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Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

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Museum and Flight TV Spot

Bringing Aviation History To Arizona

The Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona started with a sentimental journey. In 1977, a small group of dedicated folks broke ground at Falcon Field and in 1978, the Arizona Wing became the 10th unit of the Commemorative Air Force. Within a few short weeks, Phoenix resident Mike Clarke donated a rare Boeing B-17G to the unit. Over the next five years, the colonels of the AZCAF wandered through countless junkyards and crash sites looking for parts to restore the plane to new condition, christening it Sentimental Journey.

This project sparked the idea to build a more permanent facility that could be used to preserve and showcase unique warbirds like Sentimental Journey. After months of searching, Mesas municipal airport, Falcon Field, was chosen as the new site for the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum.

Since opening our doors in 1978, countless visitors from around the world have descended on Mesa for this one-of-a-kind experience. Their interest has helped grow the museum into one of the most treasured attractions in the Valley, and with the support of our volunteer staff, we are proud to be the home of one of the largest Commemorative Air Force units in the world.

Together, we look forward to preserving and restoring authentic military aviation history, remembering the heroes who saved our country, and educating people on the hard lessons learned during perilous times in Americas past.

‘we Want People To Get Their Hands On History’

Museum Director Bobbie Carleton says patrons can walk right up to the planes and in some cases step up to look inside the cockpits.

We want people to get their hands on history. We want them to come up and see the planes, Carleton says.

The volunteer-run museum opened in 1978. A rare B-17G Flying Fortress bomber, which is still part of the museums collection, was the first aircraft donated to the facility. It is one of only a handful of its kind that are still flying. The museum also has restored six WWII warbirds to flying condition.

The museums aircraft are either authentic or replica combat veterans. A C-47 Skytrain cargo/transport plane in the collection has an extensive history that includes taking part in the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

Many of the museums aircraft were privately owned before being purchased or donated. Carleton says that after World War II, many airplanes went into surplus, and private owners or companies purchased them to use for insect spraying, collecting, performing in air shows, flying passengers or moving products.

That is pretty common. What is uncommon is they survive. The time and expense of doing a proper job taking care of an aircraft is a unique area. You dont see a lot of people or organizations that are able to do that, Carleton says.

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Attractions Near Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

The Mesa Arts Center is a performing and visual arts complex in downtown Mesa, Arizona. At more than 210,000 square feet square feet, the $95 million facility, completed in 2005, is the largest comprehensive arts campus in the state which encompasses four performance venues

The Arizona Museum of Natural History is the only natural history museum in the greater Phoenix area and is located in Mesa, Arizona. It exhibits the natural and cultural history of the Southwestern United States.

Tempe Town Lake is an artificial perennial reservoir located just north of Tempe Butte at the confluence of the intermittent Salt River and the ephemeral Indian Bend Wash in Tempe, Arizona. The reservoir receives much of its water from the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project. On July 20, 2010, a portion of the west side of the dam that contained the water in the lake collapsed sending a flood of water into the Salt River, draining the lake.

Western Spirit: Scottsdales Museum of the West is located in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona on the former site of the Loloma Transit Station , and opened in January 2015. The two-story, 43,000-square-foot museum features the art, culture and history of 19 states in the American West, including Arizona. According to museum Director Mike Fox, We are not a museum of objects, but a museum of ideas.

About Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Photos for Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, a.k.a. Airbase Arizona Aircraft Museum, was established in 1978, in Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. It is the 10th unit of the Commemorative Air Force and the home of one of the largest Commemorative Air Force units in the world. On exhibit are World War II artifacts, helicopters and classic American and foreign combat planes, many of which are the last remaining warbirds of their kinds.

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Sentimental Journey Is A B

A visit to the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum will take you on a journey down memory lane. This museum honors those who fought in World War II. There are many exhibits to explore, including the Tuskegee Airmen and the Enemy Artifacts. The B-17G Sentimental Journey, which was the inspiration for the museums creation, is a great way to get a feel for the history and culture of this time in aviation. In fact, visitors can even climb aboard one of these aircraft and experience the thrill of flying the B-17G!

Coming Up At Caf Airbase Arizona

The first Saturday of each month is Family Fun Day. The museum offers discounted admission and activities such as balsa airplane target toss, mini-mystery reading activities, 30-minute Hidden Treasures tours and screenings of the Tailspin Tommy 1930s film serial. The next Family Fun Day is Aug. 7.

In August, the museums featured aircraft is a UH-1 Huey Alley Cat helicopter used during the Vietnam War.

