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The Pacific Aviation Museum

Zero

Smile

Doolittle Raiders

B-25

Broomsticks

SBD

1,000 HP engine

SBD Dauntless dive brakes

Dangerous front and rear

Wildcat

Starfighter

Tiny plane

Pointy too

F-104 and tower

F-104's 'wings'

F-86

F-4

The F-4's serious air intakes

Tailhook

F-4 tailhook closeup

F-4 engines

F-4 exhaust nozzle flaps: Exterior

F-4 exhaust nozzle flaps: Interior

A guess?

It's an F-102 'Delta Dagger'

Inside Hanger 79

Swing wings

Aardvark

Nice undercarriage

MiG

RBF

Pointy

Stretch up

F-15

F-14 Tomcat

Lookin' at you

Another tailhook (this time on the F-14)

Quite a view (F-14)

F-14 tailerons

Underneath

More tubes

F-5: Right

F-5 nose

F-5: Left

F-5: Little engines

Choppers

Sea Stallion

Rotors

The Bus

Keep your hands and arms inside the car...

A view

SH-3 Interior

OV Seat

SH-3 cockpit

Seahawk

SH-60 cockpit

SH-60 cabin

OK, what is this?

SH-60 holes

SH-60 tubes

Cobra

Big rotor

Huey

Huey cockpit

Huey cabin

Choctaw

H-34 cockpit

H-34 cabin

MiG-15

Hanger 79

B-52 nose

Duck

Cramped in the B-52

Norden

You know...

Restoration

B-17

Ford Island Tower

The Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor houses an incredible collection of WWII and newer aircraft. Split across two hangers, the first hanger is almost entirely about Pearl Harbor and the War in the Pacific. The second hanger is a mix, mostly modern aircraft and helicopters.

If you can't make it to Hawaii to experience the museum yourself, here's a photo tour of many of the great aircraft.

Also check out the article about the tour.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A restored Mitsubishi A6M Zero. This particular example was built in 1942 and abandoned on the Ballale Island.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A Curtiss P-40E Warhawk. This one is a replica, painted with the markings of Lieutenant Ken Taylor's P-40.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A B-25. It was surprising, once you're up close, how small these planes are.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

According to the museum, very few B-25B (the variant used in the Doolittle Raid) still exist. This one was pieced together from several damaged later variants. Apparently this was also common practice on the front lines in the war.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

To save weight, there were no rear guns on the Doolittle B-25s. Broomsticks painted black were used instead.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The Douglas SBD Dauntless. There's a surprising ruggedness to this plane up close. It really looks like a mean, hulking piece of metal.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A 9-cylinder, 1,000 HP engine from an SBD Dauntless.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I'd always wondered what these looked like up close.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The Dauntless's tail gunner had two 0.30-cal Browning machine guns. The pilot had a pair of 0.50-cals in the nose.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A Grumman F4F Wildcat. This F4F-3 crashed in Lake Michigan in 1943. (The pilot survived.) In 1991 it was recovered, having been remarkably preserved. Four years later it flew again with its original engine. It is one of only two flight-worthy examples of this variant.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

On your way to the second hanger, you pass a row of planes sitting on the tarmac. The F-104 is one of my favorite planes, and this was the first time I'd seen one this close. This 104 served in Washington, Taiwan, and as a chase plane at Edwards. It was also Major Nelson's plane.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The F-104 is a remarkably small plane. Not much bigger than an SUV, really.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Hold your arms out, and that's wider than the 104's fuselage.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The F-104 and the Ford Island Control Tower.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

These barely look like wings. They're practically flat, and are barely longer than a person.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A North American F-86 Sabre. This is the "L" Interceptor variant.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Entering service in 1960, the F-4 is a lot bigger of an aircraft than the F-86 or F-104 it sits next to.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

You need a lot of air going in to get enough thrust for Mach 2.2.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Running along the bottom of the F-4 you can see the tailhook.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The well-used tailhook.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A pair of GE J79s sat in here originally.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I'd always wondered what these looked like up close.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

These sure had to deal with a lot of heat.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I admit, I didn't recognize this one, and I'm pretty good. Have a guess. It'd be easier to identify if you saw it from above or below.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The F-102 was the first all-weather supersonic jet interceptor.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Entering the second hanger you're greeted by this F-111.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Yet another detail I'd been curious about. The F-111 has variable-sweep wings. Here's where the wings meet the body. Not exactly exciting, but I hadn't seen it up close before.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The F-111 was introduced in 1964, and retired from the United States Air Force in 1998. Not a bad run. The Royal Australian Air Force, where this one served, used them until 2010.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The F-111 is a big, heavy aircraft, which needs a heavy-duty undercarriage.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

