Located in Chino, California, just east of Los Angeles, the Planes of Fame Air Museum has a fascinating mix of propeller and jet aircraft. For instance, this is the only flyable Boeing P-26 Peashooter in the world, and it was restored here at the museum.
For more about the museum and this tour, check out Heroes of TV shows and movies can still fly at Planes of Fame Museum.
This is the super rare Seversky P-35, aka the AT-12 Guardsman. Most ended up as fast transport aircraft, like this one, which was stationed in Denver. It's the only flyable AT-12 in the world.
The P-47 was a beast, with a powerful radial engine, eight 50-cal. machine guns, and the ability to carry rockets or bombs.
This F4U Corsair was built in 1943 and saw action in the Pacific. Restored at the museum, it's the oldest airworthy Corsair in the world.
On the right is a rare bird, a P-51C. If you see a P-51 in a museum it's almost always the later D variant.
This "C" is named Boise Bee, and is airworthy.
The far more common D-variant of the P-51 is most recognizable by its bubble canopy. This one was built in 1944 and was a successful air racer after the war.
This example never saw combat, but was instead used as a trainer after the war.
A long, narrow hangar houses some airplanes that served, or would have served, on aircraft carriers, like this F9F Panther.
One of the rarest, and weirdest, aircraft I've seen at a museum, this is the Ryan FR Fireball. It's one of the only fighter aircraft to use both piston/propeller and a turbojet. The jet's intakes were in the wing next to the fuselage. It could run on either, or both, engines. This is the only survivor of the 66 built.
The A-1 Skyraider was designed during WWII, and despite being propeller-powered it served the US Navy in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
The Skyraider had many characteristics that made it useful in the Jet Age, including long range, low-speed maneuverability and armor against ground fire.
This humble aircraft may not look like much, but it brings back memories for me. My first real job was working dispatch for a flight school at a sleepy little municipal airport. The company's main claim to fame was having a Ryan Navion, like this one, available to rent. One spring day there was an issue and the pilot had to ditch. Everyone on board was OK but the plane was wrecked. The business soon went belly up and the owner skipped town in the middle of the night, owing the entire airport staff money -- including about six weeks of my back wages. So it goes.
The front end of the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk looks like that of a helicopter. Originally designed as an unarmed observation aircraft, it was later adapted to carry some weaponry.
This gorgeous F7F-3 Tigercat is airworthy. Though designed and flown in WWII, it never saw combat in that war. A few years later it did during the Korean War. The small frontal area gave it great speed.
Though this one has a traditional bomb bay, many Tigercats were converted to water bombers after leaving military service.
The museum's other airworthy P-51D, Dolly.
Dolly has been owned by the owner of the museum since 1957. It has been maintained in flying condition ever since.
The museum has its own restoration shop on site, and has restored many of the planes here.
The museum has a small boneyard as a sort of holding area for aircraft awaiting restoration.
A Lockheed C-60 Lodestar. While a strong performer, it was expensive to maintain and only a fraction were built compared to the ubiquitous C-47.
This big-bellied two-seater is the T-2 Buckeye, a fairly common Navy trainer that you don't see very often in museums.
An FJ-3 Fury awaiting restoration (or maybe just a new coat of paint). This one's in pretty good shape.
The museum has a handful of land vehicles as well, like this Sherman tank that has been used in movies and commercials.
The F-84F Thunderstreak. The most obvious change over its same-numbered predecessor is the swept-back wings.
Despite the garb, this is a Post-war Swiss Pilatus P-2. This one is airworthy, so perhaps it's dressed like this for a movie role.
This is the only flyable Mitsubishi Zero with its original Japanese engine in the world. This example was first stationed on Iwo Jima, and then later on Saipan, where it was captured by the US. It was used as an evaluation aircraft by the Navy and was flown by many pilots, including Charles Lindbergh. Later it was flown in Japan for demonstration flights, the only Zero to do so after the war. It also appeared in the movies Tora, Tora, Tora and Pearl Harbor.
This gondola was used as part of two different Goodyear Blimps, the Spirit of America and the Enterprise.
Blimps were used in WWII, and many of the hangars used to store them are still standing. One in Oregon is now home to the Tillamook Air Museum, which is an incredible building with some cool aircraft. We did a full tour which you can check out in Ghost blimps haunt a humongous hangar at the Tillamook Air Museum.
Not a replica, an actual Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden. These were land-based but used by the Japanese Navy, and were designed by the same engineer that designed the more famous Zero. This is the only surviving example in the world.
Though it looks like a model of an Me-163 rocket-powered interceptor, this is the Mitsubishi J8M, the Japanese version. This is one of two remaining examples, and the only one outside of Japan.
This is the fuselage of Lucky Lady II, a B-50 that was the first aircraft to circle the globe nonstop (thanks to midair refueling, of course).
This F-100D was converted to to be an unmanned target drone, and in that role it sustained damage from an air-to-air missile fired from an F-15.
This is actually the first Douglas Skyrocket. The second one built was the first aircraft to break Mach 2. Still, an impressively rare and historic aircraft.
The museum's B-17 is usually open on weekends if you want a look inside. There are also certain days when the museum flies some of their aircraft.
The Planes of Fame isn't huge, but definitely has an impressive collection of rare, restored and flyable aircraft.
Even better, you can hit two great museums in one trip to Chino. On the other side of the airport is the Yanks Air Museum, with its fascinating boneyard.
Check out more about this tour and the museum in Heroes of TV shows and movies can still fly at Planes of Fame Museum.