Category Archives: News

Do YOU want to get your pilot’s license?

We all wish we could fly these beautiful warbirds.

Failing that, we are happy to settle for hearing first-hand from those skilled enough to fly a vintage WWII fighter.

In this candid video, CAF Col. Steve McCartney graciously shares his first impressions of the Spitfire Mk. XIV after his second flight ever piloting the sleek aircraft. It helped that the questions were coming from Ms. Caroline Sheen of the Air & Space Magazine who was spending a full day of her Southern California vacation at the CAFSoCal museum and hangars.

The impromptu session ends with Caroline asking us “do YOU want to get your pilot’s license?”  Well, yes. Maybe. But we’ll leave the warbird flying to folks like Steve!

Museum Closed four days in May

Our incredible events staff’s continued success in fundraising for the museum via booking events at the hangars has made it necessary, once again, to close to museum hangars to public access for a short period:

The CAF SoCal Museum will be closed (for a closed-set filming):
Thursday & Friday, May 11 and 12 and

Monday & Tuesday, May 15 and 16, 2017

Come see us weekend of the 13th or after the 17th and treat yourself to a close up view of the aircraft which thrilled the crowds at the recent airshow in Chino.

2017 PBJ Barnstorming Tour Report

The PBJ is back in the home hangars following an outstanding 13 day barnstorming tour culminating in participation in the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid Commemoration at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. 

01 PBJ Tour Roundtrip

The debut tour for the PBJ included stops in New Mexico, Kansas, Ohio, Arkansas and Texas, to eager crowds for aircraft tours and rides.
We are thrilled to report that the aircraft performed impeccably and the reception of the host organizations and enthusiasm of the public far surpassed any expectations.

Dick Cole with PBJ Crew
Col. Cole accepting a PBJ Patch from the crew

A complete mission report will be added to this page as the important work of a debrief and aircraft maintenance is completed and the heavy load of audio-visual material is gathered and processed.

All Participating Crews
Group photo of all participating B25 crews

In the interim, the following short video serves as the highlight of the main event at the NMUSAF in Dayton.

We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our supporters who followed us on this epic journey and offered their encouragement and praise to a tired crew on the various social media platforms. 


Images from tour stop locations, Gathering of Mitchells at Grimes Field and the Doolittle Commemoration assembly and flyover at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

PBJ Camarillo to Dayton Tour

The PBJ will be part of seventeen B-25 Mitchell bombers from around the country appearing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. (LINK to news NMUSAF news release.)

Departing on April 11 and returning on the 23rd, the PBJ will make multiple stops along the way at the locations listed below, where the aircraft will be available to tour and for warbird ride experience to the public.

Rides can be purchased from our rides page, except at the Grimes field in Ohio

For questions and reservations for B-25/PBJ rides on this tour, please call:

805-603-9910

 

01 PBJ Tour Roundtrip

 

PBJ to Alameda 2017APR01 – updated with video

We hope you enjoy the following mission report and images  from member Dan Newcomb as much as we did; it  succinctly encapsulates the PBJ flight to Alameda on the 75th anniversary of launch of USS Hornet with it’s complement of 16 B25s on the Doolittle raid:

75 years ago the Hornet left the dock with 16 B-25s on her deck. She then anchored in San Francisco Bay for the night and sailed under the Golden Gate the next morning. Our flight commemorated this event. The base has been closed since 1997 and is now, among other things, a nesting ground for birds. Airplanes are not in the old base’s future. We were most certainly the last Mitchell bomber to ever work the pattern. As I watched our shadow racing down the abandoned runways I thought of those other shadows cast so long ago by the Raiders. I thought of the nine Doolittle raider crew members that didn’t make it back and that the last runway they landed on in America was now below me. I imagined the roar of 22 B-25’s flying in from Sacramento of which 16 would be hoisted aboard the carrier. As we flew home out over the Golden Gate that for so many symbolized the great country many would never again see, I wondered if my generation would be the last to truly understand the historical significance of the war and what our parent’s generation endured.


A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the tail gun position of he PBJ as captured by Thomas VanStein

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The following video was shared with us by the Alameda Museum personnel.
Our PBJ enters the video at about the 1 min mark:


 

PBJ flyover Alameda this Saturday, April 1st

Plan to come to the CAF MUSEUM  by 9:30AM this Saturday, April 1st to witness the launch of the B25-PBJ for the flight over Alameda NAS in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid  

From the Alameda Sun:

Alameda Naval Air Museum’s (ANAM) motto — “Come see history in your own backyard” — will have special meaning this Saturday, April 1. The museum invites everyone young and old to visit Alameda Point, where they can look to the skies around 11:45 a.m. to witness a B-25 flying over the former Naval Air Station. The historical aircraft is making its appearance to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the departure of the USS Hornet CV-8 from Alameda Naval Air Station on April 1, 1942, to begin the Doolittle Raid.
Alameda’s native son Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle commanded the 16 Mitchell B-25 bombers, their five-man crews and Army maintenance personnel aboard the newly commissioned Hornet. These men changed the course of World War II when they bombed Japan on April 18, 1942, accomplishing what many considered an impossible task. The Navy and Army conceived the raid to retaliate against Japan for the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. They would secretly launch an airstrike from the Hornet to Japan’s surprise. 
 
