Imperial War Museum At Duxford
The Imperial War Museum facility at Duxford airfield near Cambridge doesn’t just house military aircraft.
As well as having the world’s first jet airliner, the Comet, this might also be the only place where you’ll get to walk through the world’s most sophisticated jet airliner, the Concorde.
This is really several museums in one, because there are four separate collections, two housed in large old hangars, one collection of post world war two British aircraft standing outside, and the purpose-built American Air Museum, which has one of the most impressive collections of American military aircraft outside the United States, including a B-17 Flying Fortress, B-52 Stratofortress, and a U-2 spy plane.
There are around 180 aircraft in total, including many of the classic aircraft of world war two.
There are also many rarely seen aircraft, like this Russian Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship, British aircraft like the Fairey Gannet, TSR.2 experimental supersonic nuclear bomber, and the Gloster Javelin. Then there are other oddities like one of the test models for Barnes-Wallis’ bouncing bomb, and a German world war two Fritz-X radio-controlled bomb.
Military History Museums In Los Angeles
Armed Forces and War Museums in LA
Shane Smith/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
Even though LA hasn’t seen a lot of military action, Los Angeles has a variety of museums that document and interpret military history from the Revolutionary War to WWII and the Cold War, and include exhibits of more modern military vehicles, planes, and multiple ships.
The Fort MacArthur Museum at Battery Osgood-Farley in San Pedro focuses on the history of Fort MacArthur, a U.S. Army post which guarded the Los Angeles harbor between 1914 to 1974. Multiple buildings house exhibits on harbor defense and home-front activities in Southern California.
The American Military Museum at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in El Monte has an extensive collection of inter-service military equipment from WWI through Desert Storm. Nearly 200 vehicles from tanks to amphibious vehicles and bomb loaders.
The USS Iowa Battleship Museum is an actual WWII battleship you can visit in San Pedro in the Port of Los Angeles. The battleship is not wheelchair accessible.
The SS Lane Victory is another museum ship located in the Port of Los Angeles. She’s a WWII merchant cargo ship that served through the Vietnam War.
Nellis Air Force Base Threat Training Facility
The very existence of the Threat Training Facility at Nellis AFB near Las Vegas was classified until 1993, and it’s still not the easiest place to visit, unless you’re on active duty with the Air Force. And little wonder, since this place contains $70 million of enemy military hardware, including aircraft like the MiG-17, MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29.
This is no ordinary museum, instead it’s administered by the American military intelligence community, tasked with analyzing foreign equipment such as aircraft, anti-aircraft systems and tanks in order to determine their capabilities and shortcomings.
Most of the equipment here has been put through its paces by American pilots and technicians, and today it’s still used to give “hands-on” experience to American military personnel, who have given the facility the nickname “The Petting Zoo”. Unlike most museums, here you can touch and even sit inside armored vehicles, tanks and even aircraft.
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Oshkosh Experimental Aircraft Association Museum
Of course the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum in Wisconsin has a good collection of experimental civil aircraft of various strange designs, but it’s the World War 2 aircraft which really captured my fancy.
Here’s a rare Japanese “Oscar” fighter, one which you won’t see often .
There are some good non-aircraft displays, too, like this original spare shell casing from the World War 2 “Fat Man” atomic bomb.
Norfolk Air Power Park
This has to be the saddest of Virginia’s three big aviation museums, with an excellent collection of space rockets, missiles and 1950s and 1960s American military jets.
Here they all are, outside and rusting in Virginia’s steamy air, millions of dollars of irreplaceable history like this F-100 Super Sabre rotting for lack of funds to properly house and restore them.
One particularly intriguing exhibit, which is in no great danger of rusting away, is Atomic Annie, an Atomic Cannon capable of firing a nuclear armed artillery shell to a distance of 18 miles. The idea was to fire it at an opposing army in the field – after the atomic bomb detonates your own soldiers rush in and sweep up the dust!
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Planes Of Fame At Valle
The Planes of Fame museum at Valle, Arizona, is sister to the Planes of Fame museum at Chino, in California. It’s conveniently located at the intersection of the two highways which lead up to the Grand Canyon, meaning that you can visit both in a single day – making both mom and dad happy.
As well as General MacArthur’s Constellation transport plane, which you can tour through, there are uncommon aircraft to look at like a British De Havilland vampire jet fighter, an F11F Tiger in Blue Angels colors, a Japanese Ohka rocket-powered kamikaze flying bomb, and remnants of a Japanese Hayabusa “Oscar” fighter.
There’s also a US Navy F3F biplane fighter, immediate predecessor of the F4F Wildcat fighter which America used in the early days of the war in the Pacific.