An actual MiG-21. This one originally served in Serbia.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Remove Before Flight indeed.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The MiG-21's air cone regulates airflow to the engine, and is movable depending on the airspeed.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

No ladder here. I had to reach up to get the camera this view of the MiG-21's cockpit. In the distance is the back of a B-52 nose cone (which we'll get to later).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The newer the fighters get, it seems the larger they get too. Here's the mean-looking F-15.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Any children of the '70s and '80s who didn't have a poster of one of these on their wall? This beast seems bigger than the B-25.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The F-14 was in service for 32 years. This F-14 is one of only 37 "D" variants that wasn't converted from an earlier version.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Not sure why I was so fascinated with the tailhooks. Probably because I hadn't seen them up close before.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Such a huge, but gorgeous, aircraft.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The tailerons on the F-14 are roughly the same size as the entire wing of the F-104.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

This is where the front wheel assembly of the F-14 sits when in flight. Look at all those tubes and wires.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The complexity of the F-14 is amazing.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The tiny Northrop F-5. While most fighters of this era (like the F-15 and F-14) are massive, the F-5 is positively tiny.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

It almost looks a like a kit plane, but the performance was supposed to be incredible (being so small and light).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Chuck Yeager loved the later version of this plane, the nearly identical looking F-20.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Two GE J85 turbojets, designed originally for missiles.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

There's some joke about helicopters that they're "millions of parts flying roughly in formation." I worked at a flight school for airplane pilots, and they might have biased me a bit on this...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The massive Sikorsky CH-53 D Sea Stallion. I think you could fit the F-5 inside this thing (if you could fold the wings).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The six main rotors of the CH-53D fold back for easier storage on ships.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

This D variant CH-53 can carry up to 55 soldiers.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

When this is printed on every seat, you know what, I think you should follow its advice.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

This is a view from the SH-3 Sea King, which I didn't actually get an exterior picture of. Oops. In the foreground is a Seahawk, which we'll get to.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Not quite as big as the Sea Stallion, the Sea King could still carry 28 soldiers.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Not much of a view from the SH-3's tiny side widow. You can see the big air intake of the CH-53 though.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The cockpit of the SH-3 Sea King. Yes, had I been able to sit down there, I would have played with all the knobs. Like you wouldn't.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The Navy's version of the Army's famous Blackhawk, the SH-60 Seahawk.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

No cupholders?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Weapons control console, presumably. A lot of stuff missing. Makes you wonder what cool stuff they took out.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I admit, I'm stumped. Any idea what these are? I'll show you the outside too. This is inside the Seahawk. At first I thought they were air or fuel tanks (given their shape and the hoses). But wait till you see the outside...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

So...sonar buoys launched with compressed air?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

They're about 3 feet deep. If you know what these are, please post a comment below.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Yet another '70s and '80s icon, the AH-1 Cobra.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The core components of the AH-1 are shared with the Huey, which brings us to...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois. The Huey.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Well worn.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

How many movies have featured this helicopter?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The rather amusing looking Sikorsky HH-34J Choctaw. I like these. They're very functional looking.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I'd always wondered how the pilots got up to the cockpit. I'd figured stairs or something. Nope. They climb up, and fold down their seat. The opening on the right has the seat up -- the square on the left opening is the seat. So basically while you're flying, you're also perched 6 feet from the deck of your own craft.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Seems like there was storage space through that hatch.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The MiG-15 is one of the most widely produced aircraft ever.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

One last view of Hanger 79. They have plans to create scenes for different planes, like the other hanger.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The B-52 is an incredible aircraft. It's on track to be in continuous service for 100 years before it's retired. Just the nose of one at the PAM.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Unless you're pretty short, there's no room to stand upright up here on the B-52's flight deck.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Even worse down here. Not much of a view either...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

An actual Norden bombsight.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I have a car one of these would fit on quite nicely.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Hanger 79 also houses a full restoration shop where they bring planes back to life (or at least to museum quality). This B-17, for instance, was recovered from a swamp. The parts are arranged outside.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The various parts of a B-17 awaiting restoration.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

There's a lot of history here, and well worth the trip to visit. There are actually three museums (four if you count the elaborate visitor's center). The USS Bowfin submarine is docked right next to the visitor's center. A shuttle bus takes you over to Ford Island, where you can tour, as I did, the USS Missouri. The Pacific Aviation Museum is next to this legendary tower.

And then, of course, you can head over to the USS Arizona Memorial.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison
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