Wings Over Camarillo: “Celebrating Women in Aviation”

Wings Over Camarillo, the leading air show on California’s Central Coast, returns Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21. Now in its 41st year, this highly entertaining and educational summer tradition features exciting flyovers, aerial pyrotechnics, vintage aircraft displays, a car show, a STEM Pavilion with hands-on opportunities and robotics demonstrations for kids of all ages—and so much more. Between the showcase of legendary military aircraft that made history in foreign wars, the 82nd Airborne Division’s 505th Reenactment Camp, and a dedicated Veterans Tent, Wings Over Camarillo is an equally big draw for history buffs. The action-packed weekend even gives attendees the chance to get up in the air through thrilling helicopter and warbird rides.

Notably, this year’s theme, “Celebrating Women in Aviation,” shines the spotlight on the remarkable contributions and accomplishments of female pilots and aviation trailblazers throughout history. Despite the many obstacles and hurdles presented by society and the aviation industry on their path to the cockpit, women have transformed avionics and paved the way for the many women in aviation today. Those fascinating female narratives are at the heart of the “Notable Women in Aviation” exhibit that will debut at Wings Over Camarillo, and remain permanently on display in the Commemorative Air Force Hangar. Don’t miss the inspiring story of Bessie Coleman, an American pilot and the first Black woman to gain a pilot’s license. And learn about modern day pioneers like the dynamic duo of Samantha Fisher and Tammy Rose, a female fight crew who’ve made their mark covering Houston traffic and news on weekdays from the ABC13 chopper.

Two incredible female flyers, Judy Phelps and Vicky Benzing, will be among the pilots showing off their impressive skills live during the daily air shows. A California native, Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, and aerobatic competitor with over 6,000 hours of flight time and more than 1,100 parachutejumps in her 30-year flying career. She learned aerobatics from one of the best—the legendary pilot Amelia Reid—and she holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters and seaplanes. Phelps is equally accomplished, with several awards and accolades to her name and more than 7,000 hours of flight time. Her career in aviation began in 1994 when she met and married Clay Phelps, the CP of CP Aviation, a flight school in nearby Santa Paula. Today, she is a Master Certified Flight Instructor who specializes in tailwheel, spins, emergency maneuver training, and aerobatics.

The action in the sky Phelps, Benzing, and other talented pilots will play a role in includes flight formations, pyrotechnics, water drops, and parachuting. On the ground level, some of the aircraft that will be on display include the United State Air Force’s go-to support aircraft, Thunderbolt II – USAF/ANG; the longest continually produced military aircraft, a Lockheed C-130J Hercules; and a twin-engine supersonic all-weather carrier that can reach speeds of up to Mach 1.8, an F/A-18. Every day at 1:30 p.m., a classic car and motorcycle parade will also draw attention groundward. And be on the lookout for this year’s local female aviators set to lead the event as Grand Marshals: CDR Colette Lazenka is the commanding officer of the VX-30 Bloodhounds unit at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, the first female appointed to this role; along with Martha Phillips, past President of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots, a 6,000+ member organization founded in 1929 with Amelia Earhart as its first President.

Food and beverage will be sold throughout the day from a variety of vendors in the Food Court. In the morning, follow your nose to the Pancake Breakfast for giant hot cakes, sausages, and coffee. The pancakes are so popular, they usually run out by 11:00 a.m. so arriving early is recommended!

Read our 10 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss Wings Over Camarillo blog for more event details.

Planning Tips

Are you ready to make plans and lock in pre-paid savings?! This family-friendly event offers general admission with advanced purchase ticket prices ranging from $10 for youth, $20 for military, and $30 for 17+. Kids 5 and under are free. The General Viewing area is located on the East Ramp and you’re welcome to bring blankets and chairs to make yourselves comfortable. Due to the afternoon winds and blast caused by some aircraft, personal umbrellas and shade coverings are not permitted in the General Viewing area.

You can upgrade to the VIP Chalet experience for added perks and comforts. Adult VIP entrance costs $150 Saturday and $130 Sunday, with youth tickets (ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult) going for $80. That ticket price includes access to a premium shaded seating area right on the flight line with a prime view of the airshow and car parade. Plus, VIP Chalet tickets include VIP parking, access to executive washrooms, and a BBQ lunch. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet some of the airshow performers!

No matter where you sit, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are highly recommended given the outdoor environment and our reliably strong summer sun. 

If you’re interested in getting a birds’ eye view of Camarillo on a helicopter or warbird flight, you can pre-book to reserve your flight time. If you get the whim to get up in the air while onsite, a limited number of seats will be available on a first come, first served basis. Helicopter flights are $70 per person through Orbic Helicopters; all ages are welcome. CAF Southern California WWII Aviation Museum is offering warbird rides on a B-25 Bomber ($395-$595) as well as a North American SNJ-5 Texan ($495-$1,075 based on flight duration). Warbird flights are for ages 12 and up. Learn more about what to expect on the different types of rides here.

Gates open at 9:00 a.m. daily, airshows begin at noon, and the car show parade takes place at 1:30 p.m.
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