAF, Flying, Photography

It Would Be Nice To See Her Fly Again

It’s been a few years since she’s flown, although her engines get fired up every now and then to move fluids around. She’s got a bit of “ramp rash” and would need a thorough going over and a bit more than routine maintenance.

It wouldn’t be easy, or quick, or inexpensive. But there are other C-46 Commandos still flying cargo and it’s not at all ridiculous to think of China Doll flying again. But the time? The dedication? The manpower? The money? Those are all in short supply.

Still, one can dream. I’ve never gotten to fly in her and it would sure be nice.

Dreams are important. Gotta hold on to them…

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Big Old Planes

And puffy clouds!

Our AN-2 on the left, C-46 on the right.

It was still raining at home, 35 miles away, and the big storm is moving in tonight through late Monday.

Difference in pictures is the normal iPhone 13 lens on the top, the wide angle lens (and about ten steps forward) on the bottom.

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Filed under CAF, Photography, Weather

Firewall

A busy, busy day at the hangar, but I wanted to at least snap a couple of pictures with the new phone.

Our F8F Bearcat is undergoing a major overhaul. The engine is off completely, along with a number of other chunks. Here’s the firewall, forward of the cockpit, to which the engine mount, engine, a half gazillion parts, the cowling, and pretty much the whole pointy end of the plane will be attached.

But that might be a few months away, maybe a year or more. We’ll see.

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Money, Money, Money, Money

Being Finance Officer of the CAF SoCal Wing I spent a good part of this weekend counting cash. This led to a most curious observation.

Here’s the situation. We have a number of sales sources around our ramp. Some of them (PX with T-shirts, toys, hats, patches, and so on – and the beer/margarita stands) generate a decent amount of sales but it’s mostly electronic, or $10s, $20s, $50s, and $100s if it’s cash. But most of the others (tips, candy, chips, snacks, sodas, water, and especially the aircraft tours) are simple and charge $1. Simple, just drop a dollar bill in the bin and off you go!

Except…

Someone has to count all of that. And to count it you have to unfold and stack and put it all in a format where you can go through it. It’s tedious, it’s time consuming, and it’s a pain in the ass when you can hear the planes flying and the “bombing” explosions and action going on outside.

But here’s the thing.

Having my desk covered with a mangled, messed up, mish-mash of $1 bills (with the occasional $5 or $10), almost everyone coming through the office wants to ooooh and aaaaah and just drool over “ALL THAT MONEY!!!” It’s like Scrooge McDuck frolicking in his hidden lair full of gold coins.

Only these aren’t gold coins. While everyone else is looking at it and obsessing over “CASH!!!” I’m seeing $100, maybe $125. Max.

And the majority of those with that attitude were pilots. Pilots who work for the airlines are are making $200K/year or more, sometimes a LOT more. This money lust that’s taken away their common sense is about what they would pay for dinner with their wives, OR LESS, yet they act like they could use it to go buy a new Ferrari.

It struck me as odd and a bit amusing, so I’m sharing. It’s what I do. Well, that and spend hours unfolding and stacking dollar bills until my hands cramp.

Meanwhile, if you’re tired of being obsessed with the mountainous stack of $1 bills, pull up a chair and start unfolding, stacking, and sorting. I give it fifteen minutes, tops, before you never want to see a $1 bill again.

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Filed under ALSA Golden West, CAF, Paul

Wings Over Camarillo 2021 – Day Two

Today, before it got too busy and crazed for me, I went and visited the STEM Pavilion being hosted in one of our hangars.

There were a lot of neat things going on. Needless to say, I would have killed to have things like this to do when I was ten or fifteen years old!

DRONES?! They will let me play with drones? Well, actually no. They’re more than happy to let kids play with drones. Adults, who presumably have their own disposable income as well as the ability to manage their own lives, are not allowed. 😫 No matter how big the temper tantrum.

Again while it was calm, before the crowds got there (and we had a nice sized crowd again today) I got up close and personal with another favorite of mine, the P-38 Lightning.

Have I ever told the story of my flight training on the way to John Wayne / Santa Ana airport… No, I don’t think I did. I’ll put that one on the list.

The obligatory picture of two of the CAF SoCal aircraft, our Zero and our Hellcat.

And a quick, cellphone picture of yesterday’s favorite, the Corsair, in flight. Most of today I was shooting cell phone and video with the good video camera. Busy, busy day for the finance dude, a.k.a., me.

Speaking of video, here’s how the show ended for the weekend. We had a fair amount of “pyro” late in the show and I hadn’t seen any of it yesterday being busy, and almost missed everything today. But I made sure to get out for the big “wall of fire” finale just as the show closed.