“We’ve hosted two successful Doolittle historical walks with historian Marshall Davis from Petaluma’s History Connection,” said ANAM secretary-treasurer Robbie Dileo. “We spoke with Marshall last fall. He told us he wanted to celebrate the 75th anniversary not only with his history walk, but with something extra special to make the occasion a memorable one — a B-25 flyover.” 
 
Davis approached every owner of a B-25 and was fortunate enough to find one available and ready to fly on April 1. “Michael Hohls, a pilot and Commemorative Airforce Museum member in Camarillo, Calif., became the guy with the B-25,” he said. 
 
Davis said that other B-25s were going to the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, for events remembering Doolittle’s bombing raid on April 18, 1942.
 
Dileo said that procuring the plane cost a small fortune, not only in money, but in time. She needed to navigate the various regulatory agencies to get all the approvals in order. The stars aligned late afternoon, Thursday, March 23.
 
“The collaboration among government entities and the sheer will and determination of the museum’s volunteer staff and visionary directors meant there would be a B-25 fly over,” she said, “ANAM would like to especially thank the Veteran’s Administration (VA), the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the City of Alameda for their help.”
 
“Having the B-25 come was like climbing Mt. Everest and getting to the top. Thanks to all who made it possible,” said Larry Pirack, ANAM president and curator.
 
Dileo pointed out that development planned for Alameda Point will spell the end to airplanes flying over the former Naval Air Station. The last planes to do so included some B-25s that craned everyone’s necks in 1996 as a prelude to base closure in 1997. “There is no charge to see the flyover, but the museum is grateful for any donations received to defray the $8,500 cost to bring the B-25, Mike Hohls and his copilot to Alameda,” Dileo said. The museum has received donations and pledges from its members and the Bay Area’s Commemorative Airforce Golden Gate Wing. ANAM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. 
 
After the B-25 has departed — around noon if all goes as planned — the VA and the Fish & Wildlife Service plan to open the fence to allow visitors to walk the runway that Doolittle’s arriving planes used on March 31, 1942. 
 
Then at 1:15 p.m., Davis will lead his history walk. The walk costs $10 and includes admission to the museum, where guests can enjoy, among other displays, information about the Doolittle Raid. Doolittle Raid family members are scheduled to appear. The VA and the Fish & Wildlife Service will offer updates. Participants will also enjoy military and vintage vehicles and meet people in period attire.
 
Dileo encourages folks to arrive at 10 a.m., buy an “admission button” for $10 and enjoy the museum’s displays before the arrival of the B-25. “In fact, the souvenir button includes Marshall’s walk and admission to the museum anytime in April,” Dileo said. “Button holders can return and enjoy the special exhibits at a leisurely pace that will cover Doolittle, his Raiders, the modified B-25s and more.”
 
“The flyover honored a promise made 20 years ago to ANAM founders Marilyn York and Barbara Baach,” Dileo said. Added determination came in honoring her deceased father, World War II veteran Jim Kilpatrick.
 
The Alameda Naval Air Museum is located at 2151 Ferry Point, Building 77, near the Seaplane Lagoon just off West Atlantic Avenue. The museum is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment. To learn more about Saturday’s event or the museum, call 522-4292, email tellus_anam@aol.com or visit alamedanavalairmuseum.org. 
 
The Alameda Museum, 2324 Alameda Ave. will host a lecture about Jimmy Doolittle at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 27.

CAFSoCal Dazzles El Centro

We always look forward to the airshow at the El Centro NAS.

fireworks-f6_07
Usually, its the Hellcat that puts on the fireworks display!

 
As well as being the inaugural airshow of the season for us, El Centro is the winter home to the Navy’s Blue Angels and a big supporter of the Wing.

We are thrilled to be back to El Centro for 2017 and arrived in style, bringing the F6F Hellcat, F8F Bearcat, B25-PBJ, A6M3 Zero and the YAK3, jus to name a few of the warbirds representing CAFSoCal.

A few images from the show with our aircraft and the Blue Angels:

As a bonus, this year’s event included a photo session with a Blue Angels F18 and our Hellcat and Bearcat. This image represents 71 years of Blue Angel’s history, with the F6F Hellcat having been the Blue’s first mount in 1946 before they quickly transitioned to the F8F Bearcat, their last prop driven aircraft. Below are a few images captured by our own Russ Babbitt who was aboard the PBJ for the flight:

The appearance of the Zero represents days of hard work by a dedicated ground crew, installing an overhauled engine in time for the show. We were lucky to have Frank Mormillo present at the show who shared the following images with us showing the Zero along with the P51 from Palm Springs:

Truly and exceptional airshow for us in 2017!

 

 

Airshow Time!

Most of our aircraft will be departing Camarillo today, Thursday March 9th for the airshow at El Centro Naval Facility this weekend and will not return until after the airshow in Yuma on the weekend of March 17th.

The museum will still remain open with normal operating hours. Your visit will allow you to see the exhibits and any of the aircraft undergoing maintenance, such as the P51 Mustang, the SNJ4 “Bluebird” and the Navion and C46 Commando.

No Zero Troubles!

Happy to report the Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero is back in flying condition and at home in the CAF hangars in preparation for departure to El Centro Airshow later this week.

IMG_5325

As you can see, we worked late into the night to get the job done, and enjoyed a well deserved high speed flyby as the Zero was flown home the next day.