Open to the public, the museum doors open at 9 a.m.
The theme for July 6 is the “Flying Tigers/AVG”, featuring the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Featured speakers will present on the topic. Following the presentation, the P-40 will perform a demonstration flight. The Member Sponsored raffle flight will be in the P-40!
Claire Lee Chennault recruited U.S. Army Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy pilots to form the American Volunteer Group, which he commanded during World War II. They became known as the Flying Tigers, famous for mission accomplishments in the early days of the Pacific war as a part of the Chinese Air Force against the Japanese.
They ran up an extremely impressive record flying their recognizable shark-faced P-40s, which were not as maneuverable as the aircraft types flown by the enemy. Almost 300 Japanese aircraft were shot down by the Flying Tigers, while losing only 14 pilots of their own.
The P-40 is most widely known, as the mount of the Flying Tigers. The P-40 was built in a number of variants, sold to several foreign air forces, and operated under a plethora of names. Various engine and armament variations were tried, and the airframe was variously stretched and shrunken in different models. It was known as the Warhawk to the USAAF, while the Commonwealth countries called the early versions Tomahawks and the later versions Kittyhawks.
The museum’s aircraft is a Kittyhawk IV (equivalent to the P-40N in USAAF service), flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force. This was the most widely produced variant of the P-40, with the later models incorporating six O.50-caliber machine guns in the wings. It is painted in 14th Air Force markings.
This airplane is also one of our few actual combat veterans, having shot down a Japanese balloon bomb off British Columbia. Balloon bombs were launched from the home islands of Japan, and following the jet stream were to crash-land in the western U.S. and Canada, starting forest fires. The bombs had very limited success.
The Planes of Fame Air Museum, founded in 1957 by Edward Maloney, is where aviation history lives. It is the oldest independently operated aviation museum in the United States.
The museum collection spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the space age Apollo Capsule. The mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The museum sponsors regular events in the form of inspirational experiences, educational presentations, flight demonstrations, and air shows in fulfillment of this mission.