Last weekend’s event drew car enthusiasts from all over California
PASO ROBLES — Last weekend’s heat was no match for aviation and car enthusiasts who joined the Estrella Warbirds Museum for its 14th Annual Warbirds, Wings, and Wheels fundraising event and swap meet on Saturday, May 13.
The event consisted of a popular car show, dance, and swap meet, drawing people from all over California. Also, the Estrella Warbirds Museum has a display of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia, and the Woodland Auto Display showed its collection of racing, vintage, classic, and historic vehicles.
The Friday before the swap meet, Warbird’s hosted a Kick-Off Friday Nite Dinner and Dance. It was followed by hundreds visiting the museum for live music, beer, and food vendors for all to enjoy.
Off in one hangar, museum volunteers Brad Eaton and Mary Allmon introduced visitors to the Youth Aviation Group. The relatively new program introduces middle school and high school students in North County to aviation and all its opportunities.
“Want the kids to see that there are a lot of options in aviation,” said Allmon.
Open to all students, they meet once a week on Saturday at the museum grounds in a dedicated hangar. Students are introduced to a new aviation concept at the beginning of each meeting. Following the presentation, students get hands-on experience working on airplanes or volunteering around the museum. On average, there are about 12 students at the museum for the program. Allam adds that they are flexible and understanding as some students will leave for a sport season and then come back to the aviation program.
“I never had that presented to me when I was young … I was more guided in a limited way,” says Allmon when referring to the different opportunities presented to the students.
Not only do the students learn the aviation industry on and off the ground, but Allmon hopes they learn life skills and how to give back to the community through volunteer work. During Wings and Wheels, many of the youth aviation program students worked the event in various aspects, giving them a chance to learn new people skills.
To Eaton, the program is important for helping the youth turn into productive kids and if all works right, into aviation industry leaders like some of their alumni. Five of his previous students in the program have gone on to receive their private pilot’s license before graduating from high school. In his own right, Eaton is looked up to as a leader in the aviation community.
Eaton served in the U.S. Air Force and then for the Flying Tigers Air Freight, which later merged with FedEx. During that career, he served as a line captain, check airman, and standards manager. He now dedicates his time as a flight instructor and flying his fully restored 1942 Stearman biplane.
Some of the opportunities offered in the program are:
- FA/18 Flight Simulator
- Plane Captain Program
- $1,200 Scholarship Opportunity
- Community Service Hours
The 15th Annual Warbirds, Wings and Wheels Car Show and Swap Meet is scheduled for Saturday, May 11, 2024. Learn more about next year’s show and the Estrella Warbird Museum at ewarbirds.org/www15/index.shtml