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A Must Visit in Camarillo: Flying History

Updated: May 12

Pat Pattison's Best of California

Take a World War II primary trainer PT-19 aviation experience - and anybody can come do this. In Camarillo, we are at the Commemorative Air Force Museum CAF Socal Wing. This place is unbelievable.

This place really is unbelievable!

Fellow Travelers

So, fellow travel adventurer, if you're seeking thrills, history, and a touch of aviation magic, join me on this unforgettable expedition. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a curious explorer, there's something here for everyone. Let's spread our wings and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

I had an incredible time at the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Camarillo, and I'm eager to share my experience with you. This museum serves as a gateway to aeronautical knowledge, where concepts like lift theory come to life through hands-on experiences.

Steve Ryder and Pat Pattison taking off in a PT-19 at Camarillo Air Force Museum
Steve Ryder and Pat Pattison taking off in a PT-19

Our next stop takes us soaring high above the clouds in Camarillo, on the scenic Central Coast of California. As I buckle up my helmet and prepare for takeoff, the anticipation is electrifying. With the wind in my hair and the roar of the engine, I embark on a thrilling World War II primary trainer PT-19 aviation experience. The best part? Anyone can join in on this incredible adventure!

Descending from the skies, we pause to admire the historic planes that grace the museum's grounds.

All Volunteer Aviation Team

Throughout our visit, I'm struck by the dedication of the museum's all-volunteer team. Their passion for aviation preservation shines through in every meticulously restored aircraft and captivating anecdote shared with visitors like me.

This journey begins with a warm welcome from volunteer Ron Fleishman at the museum. Ron guides us through the collection, highlighting iconic aircraft like the Navion, a relic from the defunct North American Aviation Company. The painstaking restoration of the Navion to its former glory as a stationed airbase relic adds a nostalgic touch to the museum's ambiance.

As our conversation continues, Ron unveils the fascinating story behind a replica "Kate," famously featured in the film "Tora! Tora! Tora!" It's intriguing to learn how the absence of authentic Japanese aircraft during filming led to the creative adaptation of trainer planes like the PT-19 and PT-17, transformed into the Japanese fleet seen on screen. This historical insight underscores the ingenuity of filmmakers and the significance of preserving aviation history.

Sean Broadhead - Cadet Program

But our journey doesn't stop there; we move into the world of aviation with Sean Broadhead. Chatting with Sean, who runs the cadet program, he sheds light on the museum's educational mission.

Their goal? To inspire young minds towards aviation careers, whether as pilots, mechanics, or in aerospace manufacturing.

As we delve into the intricacies of lift theory and flight mechanics, I'm awed by the dedication of these young cadets and the wealth of knowledge surrounding us. From simulator sessions to discussions on Bernoulli's equation, every moment is an opportunity to ignite a passion for aviation. Through engaging activities, Sean encourages teens to pursue careers in aviation while honoring the legacy of World War II veterans.

But it's not just the cadets who benefit from this wealth of expertise. Visitors like me have the privilege of interacting with experts like Jack Luder, the uniform aficionado. Jack regales us with stories from his time on the set of Angels and Demons.

Next Steve guides us through the safety protocols before taking us up in a Fairchild PT-19.

As we travel through the skies, Steve's expertise and Naval aviation background ensure a safe and unforgettable experience. The flight was a thrilling adventure, and as we landed back safely, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the opportunity.The cockpit becomes our classroom, as he points out the intricacies of the aircraft instruments and shares tales from his own flying adventures.

Touching down once more, I'm filled with a sense of awe and gratitude for the incredible journey I've experienced. From the skies above to the rich history below, Pat Pattison's Best of California tour of the Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum SoCal Wing has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

But the highlight of my visit was the opportunity to go up in a Fairchild PT-19 with pilot Steve Rider, a retired naval aviator with an impressive background. It was exhilarating to go up in this flight and witness firsthand the passion behind this living museum.

My time at the CAF SoCal Museum was unforgettable, and I encourage everyone to visit and experience the magic of flight for themselves. Thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and staff who keep the spirit of aviation alive in Camarillo.

This museum isn't just a collection of artifacts; it's a vibrant hub of learning and appreciation for aviation history.


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