Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Camarillo Connie

While we were in California for the wedding, Connie and I made a quick run up to Santa Barbara (before the fires started!) to see our son, Travis. We took the scenic route on US 1, through Santa Monica and Malibu and past Point Dume and Point Mugu. Highly recommended - I swear the water turns a different shade of blue once you round Pt. Dume. Also you get to drive past Naval Air Station Point Mugu, and you never know what you'll see coming in or out of there. A few years ago I saw an Israeli Kfir (in US livery) coming in to land here.

We stopped for lunch in Camarillo, which is where we turned back inland to pick up US 101. Looking across the fence into the Camarillo Airport I saw this well-kept C-121 Lockheed Constellation. You can click on the picture to enlarge it. That appears to be a black radome undernearth the plane which would officially make this an EC-121, I suppose. Like many others who remember this plane from their youth, I've always liked its distinctive triple-tail and graceful lines. Connie was intrigued to learn that Constellations have always been affectionately known as "Connies".

Also saw this sadly neglected Convair CV340/440 parked at the end of the runway. These pressurized, tricycle landing gear planes have never felt the love that the aviation world has for the unpressurized Douglas C-47/DC-3 tail-draggers they were built to replace.

If you look closely, you'll see some new cars shrink-wrapped in white plastic parked behind the Convair. They are part of a large collection running out of the field of the photo. Apparently new car sales are so slow now that many of the cars coming off the boat from Japan or Korea are being parked and preserved like this.


Chas S. Clifton said...

I think Frontier Airlines had some of the Convairs in the 1960s. I seem to recall riding in one as a little kid from Denver to Rapid City.

hcmtx said...

I recall that the USAF provided a ride for me from Long Island, NY to Gander, Newfondland, to Shannon,Ireland then to Frankfort, Germany on a Connie. Longest leg was Gander to Shannon, 21 hours. That was a long ride and the first time I ever flew. HCMTX

Reid Farmer said...

Chas - I imagine they did. In 1959 my grandmother and I flew in a Frontier DC-3 from Denver to Worland, WY (with stops in Cheyenne and Casper) for my cousin's wedding when I was 6. We had also flown DC-3s on Trans Texas Airways to get from Memphis to Denver, with stops in Little Rock, Oky City, and Amarillo. The airlines didn't have the whole hub and spoke thing figured out yet.

Those were my first flights and I vividly remember having to walk "uphill" to get to my seat. They always gave you gum to chew to help clear the pressure in your ears after take off.

Back then if you asked, stewardesses would take little kids up to the cockpit to talk to the pilot. I remember asking the Frontier captain to show me where the radar was. He gave me an embarrassed look and said, "Well, if we HAD one, it would be right HERE."

Anonymous said...

One of the shrink-wrapped cars appears to be a BMW. It's the one right behind the landing gear. So it's probably not just Japanese and Korean cars that aren't selling - now it's even upscale European cars.