RE-LIVE THE PAST
Mustering with your fellow recruits in the cool morning air at present day Stockton Metropolitan Airport, you will be met by base personnel and transported back in time to 1944, as a cadet at the Stockton Field Air Corps Advanced Flying School. There you will experience sights, sounds and smells that few others have known. Come and join us for a truly unique adventure.
Bomber Camp™ is held Thursday and Friday, May 4th and 5th, 2023. It is a one-day camp starting at 0730 and ending at 1800. Gather at the WWII Memorial in front of the Stockton Airport terminal on the day for which you registered. Trainees must arrange travel to Stockton Airport and be fed and ready for transport at 0730. Daytime parking at the airport is free. You will be returned to this spot in the evening when camp is done.
Summers in Stockton are generally sunny and hot. Bring sunscreen and arrive in comfortable clothes and shoes. Military coveralls, cap, and canteen will be issued during morning induction. We encourage you to bring period correct sunglasses, footwear and accessories, as well as period civilian clothes for relaxing at the officer’s club after your mission. (We can offer suggestions and links.)
Induction and orientation, followed by classes aerial gunnery, and bombardier training, navigation and radio. Gunnery class introduces you to various weapons familiar to and used by aircrews, especially the famous Browning 50 caliber machine gun. Also includes instruction on how to operate turret and flexible machine guns, and how to aim them by leading your target and compensating for range.
TURRETS, BOMBS & MACHINE GUNS!
Bombardier class introduces you to the "bombing problem", which involves understanding how altitude, ground speed and cross wind affect when and where to release your bombs to accurately hit the target. You will learn the controls for and operation of the top secret Norden and Sperry bombsights, and will be able to practice using a one of a kind bombsight trainer just like that used by fledgling students during WWII.
The afternoon includes mission flights and various ground activities. You will train and fly as a member of a 8-person bomber crew assigned during induction. A mission consists of flights of the B17 flying over the target area, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains as backdrop. As a crew you will take up positions in the bomber and rotate through them during flight. Before and after your mission you will participate in ground training activities, including firefighting, radio operation, survival, and ball turret training.
The B-17 will depart promptly at mission H-hour. Prior to flight you can observe ground operations up close as the field comes alive readying the planes for battle just like in WWII. During flight, when permission is given, crews can explore their aircraft, fire real blank-firing 50 cal. machine guns from the waist position, fire simulated gas-firing machine guns from other crew positions, ride in the ball turret (requires prior ground training), and help to release dummy bombs on the target using the Norden bombsight.
After the missions are complete and all planes have returned home safely there will be a mission debrief, reviewing the success -- or failure -- of each mission flight and its crew. Afterwards everyone will retire to the officer's club for some well-deserved R&R, with snacks, refreshments, music and lots of stories from the crews and cadre about their derring-do. The evening ends with a toast to the efforts of the greatest generation, and especially to those who sacrificed everything.
FULL CREW FLIGHTS
In past years families and groups have requested to fly a mission as a full crew. Full crew flights are also ideal for businesses, as an employee perk or team building exercise. We offer a one-day flight with a discount, where you fly your mission with a crew of up to 8 people of your choosing. Flights are limited. Choice of which day are on a first come first served basis. Unless you book early, this option may not be available.
MAKE IT A VACATION
Bomber Camp is conveniently located in the Central Valley of Northern California. Only 80 miles or less to San Francisco and the Bay Area, 20 miles to the Lodi wine region, 60 miles to the Castle Air Museum, 50 miles to the California Gold Country and the Plymouth wine region, 100 miles to Yosemite, and 150 miles to Lake Tahoe. There are lots of places to see and shop in the surrounding area to make Bomber Camp a part of your Summer vacation for family and friends.