Paul Dunn's 2009 blogGAR Entries

MAY 30 2010
A SoCal Roadtrip

It’s occurred to me that it’s been some time since I updated my blog, so this is a convenient time for me to catch up on a few recent aviation goings on. However, I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to everyone who sent their good wishes to Rachel and I on the occasion of our marriage recently. I’d also like to particularly thank our esteemed editor Karl, who did a superb job of being our “unofficial photographer” during the day – I think it’s fair to say his talents stretch far beyond aviation photography!

My last trip before the wedding was a weekend slip in Los Angeles. I always look forward to these west coast US trips – there’s simply so much interesting aviation going on in the region that I always find something interesting to keep me occupied. After an early start on Saturday morning, my first destination was Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation airfields in the US. As it was a Saturday morning, there was plenty of light aircraft movements, but little else. After a half hour or so, I decided to move on.

From Van Nuys, it was on to Camarillo Airport in the Simi Valley region to the north of Los Angeles. Camarillo is the location of the World War II Aviation Museum, part of the aircraft collection of the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. Home to an interesting collection of aircraft, there was much work going on during my visit, with many of the airworthy aircraft being stripped down for maintenance.

Amongst the highlights of the collection are the airworthy C-46 Commando “China Doll” and a very rare Yak-3, which is sadly not flyable. The Yak is one of only two survivors, with the only other example of this Russian fighter being apparently on display at the Musee de l’Air at Le Bourget. There is also an airworthy Mitsubishi Zero in the collection, but this was on its way home from display at Warbirds Over Wanaka so sadly wasn’t present during my visit.

Next to the museum are several aircraft owned by a group called the American Aeronautical Foundation. These include a B-25 Mitchell and a former Israeli Air Force C-47 Dakota, both of which are under restoration to flying condition. Far more unusual is a Percival Prentice, which is currently up for sale – hopefully a buyer will want to restore this classic British trainer.

Having had an enjoyable morning at this busy airfield, I headed back towards Van Nuys, intending to pay a quick visit to the Los Angeles City Fire Department, who are based there. The Fire Department operate Bell 412 helicopters alongside brand new Agusta Westland AW139s, and I hope that we will be able to bring you a full report on their operations soon.

Heading back from Van Nuys towards Long Beach, I made a brief stop at Santa Monica, to shoot the DC-3 memorial there – Santa Monica was the home of Douglas and the main production line for the DC-3/C-47 and this is commemorated by a very smartly displayed Dakota.

From there, I made a brief stop at LAX, but found that the afternoon sun was directly down the runway, so not ideal for photography. Disappointed I decided to head back towards the hotel at Long Beach. On a whim I thought I’d give Long Beach International a try, as I’d heard about an evening spot which was good for photography, and the late afternoon sunlight was getting towards perfect.

Expecting to see a stream of JetBlue A320s and not much else, I was more than a little surprised to see a B-24 Liberator holding short of the runway! I was delighted to discover that the Collings Foundation “Wings of Freedom” Tour was in town for the weekend, bringing not just the B-24 but also their B-17 and TP-51C!

Thanks to a fortuitous meeting with their local media representative Greg Bishop, I was able to spend the following day on the ramp with the Foundation’s aircraft and a full report on the tour should hit GAR very shortly; for the moment here are a couple of images of the bombers, plus some of the other aircraft that passed in front of my lens at Long Beach during the two days – plus a gratuitous shot of me with B-24 pilot Jayson Owens in the pilot’s seat of the Liberator! Nice!

GAR wants to interact with its readers so if you have a question for the author or a comment to make on this feature, please click on the button below. The best comments will appear right here on GAR.

Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /var/sites/g/globalaviationresource.com/public_html/comments/displaycomments.php on line 8

2010-05-30 - Greg Bishop
Great having you at the Wings of Freedom tour in Long Beach, Paul. I'll try to keep you posted on any activities that might be of interest to you! It was a pleasure meeting you and your fellow pilots. Excellent article, happy to subscribe! Cheers, Greg Bishop

Global Aviation Resource's photographic and written work is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without express written permission.

If you would like to discuss using any of our imagery or feature content please contact us.