These fabulous fliers at the Planes of Fame museum want to live forever

Starring in numerous TV shows and movies, most of the rare and incredible aircraft at the Planes of Fame Museum can still fly. Here's a look at their amazing collection.

Geoffrey Morrison
1 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Planes of Fame

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.

2 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fast transport

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.

3 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

British thunder

This P-47 is flyable, and spent some time at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, shortly before we visited

4 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Ground attack

The P-47 was a beast, with a powerful radial engine, eight 50-cal. machine guns, and the ability to carry rockets or bombs.

5 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Oldest Corsair

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.

6 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


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. 

7 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This "C" is named Boise Bee, and is airworthy.

8 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


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.

9 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The iconic B-17. The museum is restoring this one to flight-worthy status.

10 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This example never saw combat, but was instead used as a trainer after the war.

11 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


It was briefly a TV star, appearing in Twelve O'Clock High as the airplane Piccadilly Lilly.

12 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Carrier life

A long, narrow hangar houses some airplanes that served, or would have served, on aircraft carriers, like this F9F Panther.

13 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Ultimate oddball

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. 

14 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Midcentury raider

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.

15 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Slow and sturdy

The Skyraider had many characteristics that made it useful in the Jet Age, including long range, low-speed maneuverability and armor against ground fire. 

16 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Foldiest Avenger

This is the GM-built Grumman TBM Avenger. It was restored to flight-worthy status at the museum.

17 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


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.

18 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Nice Mohawk

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.

19 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Flying tiger

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.

20 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Bombs of water

Though this one has a traditional bomb bay, many Tigercats were converted to water bombers after leaving military service.

21 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Hello, Dolly

The museum's other airworthy P-51D, Dolly. 

22 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

One owner

Dolly has been owned by the owner of the museum since 1957. It has been maintained in flying condition ever since.   

23 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Big Mitch

The museum's airworthy B-25 Mitchell undergoes some maintenance. 

24 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Another star

This is another of the museum's aircraft that has starred in movies and TV shows like Forever Young, Pearl Harbor and Catch-22 (the new one). 

25 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Resto shop

The museum has its own restoration shop on site, and has restored many of the planes here.

26 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A Spitfire, parts of one anyway, used in the movie Dunkirk.

27 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The museum has a small boneyard as a sort of holding area for aircraft awaiting restoration. 

28 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


The wingless fuselage of a Hispano HA-200.

29 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Camo star

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. 

30 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Tubby buck

This big-bellied two-seater is the T-2 Buckeye, a fairly common Navy trainer that you don't see very often in museums. 

31 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


A sun-bleached Skyhawk

32 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


I'm pretty sure that's the nose of a Convair 240.

33 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


An FJ-3 Fury awaiting restoration (or maybe just a new coat of paint). This one's in pretty good shape.

34 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Sherman star

The museum has a handful of land vehicles as well, like this Sherman tank that has been used in movies and commercials.

35 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Desert thunder

The F-84F Thunderstreak. The most obvious change over its same-numbered predecessor is the swept-back wings.

36 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fake German

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. 

37 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Famous and flyable Zero

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.

38 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This Yak-3 was painted to represent the Normandie-Niemen which flew with the Russians on the Eastern Front against the Nazis.

39 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Flying Fw

This Fw 190 is a replica, but it's a flying replica. 

40 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Captured Heinkel

This is an actual Heinkel He 162, captured at the end of WWII and flight-tested at Muroc AFB.

41 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This gondola was used as part of two different Goodyear Blimps, the Spirit of America and the Enterprise.

42 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Gondola goodies

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

43 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


One of only two Yokosuka D4Y Suisei, aka Judy, dive bombers. This one was found engineless in the early '90s, and during restoration had a Pratt & Whitney R-1830 installed.

44 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


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.

45 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Japanese German

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.

46 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Famous 50

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). 

47 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Damaged drone

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.

48 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Dr. Sam Beckett

This isn't an actual X-2, but a replica built for the pilot of the TV show Quantum Leap.

49 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Fly like lightning

The museum's home-restored and flyable P-38 gets its own hangar, and as it should. It's immaculate.

50 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Polish MiG

A MiG-17 built under license in Poland, where it was called a Lim-5.

51 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


This MiG-21 flew with the Czech Air Force.

52 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Gnice Gnat

The Folland Gnat, a British jet trainer from the '60s and '70s. 

53 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Sky rockets in flight

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.

54 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


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.

55 of 55 Geoffrey Morrison/CNET


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.

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play in 2021

40 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
Meet the new 2022 Honda Civic Si sedan

More Galleries

Meet the new 2022 Honda Civic Si sedan

25 Photos
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

More Galleries

2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro has rugged style and hybrid power

74 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

63 Photos
2021 Ford F-150 Tremor: Tough looks, easy livability

More Galleries

2021 Ford F-150 Tremor: Tough looks, easy livability

74 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos