Location & history
Castle Air Museum, opened in 1981, is located in Atwater, California, adjacent to Castle Airport, a former United States Air Force Strategic Air Command base. The museum’s collection encompasses over seventy restored vintage military aircraft ranging from pre-WWII to present on approximately twenty acres of beautifully maintained grounds.
Castle Air Museum
|5050 Santa Fe Dr, Atwater, CA 95301, USA|
Some of the museum’s highlights include the: Avro Vulcan B. Mk.2, Douglas R5D-4 Skymaster, Douglas B-18 Bolo, Boeing B-47E Stratojet, North American B-45A Tornado, Kaman HH-43B Huskie, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, McDonnell Douglas VC-9C Presidential Transport, Martin EB-57A Canberra/Intruder, Boeing B-29 Superfortress, and a Bell H-13 Army Helicopter.
Convair RB-36H Peacemaker
The museum also houses one of the only five surviving B-36 bombers, the Convair RB-36H Peacemaker. The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston-engined aircraft ever built. It also had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft. It was operated in the 1950s by the USAF as the primary nuclear bomber of Strategic Air Command, later replaced by the jet-powered Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. Museum’s Peacemaker was previously displayed at the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, IL.
Open House events & indoor collection
You can view interiors of selected aircraft during periodic Open House events. During these events, volunteers who restore and maintain the aircraft are also available to answer any questions. In addition to the outdoor displays, Castle Air Museum also has an indoor collection of aviation memorabilia including aircraft engines, military uniforms, historic photos, and personal artifacts from the past century.
Air Force One
In 2013 the museum received a retired McDonnell Douglas VC-9C that served the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton flew on the plane as Air Force One. It was also used by many vice presidents, first ladies, cabinet members and both domestic and foreign dignitaries.
More planes are coming
The museum’s collection keeps growing every year and will soon be expanded with the addition of the Lockheed C-130A Hercules, Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star and the Convair YB-58A Hustler, the first supersonic bomber used by the USAF.
Strategic Air Command
It is also worth mentioning that parts of the Bombers B-52 movie depicting the introduction of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber into the Strategic Air Command (SAC) inventory during the 1950s were filmed at the former Castle Air Force Base.