The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Aviation up close at Minter Field


April 18, 2019 | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Members of the Kern County Museum tour the hangar.

The Minter Field Air Museum has been putting the history of Shafter aviation on display for decades, and the facility keeps growing bigger and better.

The facility houses an amazing collection of artifacts and photographs of the men and women who were stationed at the base, in addition to the history of other regiments across Kern County.

Museum Chierman Ronald Pierce says that the museum tries to keep adding to the collection, making it a new experience every time they visit.

"A lot of people think that since they visited the museum a few years ago, it doesn't deem a new visit. But we have added so many aircraft, artifacts, vehicles and photos that there is a lot of stuff that they haven't seen yet."

The museum is one of the few facilities in the nation that has a working Link Trainer. This machine recreates the experience of flying a plane and was used on the base decades ago when training newbie pilots. They also have attractions that they take to various events throughout Kern County, including parades and the Kern County Raceway. The bright yellow "Follow Me" jeep is instantly recognizable as is the ever popular LOACH helicopter. The copter attracts hundreds of people interested in sitting in the cockpit as well as getting their picture taken with it.

Some groups are regular visitors to the museum. Recently, the Kern County Museum and the Model A Club of Bakersfield toured the facility.

Jamie Stewart | the Shafter Press

The Model A Club of Bakersfield brought their classics out to the museum.

"They had a great time looking at the artifacts and uniforms on display. The older members remembered a lot of the stuff that was there, giving them a great memory and a walk back in time," Pierce said.

The museum is open every Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tours can also be arranged groups, schools and clubs. They will also have a presence at the Kern County Fair, with the yellow jeep, helicopter, uniforms and many other items on display. Last year, they averaged over 500 people a day getting their picture taken with the LOACH.

The museums next major activity is second annual Wings and Wheels event in November. This event features a fly-in, a car show, dancing, a barbecue and many other activites. There also will be a display of memorabilia from James Dean's hometown that is brought in just for the event.


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