Location & history
If you’ve ever heard of Paso Robles, CA before, it was most likely about the numerous wineries in the area or famous hot springs. However, for the aviation buff, there is one more attraction, the Estrella Warbirds Museum. It is located at the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, originally built in 1943 as the Estrella Army Air Field. Since its beginnings in the early 1990s, the museum expanded from a single building to several hangars and other facilities on over 20 acres of land.
Estrella Warbirds Museum
|4251 Dry Creek Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446, USA|
Estrella’s warbird collection includes aircraft which flew combat missions during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Some of the more notable include a Grumman North American SNJ-5C, Grumman US-2D Tracker, North American OV-10A Bronco, Cessna T-37B Tweety Bird, Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star, North American QF-86F Sabre, Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter, Vought A-7C Corsair II, Vought F-8K Crusader, Douglas A-4A Skyhawk, and McDonnell-Douglas F-4S Phantom and General Dynamics F-16B Fighting Falcon. There are also three more exotic planes on display: an Aermacchi MB 326 Impala, Fouga CM-170 Magister and Saab A-32A Lansen.
Grumman F-14B Tomcat
On December 11th, 2004, a Northrop Grumman F-14B Tomcat flown in the Gulf War was added to the Estrella’s collection. It was flown to the Paso Robles Airport from the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, FL. The museum’s Grumman A-6E Intruder is also a veteran of Vietnam, Libya, and Desert Storm, operating from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Admiral Nimitz (CVN-68).
Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter
The museum also displays a two-seat Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter used initially as a trainer for German pilots at Luke AFB in Phoenix, AZ. It was later transferred to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center (later renamed to the Armstrong Flight Research Center) and used in safety tests, as a photo chase plane, and for pilot proficiency training.
Douglas C-47B Dakota
In July 2007, the museum acquired another WWII veteran, a Douglas C-47B Dakota. and also one of the transport aircraft used for the Berlin Airlift. After the war, the plane was utilized in the Berlin Airlift as well as serving with the French, Belgian and Israeli Air Forces. It took about two years to fully restore the aircraft to its former glory. You can now spot this airworthy Douglas C-47B Dakota named “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber” at various air shows and in June 2019, it will be one of over 30 DC-3/C-47 planes participating in the Daks over Normandy event to commemorate the 75th D-Day anniversary.
Woodland Auto Display
In July 2009, The Estrella Warbirds Museum added a new facility, the Woodland Auto Display, which preserves and showcases vintage, classic, and historic vehicles with a primary focus on racing automobiles. The museum also displays a large collection of military vehicles.