Sweet! Nothing and nobody got bent or broken, the crowds were good, the beer, PX, and ride sales were excellent, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year. Or you can come out and see us at the museum on any open day (see our website to check the current schedule, we’re not open every day but are gradually ramping up as we recover from the COVID lockdowns) or book a ride for another time.

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Photography, Video

Wings Over Camarillo 2021 – Day One

Wow, that was a long day…

I had figured the show could go either way in terms of crowd size, and relatedly, the financial success or failure for both the Camarillo Wings Association and all of the different sponsors, including the CAF SoCal Wing. First, we could have a huge crowd because all of the airshows for the last 18 months have been canceled along with a HUGE chunk of everything else, so folks will be desperate to attend a relatively safe, outdoor event with minimal close contact with strangers. OR, folks would still be really nervous about the resurgence of the COVID Delta variant and it would be something of a ghost town.

The air show fans of SoCal voted with their dollars – today at least had the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Camarillo air show.

In between my duties as the CAF SoCal Finance Officer (so I was hoppin’ all day!) I managed to capture a few pictures to share. (Huh! Go figure!)

Out in front before the gates opened there was a long line of fighters and warbirds. You’ve seen pictures of the CAF SoCal planes dozens of time on this page (search for the “CAF” category tag) so I was drooling over this gorgeous Corsair. A favorite plane (ever watch “Ba Ba Black Sheep”?) we don’t have one (yet) so I don’t get to see one up close or flying that often.

There were military aircraft on static display, but not nearly as many as most years. This AWACS, a couple of helicopters, and that was about it. In particular no huge cargo plane like a C-17, C-5, or even a C-130. They said something during the show about them being “in use overseas,” so I wonder if all of a sudden they’re all busy over in the Afghanistan evacuations.

Lots of old bi-planes and privately owned warbirds, particularly a lot of trainers like PT-19s, Stearmans, and T-34s. This 1929 Travel Air D-4-D was particularly gorgeous.

Usually the fast military fighters close the show, but today they started. It might have been to wake everyone up (like, everyone between Encino and Santa Barbara!!) or it might have been because of the cloud cover that hadn’t lifted quite yet. Either way, it definitely made an impression on the crowd, as well as every car with an alarm for blocks around.

You’ve seen this MIG before, it’s owned by our CAF SoCal Wing Leader, Jason Somes. But I’m not sure I’ve shown it to you in flight yet. Here you go!

Should you happen to be in SoCal and not have other plans for tomorrow, we’ll do it all over again. Gates open at 9:00. If you make it out, swing by the CAF ramp to see our planes, the STEM Pavilion in our hangars, the Beer & Margarita Garden in our other hangars, and maybe even ask someone where I am. Say howdy!

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Photography, Video

Wings Over Camarillo 2021 – Arrival Day

This site has a metric ton of pictures from previous years’ Wings Over Camarillo airshows – just “Search.” Last year we didn’t have a show due to COVID-19. For the longest time I didn’t think we would have one this year, but sort of at the last minute (meaning four or five months ago, instead of the usual 9-12 months of planning and preparation) they decided to go for it and have it anyway. We’ll see how that works out…

The CAF SoCal Wing is one of the big sponsors and participants of the WOC show, so naturally we’re throwing everything we can at it. Again, given that we’re just coming out of 18 months of shutdown, including pickling all of our aircraft to preserve them while they’re not flying, and then working frantically for the past month or so to un-pickle them, this has been hectic. There are a few things that we normally do which we didn’t have the time or staff to do this year (lots of our docents and members are still staying away due to COVID and the Delta variant, which is 100% understandable) but hopefully it won’t be too many things that folks will be disappointed to do without.

The big question will be how many people will show up? We’ll know tomorrow.

Meanwhile, today I was out at the hangar getting all of the finance stuff prepped. It was also “arrival day,” when most of the planes from other airports fly in and get positioned.

I took a few quick photos. (Hey, the Chiefs were playing their Week Two pre-season game at 17:00 – priorities!)

Our ramp is littered with aircraft – a good thing! How many can you identify? (Click to see the full sized photo.)

These speakers are set up along the flight line about every 50 feet – I keep hearing the M*A*S*H announcer’s voice – “Attention. Attention. All personnel. Our movie tonight will be ‘My Darling, Clementine’ in the mess tent at Oh Nineteen Hundred hours…”

Jason’s MIG, one of our SNJ’s, and China Doll. Off in the distance, tents and booths as far as the eye can see…

And a video of a fast mover:

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Filed under Airshows, CAF, Panorama, Photography, Video