California Aeronautical University (CAU) returned to Ventura County to pay tribute and honor aviation at the Wings Over Camarillo airshow this year.
As in years past, the University teamed up with crowd-thrilling aerobatic pilot Vicky Benzing and brought the CAU Mobile Flight Experience to inspire youth about the excitement of aviation. CAU also brought a special military tribute aircraft to the airshow this year.
To honor our fallen military service members, the tribute aircraft is a Beechcraft Baron B55 with a patriotic paint job specifically designed to reflect the colors of and pay respect to the United States flag. The special design also contains the names of all military personnel who have given their lives in defense of our country since the 9/11 terrorist attack - over 7,500 names.
The names are arranged on the Baron by chronological order of the fallen hero's death using their last name, first name and middle initial. Blank spaces have been reserved on the aircraft for periodic updates.
"I was hesitant to look but was so glad I did," said one attendee. "I found the names of two of my friends I served with and was able to send a picture of their names to their parents."
Guests of Wings Over Camarillo observed the memorial aircraft on display, which also included a catalog and accompanying map of where each name is located on the aircraft.
"You never quite know what affect it will have on someone as they look for the name of their friend or family member," said Tamu Smith-Kohls, VP of Enrollment and Marketing for CAU. "I am a veteran myself and seeing the names so carefully and respectfully detailed on the aircraft bring up so many heartfelt emotions."
The CAU tribute aircraft will take flight as often as possible to give those all over the United States an opportunity to honor their veteran loved one in a special way. CAU is working diligently to have current names of those who gave their lives displayed on the aircraft.
About California Aeronautical University
California Aeronautical University prepares students for exciting careers in aviation. The University offers aviation-related training and degree programs from its unparalleled purpose-built flight training facility at Bakersfield International Airport and its two flight training centers, in Ventura County at the Oxnard Airport (KOXR) and San Diego County at the Montgomery Field Airport (KMYF). Working diligently to expand its reach, the University now offers a helicopter emphasis at its new campus at Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ) in Mesa, Arizona. The University has developed career opportunities for its graduates with airline and aviation partners across the nation. For information, visit www.calaero.edu or call (661) 615-5915.