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 Wednesday and Thursday, May 29 and 30, 2019. It is a one-day camp starting at 7:30am and ending at 6:10pm. Gather at the WWII Memorial in front of the Stockton Airport terminal on the day for which you registered (or both days if you registered for both). Trainees must arrange travel to Stockton Airport and be fed and ready for transport at 7:30am. 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.)
Besides induction and orientation, morning includes aerial gunnery and bombardier training classes. 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 flex (nose, waist) machine guns, and how to aim them by leading your target and compensating for range.
2020 Update: In light of recent events, The B-17 will not be available for this experience this 2020 Bomber Camp. However, the B-24 Liberator will still be available for flying.
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 7-person bomber crew assigned during induction. A mission consists of flights of both the B17, B24 and other planes 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.
Bombers and escort planes 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.
Optional mission escort, flying instruction, and Torpedo Camp™ flights go beyond the basic Bomber Camp™ experience. In addition to your own mission, an escort flight offers you a unique vantage point to observe the action unfold over the target area. You will accompany another bombing mission from the cockpit of a P51 Mustang, AT-6 Texan or BT-13 as the heavy bombers fire machine guns and drop their bomb loads on the target. You may even get some “stick” time. Flights are limited. Choice of day and plane are on a first come first served basis.
Instruction flights offer you the opportunity to fly these great WWII aircraft yourself. Try out the B-17G, B-25J, P-51D, AT-6, BT-13 or PV-2 with a certified flight instructor. Under the supervision of your instructor you can test your skills in one or more of these famous aircraft from WWII. Flights can be booked for 1/2 hour, 1 hour, or longer (Contact Us). Flights will be conducted in daylight at our discretion sometime during your chosen day. Flights are limited. Choice of day and plane are on a first come first served basis.
Torpedo Camp™ is held Friday May 31, just after Bomber Camp™. It is a 1/2 day camp held morning and afternoon focusing on the Stockton Field Aviation Museum's fully restored 1945 Lockheed PV-2D Harpoon patrol bomber. Gather at the WWII Memorial in front of the Stockton Airport terminal. Attendees must arrange travel to Stockton Airport and be fed and ready for transport at 10:00am (morning camp) or 3:00pm (afternoon camp). Daytime parking at the airport is free. You will be returned to this spot when your flight is done.
Camp starts with the history of the plane and its operation in the Pacific Theater, followed by an in-depth tour of the crew stations and explanation of its equipment, concluding with a unique aerial tour of current and former Naval facilities in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The flight culminates with passes around San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge which, for the afternoon flight, will occur in the warm glow of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean. Flights are limited. Choice of time is on a first come first served basis.
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 one-day and two-day choices where you fly your mission with a crew of up to 7 people of your choosing. Unlike regular mission flights, which require a full plane to fly and your choice of plane cannot be guaranteed, full crew mission flights assure your choice of plane and crew. Flights are limited. Choice of day and plane are on a first come first served basis.
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.