La Fridays With Bob And Tom: Planes Of Fame Air Museum
LA Fridays with Bob and Tom
Week 24. Planes of Fame Air Museum
Thisweek for aviation enthusiasts the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino,California is our destination. Foundedby Edward T. Maloney in l957, the museum opened its doors with less than adozen planes. It was the first aviationmuseum west of the Rocky Mountains. Now it is home to over 150 displayaircraft, numerous historic artifacts and exciting educational exhibits thatspan the history of manned flight. Itsmission is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educatethe public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The museum has one of the largest collections of Japanese aircraft in theworld, including the only authentic flying Japanese Mitsubishi A6M5 zerofighter, complete with its original Sokai radial engine . Also, on display is a B-17Flying Fortress, P-40 Warhawk, German Messerschmitt ME-109, and a Russian MIG15. A special exhibit hanger isdedicated to the heroic contributions of the famed WWII 475th Fighter Group.
Therewas a beautifully refurbished Vought F4U Corsair, a WWII navy carrier-basedaircraft fighter. Bobs favorite.
As you walk through the hangers for an up-close view of the planes, there arecaptions explaining the planes history, as well as relating the history of thepilot exploits. There is plenty of free parking available.
ROBERT BLAUNSTEIN, PhD BIO
THOMAS JACOBSON BIO
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Edwards Air Force Base
The aircraft museum at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert an hour and a half north east of Los Angeles is one of those places which is almost impossible to visit unless you’re a serving member of the United States Air Force.
As you’d expect for the place where most of America’s latest aircraft have been tested for the last sixty years, there are some very interesting experimental aircraft, as well as exotics like this British designed Gloster Meteor, the first operational Allied jet fighter, which had a long career after the war in various guises, including as a test bed for new radar equipment and other technology.
Edwards, which was formerly called Muroc, is home not only to Air Force research, but also to test programmes run by NASA, which is a civilian agency.
You can see several NASA aircraft in the open air section of the museum, together with prototype versions of military aircraft which later entered service in larger numbers.
Western Museum Of Flight
Open Tuesday through Sunday most of the year and with a great gift shop to boot, this museum is home to several dozen airplanes that include the Northrop SD-1 Drone, North American P-51D Mustang, Bede BD-5, Acme Siera S-1, and the Teledyne Ryan AQ-34K Firebee. There is also a replica of an 1883 Montgomery glider, as well as other planes.
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Air Force Base Turned Into Museum For Veterans In San Bernardino
SAN BERNARDINO What was once an Air Force base is now a museum in San Bernardino.
The Leland Norton Air Force Base opened in 1942.
When the base closed in 1994, many of the people who worked there vowed to keep the building’s history alive.
A museum that honors war hero Leland Norton and other veterans has opened at the same location.
Admission is free.
For more information about the museum, click here.
First published on March 14, 2013 / 9:38 PM
Renaming And New Facility
In 2001, it was incorporated as a non-profit organization. Difficulties for the museum continued, as even though the aircraft had been secured, it still had to vacate the land on which it was sitting. To that end, the museum looked to purchase land in Freedom Park nearby. As work continued, the museum hired a new director, announced plans for a new facility, and changed its name to the Aerospace Museum of California in 2005. On 5 January 2007, opened its new 37,500 sq ft Hardie Setzer Pavilion and 4.5 acre Air Park, enabling the museum to expand its displays to feature commercial and private aircraft, as well as aircraft used by all branches of the armed forces.
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Royal Air Force Museum At Hendon
The official Royal Air Force museum at Hendon, in North London, is filled with rare British world war two aircraft which you won’t see anywhere else, like this Boulton-Paul Defiant, a fatally flawed fighter design which had a gun turret at the rear but no forward-firing armament.
This German world war two jet fighter, the Heinkel He162 Salamander is also very unusual, having entered service very near the end of the war. In addition to the Salamander, Hendon has quite a few different aircraft in its collection of German world war two aircraft.
The Gloster Meteor was the first Allied jet to enter service, in 1944. Although outclassed soon after the war, updated versions continued to serve with the RAF and the Royal Australian Air Force for quite some time.
Vietnamese Air Force Museum In Hanoi
The Vietnamese Air Force Museum in Hanoi isn’t on the list of attractions for most tourists, but it’s well worth visiting if you’re a military aviation enthusiast or someone with a personal connection to the Vietnam war. There’s a group of about 20 aircraft at the museum, all parked outside, with three MiG jets in pride of place near the main gate.
The museum has the best collection of Russian military helicopters that I’ve seen in one place. As well as a strange looking K-25 maritime helicopter with contra-rotating rotors and no tail rotors, there’s also a gunship and an Mi 4 transport which carried Ho Chi Minh to various places. However the most amazing machine is this 33 meter long Mi 6 “Hook”, for many years the largest helicopter in the world, capable of lifting the largest American helicopter, the CH-54 Skycrane, or up to 120 people in high density seating.
Like most Vietnamese military museums, there’s the usual collection of shot-down American military hardware on display inside, but another surprising part of the collection outside is various American aircraft which were captured at the end of the war then repainted in Vietnamese Air Force colors and used operationally, probably until parts ran out for them.
