WWII Planes on Display at Airport Show

Visitors to the Camarillo Airport this weekend can sit inside the cockpit of a C-46 plane, touch the wings of an F8F Bearcat or look inside the fuselage of a Japanese Zero, all part of a display at the Confederate Air Force museum.

"It brings back memories," said Ted Wichman of Ojai, who served in the Navy during World War II and toured the planes Saturday.

As museum director Dave Long explained that the Japanese Zeros were fighter planes, Wichman recalled his days working on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday was not the first time he had seen a Japanese Zero.

"We used to cheer when we'd shoot these," Wichman said, explaining that the Zeros would try to attack American ships.

The a C-46 was designed to transport equipment and wounded soldiers to and from the U.S. Three Jeeps can fit inside the jumbo craft.

"It wasn't meant to be pretty," Long said.

Although the plane was built more than 50 years ago, it can still fly and makes regular trips to air shows around the country.

"The unique thing about the Confederate Air Force is these things still fly," Long said.

A shared love of aviation brought 12-year-old William Young and his dad, David Young, of Ventura to the free exhibition. The two checked out the F8F Bearcat, designed to take on Japanese kamikazes.

"I think it's really cool to have all these planes out here," William said.

Along with the handful of aircraft on display, a small indoor exhibit of artifacts from the war can be viewed. Ration booklets, radios and canned military foods are among the items.

"These kinds of things are one of a kind," Long said.

The museum, on the airport grounds, will be open today and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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