In August of 2013, The Ventura County 99s (VC99s) approached the Ventura County Department of Airports about a concept for an aviation playground at the west end of Camarillo Airport. During the conversations, the Airport Manager mentioned partnering with the Waypoint Café owner who was in the process of designing an outside patio expansion and security fencing. Through multiple meetings and design layouts on napkins and scratch pads, it was determined that a viewing and picnic area would be the quickest way to develop an area where visitors could be educated about aviation while enjoying the food and view from the Cafe. By partnering with the Waypoint Café, the VC99s were able to leverage the construction expertise of the Waypoint owner and materialize the concept.
A diagram of a miniature replica of runways 8/26, control tower with continual broadcast of ground and tower frequencies, windsock, viewing benches, and picnic area was presented to the Department of Airports. Funding for the security fencing, control tower, landscaping and Waypoint Café waiting area would be provided by the Waypoint Café. The raising of funds to complete the runway, picnic viewing area, benches, picnic tables, and storyboards about the airport lay rest with the VC99s. On December 8, 2013, the project officially launched and The Viewport was born.
Fundraising efforts immediately went underway. These efforts included the selling of named bricks, benches, and picnic tables along with donations from the VC99s, the Southern Commemorative Air Force Museum, and the Local EAA chapter. The project also solicited a local graphic designer to create storyboards, the brick layers union to layout the bricks, the local charter school to design and manufacture the storyboard posts, a local electrician design the lighting and tower radios, and a local landscape company to design the custom benches and tables. On June 27th, 2014, The Viewport officially opened to the public.
The success of The Viewport brought about much interest in expansion. In June of 2016, the first donation was received for the second phase of The Viewport. This phase would include a pergola over the picnic area, expanded walkway, gardens and benches, and a separate entrance with signage. The next year was dedicated to fund raising, permitting and demolition of an old storage building. In July 2017 the pergola was erected and the remaining project was completed in May of 2018.
The partnerships and dedication of enthusiasts in the Camarillo aviation community brought about the creation of an area for learning, relaxing, and viewing of what aviation has to offer. Many times a day, both girls and boys can be seen with outstretched arms along the runway centerline and young and old enjoying the view from a bench. On the entrance rock is a bronze plaque with the reminder from Amelia Earhart – You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.