The first sunday of every
month, Santa Paula airport opens their museum hangars to the public to
explore the history and character of the airport. You can walk from
hangar to hangar, or take a free "shuttle" from one hangar to the next.
Depending on the month, you may have additional things happening, like
vintage car clubs displaying their cars or aircraft from other airports
coming in to visit. There are plenty of interesting and history
aircraft at the airport even if no other aircraft come from other
places. Many of the local hangar owners also open their hangars to
speak with the people interested in aviation. The Young Eagles program
often run on the firts sunday as well, giving young people an
opportunity to learn more about flying and to get a free ride in an
There weren't as many
hangars open this time as I have seen in previous events, but it was a
holiday weekend (Labor Day). I took my children, ages 5 and 10 with me.
Between the airplanes, cars and airport dogs, they had a blast and look
forward to going again.
The first airplane we
looked at was a Mignet Pou Du Ciel, or Flying Flea. This tiny little
aircraft featured folding wings and was compact enough to hide in a
barn. The sign tells you a bit about the aircraft
With the kids to show the scale of the
airplane. It's tiny!
The cockpit is very spartan.
The design was simple and easy to operate.
The front and rear wings are
similar in size.
The sign telling a bit of it's
One of my favorite
aircraft, the Boeing Stearman was also on display. There are a few of
them at Santa Paula. This one is a PT-17 built in 1942.
Stearman side view. This beautiful
example has the larger Jacobs engine.
Close up of the engine on the
Data plate for the Jacobs
engine on the PT-17.
This is one of the Ryan
PT-22 Recruits at Santa Paula. Another primary trainer of young pilots
in WWII, it features a 5 cylinder radial engine.
Ryan PT-22 Recruit staged for flying. He
later took off to places unknown.
Most people think of
hangars as like a garage, except you store an airplane instead of a
car. Some of the hangars have been decorated and built out to be as
nice as a home (in some cases, even nicer!). These are some examples of
some nice "man caves", although I know that flying and aviation are far
from a male only activity. Some of the "toys" in these hangars looked
like fun as well.
hangar had 2 aircraft, lots of models hanging from the ceiling and work
This was an impressive tile floor
in the hangar.
The decorating done in this hangar
was very impressive. There was a lot of neat aviation articles as well
as some impressive facades.
This hangar had a few cars and motorcycles
in addition to aircraft.
This pickup truck was parked along the
hangar rows. Quite a custom rig!
One of the museum hangars
features a couple of beautifully restored DeHavilland biplanes.
Additionally, there is another under restoration. They were fitting the
wings and making adjustments.
Gypsy Moth under wing fit construction.
The artistry and craftmanship that goes into these old aircraft is
quite something to see.
This is what the aircraft above will look
like when completed. This is a Gypsy Moth.
Tiger Moth outside of the museum hangar.
In keeping with the
British Commonwealth theme, this aircraft, known in the US as the
T-6/SNJ Texan, was called the Harvard to the British and their
Commonwealth nations. This one is in the colors of the Royal Canadian
Air Force. This one is a Mk. IV Harvard made by the Canadian Car and
Foundry company in 1952.
Nose art on the Harvard.
Canadian made and marked. This is a nice
example of a CC&F Harvard Mk. IV
There were several
aircraft that flew on Sunday. The Young Eagles flights were active
taking young people up for rides, as well as pilots training and people
out for a little fun. Here are some of the aircraft that I was able to
Pitts biplane owned by CP Aviation, a
local flight school at Santa Paula
Bellanca Super Viking taking off.
North American Navion taking off on a Young Eagles Flight.
Citabria taking off. This is a great aerobatic trainer.
Another shot of the Citabria.
I have been to Santa Paula
many times for the first Sunday event, and each time it has been
different as far as what I see. But each time has also been a fun
experience, meeting and chatting with friendly people sharing the love
of aviation. It's a family friendly place to spend a few hours with
your kids too. The really cool thing is that it is free!
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