The Air Show at Camarillo is a nice two day event, not a major air show but it does attract quite a variety of vintage and experimental Aircraft on static and flying displays. The event this year was inaugurated by the famous pilot Dick Rutan who flew the Voyager Aircraft non stop around the World in 1986 thus setting a new World record.
The Camarillo Air Show is well organized and featured a new act this year in the form of a German helicopter stunt flying including performing loops, yup, in a helicopter and a Soviet MiG-17 aerobatic display, for the first time ever. The MiG-17 is operated by Red Bull (yup, the drinks company). What makes it interesting is that many of the Aircraft on display are based locally.
The Air Show flight displays started with an American Flag towed by an banner plane. Soon after that the sounds of the many airplanes starting their engines to perform their routines reverberated through the airport area.
We were at C&J Sales located on the Airport and Chuck Smith our gracious host (I have written about him in the past) had invited more than 200 people for a Bar-B-Q. He had called in a master Bar-B-Q Chef called Marshall’s Bodacious Bar-B-Q who dished out some of the best ribs, potato salad and grilled veggies including eggplant, zucchini and Portobello mushrooms for veggies like me.
Every one were having fun all around, watching airplanes fly around in formation, perform aerobatics and generally soaking in the atmosphere. What started off as a foggy morning soon cleared up to be a nice sunny day. Fair weather pilots paradise, this place, with average of 75 degrees Fahrenheit nearly year round. That’s T-shirt and shorts weather year round. These Camarillo natives are indeed a spoilt bunch. Chuck Smith being one of them, a real nice guy and a successful Raytheon Beech Aircraft inventory holder and seller, not to mention all the warbirds he has on his inventory including perhaps the most T-28’s anywhere.
Somehow my participation went beyond just attending to actually flying in a T-28. Chuck said to me as I came in that morning that I was to be flying the Navy Blue T-28C courtesy its owner and pilot Andrew. Needless to say, that made my day even before we took off. The second Airplane was going to be an Orange and White T-28 piloted by Michael J. Maloco, a real nice gent.
I was briefed about the location of various controls and equipment on the Aircraft, especially the bailing out procedures i.e. to jump out of the Aircraft with a chute if there was a loss of controllability. I took along a camera to take pictures. We were to head out over to the desert, perform some maneuvers and come back in formation to the Airport, make a pass, perform a dramatic left turn and come in to land. The whole trip took a little more than an hour.
I had had one flight on the T-28 before this and was prepared for the starting procedures. The oil pressure is allowed to come up to about 10 pounds and the engines cranked just to loosen up and make the oil circulate around the metal parts. Starting the engines is an event, causing huge amounts of blue black smoke from both sides stacks that comes swiveling into the cockpit whose glass canopy remains open. It gets very hot once the cockpit canopy closes so it is common to keep it open till just before entering the runway for take off. We taxied past all kind of static displays and it was wonderful to see people start to come in bright and early on the weekend to soak up the ambience, and the sun.
After a run up, we closed canopy and took off in formation, peeling off towards the desert. After an eventful flight out, we returned in close formation and I was trigger happily taking pictures all along. I noticed that the Cars on the freeway were slowing down, watching us descend into the airport in formation, causing a mini backup!
Once the flight was done, we airmen hungrily wolfed down everything that Marshall had to offer, relaxing on the chairs that Chuck had put out in large numbers for the guests and watched the rest of the displays. My friend Kevin St. Germain (Mentioned in fast jet from Oz and other posts in my blog) had a flight into Van Nuys nearby and he managed to make it to the Air Show, thrilled to be there and enjoy some of Marshall’s cookery. Then there were all my aviation friends, newly made friends, Gary Goltz and family, Richard, John and so on.
MiG - 17 piloted by Bill Reesman, first time atthe Camarillo Air Show
For the first time at the Camarillo Air Show, we had Bill Reesman flying the red Bull Soviet MiG-17, able to fly at more than 600 miles an hour and reportedly climb at 20,000 feet per minute. We met Bill and his wife after the show and they are located almost next door to Chuck’s hangar.
The helicopter also reportedly operated by Red Bull had Chuck Aaron fly the machine, performing such stunts never commonly seen in a helicopter including full loops. Taking pictures from the ground, of a MiG-17 at high speed is near impossible for amateurs like me so I had to take them as Bill went past us taxiing.
Chuck Aaron looping the Helicopter, bet you haven't seen this one before!
The next Air Show at Camarillo is going to be around the same time next year so watch out for that. Call me early and maybe I can swing an invite from Chuck to come over and enjoy Marshall’s even bigger BBQ next year! Wink!
A few friends took some more pictures and I have some of the B-25 and I will post them soon. Hope you enjoyed the ride with me!