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Quantico Marine Corp Air
The Quantico Marine Corp museum in Virginia has aircraft and weapons not only of the US Marine Corps, but also of some of its enemies, including a Russian MiG-15 and this Japanese World War 2 “Ohka” rocket-propelled kamikaze flying bomb.
It’s an air-ground museum, so of course they also have some ground-borne weaponry such as self-propelled guns and tanks.
There are also such rare items as the F9F Panther, the first navy jet fighter to enter combat, and American military helicopters from the Korean War.
United States Air Force Museum At Dayton
The official USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s premier military aircraft museum, with oodles of historically significant aircraft from the beginnings of air power in the United States up to the present day. There’s also a rarely seen selection of enemy aircraft – German, Italian and Russian.
There are many weird and wonderful aircraft here, from the “Twin Mustang” to the “Goblin” Parasitic Fighter to the “Tacit Blue” prototype of today’s stealth fighter and bomber.
The Air Force had primary responsibility for the missile protection of the United States during the Cold War, so it’s appropriate that there’s a good display of missiles alongside the different models of atomic bombs carried by conventional bombers.
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Celebrate Aviation History In Los Angeles
On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. The flight only lasted 12 seconds and a distance of 120 feet, but it was enough to change the course of history. Los Angeles has a historic and important role in aviation and aerospace, which visitors can explore at various cultural attractions throughout the city.
Los Angeles International Airport is the main airport serving the Greater Los Angeles area. LAX is the seventh busiest airport in the world and third busiest in the United States, offering 742 daily nonstop flights to 101 domestic cities and 1,273 weekly nonstop flights to 76 cities in 41 countries on 64 commercial air carriers. LAX is the first and last L.A. landmark for tens of millions of travelers every year, from across the country and around the world, in particular our friends from the Pacific Rim. LAX assures its status as a world-class airport by making vital improvements such as the New Tom Bradley International Terminal.
Russian Air Force Museum At Monino
The Russian Air Force Museum at Monino, an hour’s train ride north of Moscow, was once off limits to western aviation enthusiasts, and even after the end of the cold war it was still necessary to get a letter of introduction from an official source before it was possible to visit.
Thankfully that’s a thing of the past and today visitors can freely come to marvel at a very complete collection of aircraft flown by the air force and civil operators, such as the giant V-12 “Homer”, by far the largest helicopter ever flown anywhere, and one of many helicopters in the collection.
Highlights of the museum’s comprehensive collection of Russian air force aircraft, including transport aircraft, fighters and bombers. There are planes from world war two right through the years of the Cold War, and include many of the prototypes used to pioneer well-known aircraft in the Soviet inventory, as well as developmental aircraft which never went into production, amongst which are ski equipped supersonic jet fighters, naval VTOL fighters as well as record breaking aircraft like the largest propeller planes to enter service, and the largest and fastest supersonic airliner ever built.
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Virginia Air And Space Center
The Virginia Air and Space Center has a good selection of America’s leading military aircraft from the 1960s and 1970s.
It also serves as the visitor center for the NASA Langley Research Center, with various space relics and experimental aircraft, such as this British “Kestrel”, the forerunner of the Harrier jump jet.
As well as these items the museum contains the Apollo 12 command module which went to the moon, actual moon rocks from Apollo 17, various world war two aircraft, and an IMAX theater which shows appropriate flight and space movies.
Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum At Wigram
The now decommissioned Wigram Air Force base in the South Island city of Christchurch contains the official Royal New Zealand Air Force museum.
You can check out planes which have served in the New Zealand Air Force from World War II up until the present day.
Past Air Force hands might get bleary eyed looking at some of the old and old-but-still-in-use aircraft used in training and during New Zealand’s overseas wars.
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San Diego International Aerospace Hall Of Fame
No aircraft museum in America is complete without at least one SR-71 Blackbird spy plane on display! Although it dates back to 1968, it’s still the fastest jet ever to fly, so fast that the surface heats to over 500 degrees fahrenheit, and the plane becomes six inches longer! Able to travel at a height of 85,000 feet and 2,350 mph, or more than Mach 3, one of these planes flew from Los Angeles to Washington DC in 68 minutes, a trip which takes about six hours by commercial jet airliner.
The Ryan X-13 Vertijet was an attempt to create a vertical takeoff and landing jet fighter. Hung on a hook from a small frame, the plane took off easily enough and then transitioned to horizontal flight. But landing was trickier, with the plane needing to transition from horizontal to vertical flight at a height of several hundred feet, and then slowly descend back onto its hook. This maneuver turned out to be too much for most pilots to handle, and the idea was abandoned.
Convair, another San Diego company, also came out with some innovative fighter designs, perhaps the most interesting of which was the Sea Dart. First flown in 1953, it was a water-based supersonic jet fighter, intended to survive the destruction of conventional air bases by enemy forces.