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Annual Air Show Takes Wing for Crowd of 12,000

The 17th annual Camarillo Air Show ended on a high note Sunday with more than 12,000 people coming out to enjoy everything from airplane tours to flying demonstrations.

Organized by the Experimental Aircraft Assn., with help from the Southern California Wing of the Confederate Air Force, the two-day event drew more than 25,000 people.

In addition to getting personal tours of such legendary aircraft as the C-130 Hercules and the B-25 bomber, event participants stared into a cloudless sky for hours to watch planes like the P-51 Mustang thunder across the sky.

“I admit that I’ve never been an airplane buff or even liked to fly that much, but this was a lot of fun,” said 32-year-old Camarillo resident Julie Dumphy. “Up in the sky planes always looked like planes, but up close they’re a lot more interesting and a lot bigger.”

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During the two-hour flying demonstration, a pair of high-speed P-51s took to the air and flew less than 70 feet off the tarmac and then pulled up into steep vertical climbs until they disappeared into the blue sky. Then they would repeated the maneuver, with the pilots sometimes wagging their wings to the crowd.

Some spectators took the opportunity to get a close look at the dozens of vintage planes like the stout TBM-36 Avenger with retractable wings or the two-engine B-25 bomber with its menacing battery of guns.

“From the front it looks like an angry hawk,” said Mary Welles to her son, David, pointing toward the silver B-25. “Kind of scary isn’t it.”

In addition to the planes, visitors browsed among tables packed with airplane mementos like bomber-group patches, brass pins shaped like planes and photographs of aircraft in action.

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There was also an airplane parts sale that featured everything from altimeters and polished wood propellers to airplane bodies.

Despite thick clouds that cast a pall over the event Saturday, organizers said it ended up being one of their more successful air shows.

“The people have just been great,” said Pat Brown of the Confederate Air Force. “They’ve been really enthusiastic and they’ve made this year’s show one of the best we’ve had.”


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