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Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale, California is an annex of the Air Force Flight Test (AFFT) Museum at Edwards AFB and was officially dedicated on September 27, 1991. It is the only airpark in the world where you can see top-secret US spy aircraft of the Cold War era together.

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A visit to the San Diego Air and Space Museum is not complete without a short trip to Gillespie Field where the museum’s annex is located. The annex started as a restoration and replica reproduction facility, but today displays a fine collection of Cold War era jets and other aircraft.

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San Diego Air & Space Museum is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park and displays aircraft and other exhibits from the dawn of aviation all the way to the space age.

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Lauridsen Aviation Museum
January 202019

Lauridsen Aviation Museum could be described as a museum in the making. Most of the private collection of over 30 airplanes is located at the Buckeye Municipal Airport, west of Phoenix, Arizona. However, some of the aircraft are stored at several other nearby airports. Hans Lauridsen, the founder and owner of the museum, is planning to erect a 30,000 sq. ft building to exhibit more valuable planes inside while others will be parked on the surrounding tarmac. His vision is to allow the public to get close to the aircraft without any ropes and see them being worked on with engine cowlings open.

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One of the first planes you encounter when arriving at the airport is a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar with its unusual twin-boom design. The aircraft’s design was based on an earlier Fairchild C-82 Packet but featured more powerful engines, a stronger airframe, and a larger cargo space. Lauridsen’s Flying Boxcar was also used in the 2004 Flight of the Phoenix movie, where a group of plane crash survivors utilize salvaged parts to build a new airplane and escape a harsh desert environment. It was a remake of the 1965 movie of the same title that featured a Flying Boxcar’s predecessor, a Fairchild C-82 Packet.

Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar

The next plane you see driving towards the museum is a beautifully restored Grumman HU-16C Albatross. This large flying boat was used primarily as a search and rescue aircraft by the USAF, Navy, and Coast Guard. Lauridsen’s Albatross was initially constructed in 1953 as an UF-1 model for the U.S. Navy but was later redesignated as an HU-16C. It is now painted in the characteristic U.S. Coast Guard paint scheme.

Grumman HU-16C Albatross

Several other planes are parked under shade structures sharing space with some vintage military and civilian vehicles and various mechanical parts. One of such planes is a Douglas A-26B Invader (44-34520), manufactured in 1945 by Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, CA and used previously as an executive transport and an aerial tanker. It was also briefly on display at the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting in Greybull, WY which we would love to visit in the future!

Douglas C-47A Skytrain

Douglas C-47A Skytrain

Other aircraft displayed outside include a Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso-A which is a Canadian-built Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina, a Douglas C-47A Skytrain, North American TB-25J Mitchell “Auntie Jayne”, Grumman C-1A Trader and a Ryan Navion B with a beehive in its engine. There was no staff on site to confirm that but based on information posted online, the museum also owns a Beech C-45H Expeditor, Boeing Stearman, Cessna L-19A Bird Dog, Convair C-131D Samaritan, Forney F-1A AirCoupe, General Motors TBM-3E Avenger, North American SNJ-5 Texan, North American T-28C Trojan, Piper J3C-65 Cub, and Waco UIC.

Canadian Vickers (Consolidated) PBY-5A Catalina

Canadian Vickers (Consolidated) PBY-5A Catalina

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Century Circle exhibit is a part of the Air Force Flight Test Museum and includes all six Century Series jet fighters and a McDonnell Douglas YC-15 prototype transport plane.

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USS Midway Museum
November 62018

The USS Midway Museum is one of the 5 aircraft carrier museums in the US and one of only two on the West Coast. Moored at the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego, it displays over 30 restored planes and helicopters used by the US Navy.

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A static replica of the Hughes H-1 Racer is definitely a centerpiece of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight. It was used in the famous movie The Aviator with Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Erickson Aircraft Collection
September 202018

The Erickson Aircraft Collection consists of around 30 mostly WWII era airplanes housed in a modern hangar at the Madras Municipal Airport in Madras, Oregon. Almost all are airworthy and participate in various airshows around the country.

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The Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center is located on the grounds of the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, which is currently the busiest military terminal for cargo and passengers in the United States.

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Estrella’s warbird collection includes aircraft which flew combat missions during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. It is located at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, originally built in 1943 as the Estrella Army Air Field.

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The history of the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum began in the mid-1970s with the help of the Pueblo City Manager Fred Weisbrod. Today it is managed by the Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society and displays about 30 aircraft both outdoors and indoors, in two large hangars.

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The National Museum of World War II Aviation is located in Colorado Springs, adjacent to the runways of the Colorado Springs Airport and not far from the Peterson Air & Space Museum.

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The largest and most famous plane in the OAM’s collection is the Short Solent Mk. III Flying Boat originally built for the RAF in 1946 and later converted to a luxury passenger plane. It was once owned by Howard Hughes and was made even more famous by the movie industry when it pretended to be a Boeing 314 China Clipper for a very special passenger…

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March Field Air Museum
April 292018

The March Field Air Museum, located along the Interstate 215 on the west side of the March Air Reserve Base near Riverside, California, displays one of the largest collections of military aircraft on the West Coast.

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The Western Museum of Flight is located on the Zamperini Field in Torrance, California. The airport was once known as Torrance Municipal Airport but it was renamed for local Olympic runner and WWII B-24 bombardier Louis Zamperini.

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Peterson Air & Space Museum is located inside Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The admission is free but if you do not possess a DoD ID Card you will need to request a visitor’s pass at least one day in advance.

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Pacific Coast Air Museum
February 242018

Pacific Coast Air Museum features a collection of around 35 aircraft, including the “First Responder” F-15A Eagle, the first fighter jet over New York City on the tragic morning of 9/11.

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Hill Aerospace Museum
February 192018

Hill Aerospace Museum is located about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City on Interstate 15. The Museum’s Lockheed SR-71C Blackbird is the only model C ever built and the last Blackbird to be manufactured.

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Tillamook Air Museum
February 182018

It is hard to miss the Tillamook Air Museum while driving down the 101 Hwy a few miles south of Tillamook, Oregon. The enormous WWII-era US Navy blimp hangar with a giant “AIR MUSEUM” painted on the side is visible from afar.

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The Naval Museum of Armament & Technology museum is located on the grounds of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in Ridgecrest, California. The museum’s primary mission is to preserve and display many unique achievements relating to naval aviation…

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Yanks Air Museum
July 212017

In September 1973, Yanks Air Museum acquired and then restored its first airplane, the Beechcraft D-17S Staggerwing. Today the collection contains over 200 aircraft, starting with the 1903 Wright Flyerand continues through to the Golden Age, World War II, Early Jets and Modern Jets.

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Visitors to Joe Davies Heritage Airpark can view a collection of aircraft designed, produced, tested, or modified at U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

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Castle Air Museum
April 272017

The Castle Air Museum collection contains over 70 aircraft, including the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft in history – the Convair B-36 Peacemaker.

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The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to the preservation of Marine Corps aviation history.

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Chico Air Museum
April 272017

The Chico Air Museum was established in 2005 and in 2013 it was moved to its current location adjacent to the Chico Municipal Airport.

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Planes of Fame Air Museum was founded in 1957 by Edward T. Maloney and was the first air museum west of Mississippi.

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Lyon Air Museum
April 272017

The Lyon Air Museum is located in a hangar on the west side of the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. It was founded by Major General William Lyon, a retired member of the U.S. Air Force and successful businessman.

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