Category Archives: CAF

Hellcat In The Sun

An F-6 Hellcat.

Getting all cleaned up for next weekend, the Wings Over Camarillo airshow.

If you’re in the LA/SoCal area, maybe come and see us. I’ll probably be running around somewhere in the CAF SoCal hangars, down at the west end of the ramp. Stop by and say hello.

This plane, along with our F8 Bearcat, PBJ, P-51, Spitfire, Zero, PT-19s and SNJs and F-24 will all be flying, along with dozens if not hundreds of other aircraft.

On Saturday, the Camarillo animal shelter (on the airport, just down the block from our hangars) will also be holding a “Clear the Shelter” event.

For more information, see

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While we don’t own one ourselves at the CAF SoCal Wing, a number of our members personally own T-34 “Mentor” trainers.

They often fly with us in formation, such as when we use our PBJ bomber to do a flyover of a UCLA or USC or Rams football game.

I think they were practicing formation flight yesterday. Whatever it was, there were three of them lined up on our ramp and looking great.

The T-34 was built in the 1950’s to train our military pilots and used through the 1960’s.

It’s a nice plane.

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P-51 Innards

Part of our D-Day 75th anniversary memorial at the CAF SoCal hangar was a presentation today on the P-51 fighter. You might remember that last Monday we had KTLA doing segments from their morning news show from the ramp at our facility. They mentioned today’s presentation and it also got some local press in Ventura County. Between the two we ended up with a much, MUCH bigger crowd than we’ve ever seen before at one of our talks. It was wonderful!

In order to show and not just tell, our mechanics took the cowl panels off the P-51 so that everyone could get a good view of the Rolls Royce engine inside. Later it was parked outside while I was stretching my legs, so I figured I could share the view with everyone else.

Of course, the best view is from inside that bubble canopy with all of those cowl panels in place and that prop doing several thousand RPM to propel you through the sky at about 450 knots. Inverted is optional.

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Solid Overcast, 700′ Ceiling

It was a gloomy, cloudy, cool, ever so slightly drizzly day in Camarillo, so the flights we had scheduled got cancelled or rescheduled for some other day.

However, out on the ramp, in position for Monday morning, we had a number of aircraft, including our C-46 (in the back on the left) and the AAF’s C-47 (foreground, left).

On the KTLA Monday morning news show we’re scheduled to have live segments with reporter Gail Anderson from the ramp every hour starting at about 06:20. It’s in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th.  If there’s some dramatic breaking news or a car chase or something else we might get pre-empted (it’s happened before) but let’s hope for the best and you can get a view of my home away from home, some of the folks I work with there, and some of our aircraft.

If you’re in the LA area, or if you can pick up their feed online,

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PBJ & Convection

The weather at Camarillo was quite nice, if a touch windy. But that wasn’t nearly enough to stop our PBJ or other planes from flying.

While the PBJ was sitting out on the ramp waiting for our passengers to arrive, I noticed the view with some growing convective clouds building 25-30 miles north, up over the mountains along the northern edge of Ventura County. Later in the day they grew into some significant thunderstorm cells with flash flooding along the I-5 over the Grapevine, but at this point they were just a pretty background for the gorgeous plane.

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Filed under CAF, Photography, Weather

Plan B

Lemons —> Lemonade

I had work to do at the CAF hangar as I normally do on Saturday, but we were having an event there which had the entire location packed to the gills. I probably could have gotten in since I work there, but I had a new printer (weighing in at 50 pounds) and would have had to park blocks and blocks away, then walk while carrying the printer plus my briefcase and other stuff.

I had a Plan B.

Our storage unit is just on the other side of the runway (this is not an accident) and I’ve still got plenty of work to do to clean up following our move eleven months ago. Way too much of the last few days (looking back at it I still can’t quite believe we actually pulled it off) was spent simply stuffing boxes into storage as fast as possible because there were no other options or alternatives. So sorting stuff into order is still a work in progress.

Five hours later I was quite exhausted – I don’t get enough exercise these days, which has got to change. But for today there was more sweating, lifting, hauling, and flat-out grunt work than I’ve had in several months. So I locked up and went over to the hangar to see how quickly I could get the bare minimum “accounting stuff” done. (About three and a half hours.)

The good news is that my watch is thrilled with me. For the first time since I got it, I closed all three rings. (If you don’t have an Apple Watch, just go with “It’s a good thing!”)

What I find hilarious is the red graph – four to five hours where the activity readings are pegged, followed by a rapid decent to the rest of the day sitting at a desk and plotzing, watching repeats of yesterday’s SpaceX launch, watching the new Star Wars IX trailer, and generally being sore and stiff and waiting for the sweet, sweet release of the grave.

Tomorrow’s another day. Kick ass – take names!

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Filed under CAF, Castle Willett, Health

YAK-52 (Completed)

(AAARGHH!!! – Hit the stupid “Publish” button by mistake! Here’s the whole thing. Sorry. Oops)

Airshow season has started and pretty much everything we have at the CAF SoCal is off for the first few weekend shows, except of course for those undergoing maintenance and restoration. This leads to a bunch of empty hangars, which makes it a good time to be cleaning them. However, today when I got in, there was a strange plane there.

It’s a YAK-52, a Russian trainer. Not quite a “warbird” since it’s less than twenty years old, but it still must be fun to fly.

It’s got that nice, big Russian rotary engine up front.

So, what’s it doing in our hangar temporarily? Shelter from the storm, as it were.

It’s been windy as all get out for the last couple of days and this aircraft’s a taildragger, so it can be tricky to land in nasty winds. Like, yesterday, when it came into Camarillo.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The tips of those three propeller blades? They’re not supposed to end that way. Really, really not supposed to end that way.

A gust must have caught the plane, raised the tail, lowered the nose, and the spinning blades hit the runway.

It’s said that any landing’s a good one if you can walk away from it, but the great ones are where you can use the aircraft afterwards. This aircraft will fly again, but it will require some work to that engine and all new props.


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