Western View: Family Vacation

Taylor Hillman Features, Western View

Farmers are busy people, and like all busy people, ever so often they need to take a break. A day spent doing something entirely different from your day job is a break worth taking, one that refreshes your mind and lets you remember why you do what you do.

Western View: Visit Castle

This spring and summer we’re going to look at a few places close enough to home for even a busy farmer to visit and enjoy, without taking too much time away from work.

A place I personally recommend is Castle Air Museum. It’s located in Atwater, just north of Merced, which is pretty much the center of the central valley. The museum houses more than 70 aircraft, with everything from an SR-71 to a MASH helicopter on display.

The airplanes are set out on a sprawling field, all part of the former Castle Air Force Base. Back in the day, Castle was a vital Strategic Air Command training base, home to the venerable B-52 bomber which has been in continuous service ever since 1954 – more than 6 decades.

One of the most popular planes at the Museum is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. the SR71 still holds speed and altitude records, and is one of the most unusual aircraft ever built. But there is so much more to see: World War 2 fighters and bombers, the first jet fighters built in the 1950s, target drones, a KC-135 stratotanker – and an early atomic bomb casing.

But the top plane on the base once was known by the most famous radio call sign in the world: Air Force One. This VC-9C Presidential Aircraft served the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Both Bushes, and Clinton.

A visit to Castle is a visit to history. We see the progression of flight from single-passenger propeller driven planes to supersonic jets able to deliver incredible payloads within hours halfway around the world. It’s the story of the last century’s progress.

Castle Air Museum is open 7 days a week but is closed some holidays. Check their website for discounts and deals.

I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.