Location & history
The Oakland Aviation Museum occupies a hangar of the former Boeing School of Aeronautics which initially trained civilian pilots and then aircraft mechanics for the Army Air Corps and Navy during World War II. The hangar was constructed in 1929 at the Oakland Municipal airport which was opened just a few years earlier. On May 20th, 1937 Amelia Earhart took off from this airport in her silver Lockheed Electra 10E with an ambitious plan to circumnavigate the globe. She disappeared over the Pacific two months later, just a few days before her scheduled return to Oakland.
Oakland Aviation Museum
|8252 Earhart Rd, Oakland, CA 94621, USA|
One of the first planes you see once you start touring the museum is the Thorp/Paulic T3B-1. It was designed by John Thorp, an instructor at the Boeing School of Aeronautics, and constructed by Rudy Paulic and his brother. John Thorp designed numerous other personal aircraft and was also working on the designs of the Piper Cherokee and Lockheed P2V Neptune.
Other aircraft in the hangar include a Wright EX Vin Fiz replica, Monocoupe 110, Glasair SH-II RG, Kitfox Classic IV-1200 with a very interesting paint job, Aeronca 7AC Champion, Rutan 33 VariEze, Jurca M.J.77 Gnatsum (P-51B 3/4 scale replica) and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15bis.
Ercoupe 415 C
The museum also displays an Ercoupe 415 C designed by Fred Weick for the Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO). Similar aircraft, after some obvious modifications, was used by the military in 1941 for the first JATO (Jet-Assisted Take-Off) test at March Field, CA. The project lead to the foundation of Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.
The only helicopter in the collection is a Hiller Ten99. It was built in 1962 by the Hiller Aircraft and entered into the United States Navy Assault Support Helicopter program. It lost to the Bell HU-1 “Huey” and never moved past the prototype phase.
Larger and more modern aircraft are displayed in the outdoor air park. They include a Douglas KA-3B Skywarrior, the largest carrier based aircraft, a Vietnam war veteran Cessna O-2A Skymaster, Grumman NF-14A Tomcat, Douglas NTA-4J Skyhawk, LTV A-7E Corsair II, Grumman KA-6D Intruder, North American T-39 Saberliner and Hawker Siddeley TAV-8A Harrier, a former USMC plane later used by NASA.
Short Solent Mk. III Flying Boat
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…
Harrison Ford’s fedora
There is a very short scene at the beginning of the “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, when Indiana Jones is boarding a flying boat and then napping during the flight with the famous fedora hat covering his eyes. The museum’s Short Solent is the actual plane used for filming that scene. For a small additional fee, you can even tour it inside and see a fedora hat that marks the seat in which Harrison Ford was snoozing on his way to Nepal.