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Happy 33rd Anniversary to the CAF Southern California Wing

by Pat Brown, Public Information Officer

February 21, 2020, Camarillo, California - In the spring of 1981, the CAF Southern California Wing was formed in the greater Los Angeles area by a small group of CAF members, who gathered together with a dream.

Most of us didn’t know each other before we started – but we quickly found we had the same dream and a real “can-do” attitude. The C-46 Commando was available in Texas, but it needed two new engines. If we could get the engines and fly it out, it would be the Wing’s first aircraft.

A supporter stepped up with the funds, and a crew was put together to go and get the Commando. The crew of aircraft mechanics worked almost every weekend during the summer of 1981 in hot and muggy Conroe, Texas – to procure the new engines and then hang them on the airplane and bring it to Camarillo.

With the C-46 we could haul our members to airshows, sell merchandise, give tours, and raise some money. For many years the C-46 fulfilled that chore – until the price of fuel became a problem we could not control.

There are only eleven members of the Wing today who were members in the spring of 1983. Many of the early members have passed away, but those of us who remember have lots of funny stories to tell, and many great memories to cherish.

The talent among the members is amazing, but the “can-do” attitude has been one of the major attributes that kept us all going. We have received many awards from CAF Headquarters for our major successes.

Over the years, our aircraft have been featured in many aviation publications, including: calendars, books and magazines. Our aircraft have been used in movies and TV commercials. We have been up and down the Western States to airshows many times

The Southern California Wing has more flying aircraft than most of the CAF units and are one of the most active units in aircraft restoration and maintenance. We were one of the first units in the CAF organization to start a Cadet Program, with Steve Barber Jr. – when he was a teenager. The members of the Southern California Wing – CAF should all be very proud of what we have accomplished over the years – and all with 100% volunteers!

If you are interested in joining the Southern California Museum or want to learn more about this location visit their website at https://www.cafsocal.com/.

*This article was originally published in the SoCal Newsletter. It has been edited for this website. *

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