Way out in Chino California is a General Aviation airport that has one of the coolest collections of old planes you’ll ever see! Nathan and I had talked about visiting Planes of Fame, so today we headed out past the madness of LA to dusty valley of the Inland Empire to see some living aviation history.
Upon arriving we were happily greeted by this Lovely B-17!
Nathan told me that Kismet has been roasting in the California sun for the past decade, but is on the path to be restored and eventually become airworthy. I hope she flies again soon! I also got to go inside and see the little radio station. The impressive stance of this bomber doesn’t really quite convey just how thin the sheet metal is that protects you from the outside. You really are in a flying tin can!
The museum is a series of hangars with an absolutely dizzying array of aircraft. A lot of which are flyable. I particularly love this P-51 appropriately christened “Spam Can”. I’ve been around a few cans of spam in my life and I can confirm, a mustangs’ airframe is probably built out of the same material.
I think the two aircrafts on the top left are trainers. There’s an elongated cockpit for a Pilot and an instructor to sit in.
They also had a few vehicles too. Here is Nathan in front of a Rolls Royce!
Its nice to see living breathing flying planes, but the plane junkyard outside was a truly magical experience. Perhaps some will one day fly again, perhaps others are not worth saving. If airframes were sentient, would they even want to fly again? This brings up a lot of questions about the rights of planes.
A Sherman and and and Old B-50 fuselage also silently listened while Nathan remarked about their features.
I noticed a very special hanger at the edge of a complex. A very recognizable yellow turbine just peaking out from behind the doors told me this was a very important plane.
A real P-38 Lighting! And She’s airworthy too! This flying symbol of allied airpower has her own hanger and is adorned with stories of her wartime achievements. I had seen this particular plane online a few times, and I was excited to meet her in person. I love the olive paint and the yellow highlights, The two huge booms each tipped with an absolutely massive propeller. She goes by the name of 23 Skidoo!
A few months ago I was so inspired by the shape of these planes I drew a little retro sci-fi version of it! based on Skidoo!
Outside was absolutely baking, but it was nice to be able to stand further away and get these shots. I like being able to capture the whole subject with out the distortion of a wide angle lens. Also note that I color corrected these photos to try and convey the sheer temperature these planes were baking at.
You can’t ignore the Soviet and Japanese contributions to aviation either. Here we Got a chance to see a real Mig and a Zero up close! I like these two almost kissing Mitsubishis. And if you look closely at the Mig cockpit, You can see the venerable hammer and sickle from the tail behind it.
This plane looks straight out of Water World, and that’s because it is actually a Messerschmitt 109 that was salvaged from a lake. Years of water corrosion on the metal have turned it into a haunting zombie of its former self. I had to get a picture in front of it because its just so crazy looking.
How small do you like your planes? Because they have tons of little model planes too! Including some bombers and a terrifying scene of German V1 being launched. The model looks cute, but the infamous buzz bomb was horrific reality for the people of England.
Thanks to my friend Nathan for visiting with me (he was the one who took the photos of me!) , I got a chance to learn a ton and take some super cool photos! I think we have loose plans to visit the Blackbird airpark next. So hopefully I will soon get a touch a real SR-71!