Location & history
Planes of Fame Air Museum was founded in 1957 by Edward T. Maloney and was the first air museum west of Mississippi. It was initially located in Claremont, California, and was simply called “The Air Museum” at that time. It was relocated twice before the growing collection of aircraft and aviation memorabilia was finally moved in 1973 to the Chino Airport which served as an Army Air Corp training facility during WWII.
Planes of Fame Air Museum
|7000 Merrill Ave #17, Chino, CA 91710, USA|
Over 150 aircraft in the collection
Today the museum owns over 150 aircraft, with about thirty in a flyable condition such as a North American P-51A Mustang, Boeing P-26A Peashooter, Lockheed P-38J Lightning, and a Republic P-47G Thunderbolt. The museum’s collection of Japanese aircraft is the largest of its type in the world including the only flying Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter with its original Sakae engine and an Aichi D3A featured in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora!
Northrop N-9MB flying wing
On April 22nd, 2019, the museum lost its Northrop N-9MB flying wing in a tragic crash that also claimed the life of David Vopat, a museum pilot who was testing the plane before the upcoming annual airshow. The N-9MB was the last surviving of the four flying wings test planes built by Northrop to support the Northrop XB-35 and YB-35 flying wing heavy bomber program during WWII.
There are multiple restoration projects underway at the museum to further expand the inventory of flyable aircraft such as a Boeing B-17G, North American O-47, Douglas Aircraft C-47 Skytrain, Grumman OV-1 Mohawk and several others. The museum is also restoring a Bell YP-59A Airacomet, the first US jet-powered aircraft developed jointly by Bell Aircraft Corporation and the General Electric Company. The current target completion date for this project is the year 2021.
Planes of Fame Airshow
The museum flies most of its airworthy aircraft during the annual Planes of Fame Airshow – the largest gathering of warbirds in the western US. The museum’s airplanes can also be seen flying during other airshows in Southern California and beyond, or at the monthly “Living History Flying Day” events. Steve Hinton, the current President of Planes of Fame Air Museum, is usually in the cockpit of one of the planes flying during the POF airshow. He also has worked on over 60 films including Pearl Harbor, Dunkirk, Iron Man, Con Air, and the recent TV mini-series Catch 22 as a pilot.
The museum boneyard displays several aircraft which are patiently awaiting their restoration. The boneyard collection includes a North American QF-100D Super Sabre, North American FJ-3 Fury, Lockheed F-104G Starfighter, Grumman F7F-3N Tigercat, Vought F8U-1 Crusader, Beech UC-45 Expeditor, North American T-2A Buckeye and many others.
Boeing B-50A Superfortress Lucky Lady II
On February 26, 1949 a Boeing B-50A Superfortress Lucky Lady II (s/n 46-0010) took off from Carswell Air Force Base near Fort Worth, Texas, and headed east toward the Atlantic Ocean. After 94 hours and 1 minute, and assisted by four aerial refuelings, Lucky Lady II became the first airplane to circle the world without landing. Today only a portion of the plane’s fuselage remains tucked in the corner of POF’s boneyard.
Second location in Valle, AZ
In 1995, an additional display facility with over 40 of the museum’s aircraft was opened in Valle, Arizona, halfway between Williams, Arizona and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Planes of Fame also shares the Chino Airport with the Yanks Air Museum.