Visiting Planes of Fame Air Museum
When the Super Bowl was in town last week I was excited about one thing – the flyover. I love a military flyover and this year’s was extra special as it celebrated the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force and featured 5 unique aircraft including the historic P-51 Mustang. I was especially excited because recently I had seen that very plane in person at the Planes of Fame Air Museum.
The Planes of Fame Air Museum is located at the Chino Airport and features nearly 160 historic aircraft. Encompassing over 14 acres it’s a large facility that merits a lengthy visit. Luckily, I devoted a free Saturday to it and spent a few hours marveling at the amazing aircraft on display.
14 acres is a lot of museum and though the artifacts are on the large size I knew I had a lot of ground to cover. Luckily, I was provided a map upon entering and soon found myself working my way through various hangers highlighting the history of aircraft.
Whether it’s the early days of aviation, the war years or the jet age the museum has representatives of every era. Most are beautiful restored and look as though they just came off the assembly line.
I was especially fond of the 1934 Boeing P-26A “Peashooter.”It’s absolutely beautify and exceedingly rare. In fact, it’s one of only 2 still in existence (and the only one that still flies). Actually, many of the planes on display are still in flying condition and the first Saturday of each month is devoted to demonstrations. Unfortunately, I didn’t visit then but seeing them on the ground was just as special.
Especially when they are war planes. Seeing planes from World War I and World War II is a humbling experience. The aircraft are so small and flimsy looking that it’s incredible that soldiers dared to fly them. Once you add combat fire it’s almost impossible to comprehend the airmen’s bravery.
Most of the museum’s planes are display only but on weekends the Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” is open to tour. What an experience! The B-17 housed 10 men (including a gunner in the claustrophobic ball turret) and 6000 pounds of bombs and was largely used in the European theater. It’s an incredible part of military history and was fascinating to visit.
In fact, the entire museum is fascinating to visit. I’ve only mentioned a few highlights but there was so much more to see and do. To really explore it would take several trips and I’m sure there would be something new to see each time.
Until I return, I’ll enjoy my memories of that Saturday at the Planes of Fame Air Museum and my brief journey through aviation history.