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 airplane.

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

Mignet Pou Du Ciel, or Flying Flea
With the kids to show the scale of the airplane. It's tiny!

Mignet Pou Du Ciel, or Flying Flea cockpit
The cockpit is very spartan. The design was simple and easy to operate.

Mignet Pou Du Ciel, or Flying Flea
The front and rear wings are similar in size.

Mignet Pou Du Ciel, or Flying Flea
The sign telling a bit of it's history.

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.

Boeing PT-17 Stearman
Stearman side view. This beautiful example has the larger Jacobs engine.

Boeing Stearman PT-17 Jacobs engine closeup
Close up of the engine on the PT-17.

Jacobs engine data plate
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
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.

One of the hangars at Santa Paula
This hangar had 2 aircraft, lots of models hanging from the ceiling and work space.
Awesome hangar tile floor
This was an impressive tile floor in the hangar.

Flase store front in hangar
The decorating done in this hangar was very impressive. There was a lot of neat aviation articles as well as some impressive facades.

One of the non-aviation toys
This hangar had a few cars and motorcycles in addition to aircraft.

Custom Pick up truck
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.

DeHavilland Tiger Moth under construction
Gypsy Moth under wing fit construction. The artistry and craftmanship that goes into these old aircraft is quite something to see.

Finished Tiger Moth
This is what the aircraft above will look like when completed. This is a Gypsy Moth.

DeHavilland Tiger 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.

Harvard nose art
Nose art on the Harvard.

RCAF 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 catch flying.

Pitts Special owned by CP Aviation.
Pitts biplane owned by CP Aviation, a local flight school at Santa Paula

Bellanca Super Viking
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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