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2017’s Wings Over Camarillo Warbirds…

Every August, a wonderful air show takes place at the Camarillo Airport in Camarillo, California. With beautiful blue skies, moderate temperatures, a nice cool sea breeze, and sunlight that stays behind you the entire show, this air show draws tens of thousands of aviation fans from around the world. Camarillo Airport is home to many tenants including the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, EAA Chapter 723, and the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The CAF, with their wide assortment of flyable World War II aircraft, have the unique ability to showcase these warbirds that America’s greatest generation flew to victory seven decades ago. Dubbed, ‘Wings over Camarillo’, this show continues to be an amazing event year after year. From a kid’s zone to a car show, from WWII prop driven aircraft to modern day fighter jets, the show provides something for everyone. Once again, before and after the show, there were very affordable helicopter rides provided by Orbic Helicopters, where you could take your entire family up to see the beautiful fields and coastline of Oxnard and Camarillo. This year the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation was also selling rides for $350.00 per person to sit in the front seat of their AH-1 Cobra. Other aircraft selling rides were the Commemorative Air Force’s own T-6, PT-22, B-25, PBJ, and P-51. Once the show started, Vicky Benzing, John Collver, Sammy Mason, and Judy Phelps kept the crowd entertained with intense breathtaking aerobatic maneuvers. The Commemorative Air Force, the Planes of Fame Air Museum, the Palm Springs Air Museum, and the Condor Squadron provided several warbirds that performed formations flyovers and high-speed passes at various times throughout the show. There was also a parachute demonstration provided by the World War II Demonstration Team, a water drop from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department’s UH-1 Huey, and several civilian experimental planes. Along with the action in the air, there was a classic car show that paraded in front of the show goers each day. This was the most classic cars I have personally witnessed at this event to date. The line of cars went all the way down from one end of the show line to the other, and then wrapped back on itself. Car show participants also had the unique chance to have their vehicles photo taken in front of one of the CAF’s warbirds each morning prior to the festivities. The modern military participation was also larger this year than at past shows. They included a pair of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, two F/A-18E Super Hornets, a C-17 Globemaster III, a C-130J Hercules, a E-2 Hawkeye, a AH-1Z Viper and a UH-1Y Venom. Camarillo is a show that I circle on my calendar every year, and I’m already counting down the time until next year’s incredible show! I’d like to thank the Commemorative Air Force for their incredible hospitality throughout the weekend, and a special thank you to Linda Erlich, Todd McNamee, and Orbic Helicopter’s Ken Obi, for assisting me in bringing this article to you from the many angles I was able to.

Owls Head Transportation Museum’s “Rally” Warbirds

 

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Here’s a riddle: How many tires would there be in one place in Maine, if you gathered a half dozen aircraft and eighty vintage cars, motorcycles and trucks for an air and auto show? So far, so good? OK, now double the aircraft total, and triple the automobile total because you have to add the entire contents of a world-class transportation museum’s collections, since the event was held at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. The Museum’s Wings and Wheels “Rally” was held at the western end of the Knox County Regional Airport on the weekend of August 5th and 6th, 2017 - featuring this amazing number of airplanes and autos both indoors and out. By the way, some of you might have guessed around a thousand wheels, but did you remember to add in the tailwheels and the spare tires too? DSC_0659 In reality, there’s no telling how many tires were actually present at the Wings and Wheels Rally, nor would there be an easily obtainable “actual tire figure” But let’s talk a bit about what did happen in the MidCoast Maine area at Owls Head last summer…

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On the Ground: I went to the Sunday Rally event, which was blessed with cool and dry weather. Autos from all over the Midcoast region of Maine flocked to the show, and more than a handful made a full day of it from further away, such as Damian and Ann Hall, from Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada. Many auto enthusiasts not only come to display their vehicles, but to catch up with friends they’ve made over the years too… More than a few car buffs mentioned that it’s the friendly, “family” style atmosphere of the Rally that keeps them coming back each year. The size of the gathering isn’t overwhelming, with what seemed to be a few thousand fans each day. This is a big funding event for the Museum, which has erous fun and history-laden shows throughout the year. If you bring a car (rules state pre-1997 qualify as show cars) through, you and a friend get in for free. The show cars and many fine autos that would be auctioned off later that month at the 2017 New England Auto Auction were lined up along a closed runway, and people’s attention bounced between the air attractions and the ground attractions. Close to one hundred vehicles were present outdoors, which included many auction vehicles, and the Museum’s indoor collection was open to all spectators too.

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In the Air: A breeze kicked up by late Sunday morning, and afternoon fair weather clouds didn’t hamper the aviators from flying their routines for the audience. The Knox County Regional Airport, sometimes known as the Rockland Airport, is a busy summertime destination for vacationers and summer home owners looking to enjoy the Maine coastline. A temporary flight restriction was in place to allow a group of performers to put on an hour long display of aerobatics and memorable photo passes for the thousands of spectators to enjoy.

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During the morning, a few of the Museum’s replica World War I aircraft were outdoors, including the eye-catching SPAD XIIIc.i replica that wears the colors of Eddie Rickenbacker’s personal mount soon after World War I ended, when he commanded the 94th Aero Squadron – the famous “Hat in the Ring” unit. The Museum’s original, and rare Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny” made an appearance this year too; last year it was going under some restoration work. Plus, the Museum’s 1923 Fokker C.IVA is a fully restored original aircraft too, which commands attention.

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For World War II warbirds, a trio of immaculate aircraft took to the skies at various times. Although not part of the flying display, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF)’s Arizona Wing B-17G Sentimental Journey was on hand during a stop in its’ cross country tour, giving rides to paying passengers ranging from elderly military veterans to curious historians. The Flying Fortress made a few trips before and after the flying exhibition.

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Mark Murphy flew some blistering passes in an FG-1D Corsair wearing Marine Lt. John Glenn’s markings before he became an astronaut.

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And the B-25 Mitchell, “Axis Nightmare” from the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Ohio, alighted for some spirited passes too, and finally joined the Corsair for some formation passes.

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Talking to Mark Murphy, I asked him if he had a flying preference between the Corsair and his P-51D Mustang “Never Miss” (the North American-built plane was in the middle of an engine change during this year’s show), and he answered that with over one thousand hours in the Mustang now, he felt very familiar with it and would choose it to fly. After watching this pilot in the Corsair at a Rhode Island air show the previous month and then at Owls Head, the plane and pilot looked pretty much in synch together too! A pair of top-notch civilian aerobatic performers also took to the air, Vermonter Dan Marcotte and Californian Bill Steinx filled the west side of the airport with smoke, noise and high energy during their routines.

Oshkosh Warbird Scrapbook 2017!

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Here are just some of the aircraft that graced the skies overhead Oshkosh Wisconsin during the 2017 EAA AirVenture. Heavy on the warbirds! OK... not all of these are traditional warbirds, but you get our drift... Read more »

THE BARNES AIR SHOW 2017: The History of Barnes Airport and the 104th Fighter Wing

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Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport was home to the 2017 "Westfield International Air Show", a flying extravaganza sponsored by the 104th Fighter Wing and held in central Massachusetts on August 11th and 12th this year that included over 72 airplanes and 6 hours of "Sierra Hotel" flying for 100,000 plane crazy people! Outwardly Barnes looks like a small airport, but Barnes Airport near Springfield has an amazing history: Read more »