Starting up again in late September or early October, visitors can fly in restored WWII aircraft including a B-17G Flying Fortress, B25J Mitchell, C-47 Skytrain, C-45 Expeditor, SN-J/T6 Texan and N2S-3 Stearman. Flights are currently suspended due to heat.

Flights cost $80-$850 per person, depending on the aircraft and seat chosen, and require reservations.

During the summer months, the museums bombers go on tour to about 40 locations throughout the country to educate the public and offer rides.

Our mission is to do community outreach while we are out there and invite out youth groups, scouts, the community and veterans, Carleton says.

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The History Of The Commemorative Air Force

In the jubilant days following the U.S.s World War I and II victories, the proud fighters and bombers of the worlds most powerful aerial armada were abandoned as troops returned home. More than 300,000 planes were produced during the wars, but over time, few remained in existence let alone in flying condition.

In 1951, five Texans pooled their resources and bought a surplus P-40. Over the next decade, they noticed historic combat planes were becoming harder to find, so they set out on a serious search to save the aircraft that remained. During their search, they began performing at air shows, where they discovered the public was just as interested in these warbirds as they were.

Noticing the growing interest in their group, the men chartered the unit as a non-profit organization in 1961 and started inviting other veterans to join. Since then, CAF has collected more than 165 classic American and foreign combat planes, many of which are the last remaining warbirds of their kinds. The CAF now has dozens of self-supporting, volunteer-driven units around the world, made up of more than 13,000 members from all walks of life who come together with one common goal: to preserve the militarys aircrafts and history.

Elementary And Secondary Education

B17 Boarding and Exiting

Public schools in Arizona are separated into about 220 local school districts which operate independently, but are governed in most cases by elected county school superintendents these are in turn overseen by the Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona Department of Education. A state Superintendent of Public Instruction . In 2005, a School District Redistricting Commission was established with the goal of combining and consolidating many of these districts.

Arizona is served by three public universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. These schools are governed by the Arizona Board of Regents.

Private higher education in Arizona is dominated by a large number of for-profit and “chain” universities.

EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University, Prescott and Prescott College are Arizona’s only non-profit four-year private colleges.

Arizona has a wide network of two-year vocational schools and community colleges. These colleges were governed historically by a separate statewide board of directors but, in 2002, the state legislature transferred almost all oversight authority to individual community college districts. The Maricopa County Community College District includes 11 community colleges throughout Maricopa County and is one of the largest in the nation.

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Read What Visitors Are Saying

The people have spoken: The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum has been voted one of the top things to do in Mesa! See what people are saying about their unforgettable experience.


We have been to many aviation museums and this one has a lot to offer. It is a self-guided tour with docents to aid and discuss the different planes. It is well laid out with videos and displays and pictures to support the planes and history. There are a few planes on the tarmac, a main hanger and maintenance hanger to visit. Allow a couple of hours minimum. Well worth the visit.


If you love history and airplanes, a must seeI’ve been here several times, every time there’s something new. Wonderful displays interpreting WWII and Vietnam especially. Docents are knowledgeable and fun to visit with. Nice gift shop. If you love airplanes, you’ll love this place.

Stephen W

Great spot for WW II history and artifacts, but the real treat is being able to go inside the vintage aircraft, B17, B25 and C47 on open house days. Need to watch the sites calendar for special days when the warbirds fly!


Diana L W

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Confederate Air Force Cadets

The Arizona Commemorative Aviation Museum has a unique display of Confederate aircraft, and its cadets are an excellent source of information. A cadet membership costs $100 and is open to anyone ages 12 and up. Membership is tax-deductible. Active military personnel are also welcome to join at the Colonel level, which will keep dues $100 each year while they are in the U.S. Military.

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Photos for Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum and Walk of Honor

The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, a.k.a. Airbase Arizona Aircraft Museum, was established in 1978, in Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. It is the 10th unit of the Commemorative Air Force and the home of one of the largest Commemorative Air Force units in the world. On exhibit are World War II artifacts, helicopters and classic American and foreign combat planes, many of which are the last remaining warbirds of their kinds.

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Public Universities In Arizona

Phoenix Art Museum, on the historic Central Avenue Corridor in Phoenix, is the Southwest’s largest collection of visual art from across the world. The museum displays international exhibitions alongside the museum’s collection of more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. With a community education mandate since 1951, Phoenix Art Museum holds a year-round program of festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs. The museum also has PhxArtKids, an interactive space for children photography exhibitions through the museum’s partnership with the Center for Creative Photography the landscaped Sculpture Garden and dining at Arcadia Farms.

Arizona is a recognized center of Native American art, with a number of galleries showcasing historical and contemporary works. The Heard Museum, also in Phoenix, is a major repository of Native American art. Some of the signature exhibits include a full Navajo hogan, the Mareen Allen Nichols Collection containing 260 pieces of contemporary jewelry, the Barry Goldwater Collection of 437 historic Hopi kachina dolls, and an exhibit on the 19th-century boarding school experiences of Native Americans. The Heard Museum has about 250,000 visitors a year.

Sedona, Jerome, and Tubac are known as budding artist colonies, and small arts scenes exist in the larger cities and near the state universities.

Th Century To Present

During the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, several battles were fought in the Mexican towns just across the border from Arizona settlements. Throughout the revolution, many Arizonans enlisted in one of the several armies fighting in Mexico. Only two significant engagements took place on U.S. soil between U.S. and Mexican forces: Pancho Villa‘s 1916 Columbus Raid in New Mexico, and the Battle of Ambos Nogales in 1918 in Arizona. The Mexicans won the first battle and the Americans won the latter.

After Mexican federal troops fired on U.S. soldiers, the American garrison launched an assault into Nogales, Mexico. The Mexicans eventually surrendered after both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few months earlier, just west of Nogales, an Indian War battle had occurred, considered the last engagement in the American Indian Wars, which lasted from 1775 to 1918. U.S. soldiers stationed on the border confronted Yaqui Indians who were using Arizona as a base to raid the nearby Mexican settlements, as part of their wars against Mexico.

Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted.

On January 8, 2011, a gunman shot congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 18 others at a gathering in Tucson. Giffords was critically wounded. The incident sparked national attention regarding incendiary political rhetoric.


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Sacred Steel Memorializes All Those Who Lost Their Lives In The Pearl Harbor Attack

The Sacred Steel exhibit is the most striking memorial to the people lost in the Pearl Harbor attack. Despite its unsettling design, the exhibit is not devoid of beauty. The wreckage of the battleship USS Arizona is a striking reminder of the tragic event. Its wreckage is so impressive that it has even inspired an upcoming movie Sacred Steel.

Public Transportation Amtrak And Intercity Bus

I am a B 25 pilot

The Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are served by public bus transit systems. Yuma and Flagstaff also have public bus systems. Greyhound Lines serves Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and several smaller communities statewide.

A light rail system, called Valley Metro Rail, was completed in December 2008 it connects Central Phoenix with the nearby cities of Mesa and Tempe.

In Tucson, the Sun Link streetcar system travels through the downtown area, connecting the main University of Arizona campus with Mercado San Agustin on the western edge of downtown Tucson. Sun Link, loosely based on the Portland Streetcar, launched in July 2014.

AmtrakSouthwest Chief route serves the northern part of the state, stopping at Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams and Kingman. The Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited routes serve South-Central Arizona, stopping at Tucson, , Yuma and Benson. Phoenix lost Amtrak service in 1996 with the rerouting of the Sunset Limited, and now an Amtrak bus runs between Phoenix and the station in Maricopa. As of 2021, Amtrak has proposed to restore rail service between Phoenix and Tucson.

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Family Day At Airbase Arizona Museum

Bring the family to Airbase Arizona Flying Museum Saturday August 13 from 10 am to 4 pm and be inspired! Special discounted admission is offered, $5 per person or $10 for a family of four with access to all ground exhibits and activities. Annual pass holders are free!

Come and meet ‘Iceman’ and take a photo of family members in front of a real F-4 Phantom jet like that used in the Navy’s Top Gun fighter school .

Take the challenge! Experiment and test the basic forces of aerodynamics in our technology challenge ‘straw and circle airplanes’ hosted by the Eloy Unit of the Civil Air Patrol. Go for distance – go for speed and have fun!

Overall activities for Family Fun Day include:

  • Kids Adventure Hunt — geared for kids ages 6 to 12, a sheet of picture clues and hints take younger visitors on a mini-adventure to search for history and technology hidden in ‘plane sight’ on the main exhibit floor. Offered all day.
  • Aviation Technology Challenge — hands-on activities for kids age 12 and under. Offered from 11 am to 2 pm.

  • Speaker — A Falcon with the Thunderbirds: Join docent JK Wight to learn how one ‘Falcon’ among the Arizona ‘Thunderbirds’ provided pilots for the Royal Air Force.

  • Heroic war veteran C-47 aircraft — see one of the few remaining aircraft from WWII with an actual combat record ‘Old Number 30’ that took part in the invasion of Sicily in 1943, and the rescue of hundreds of downed airmen in the Balkans in 1944.

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

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