Every year, hundreds of airshows and flight demonstrations take place across the United States, showcasing the glory of aviation’s past. With so many choices available to enthusiasts wishing to see history come alive and take wing, we decided to provide our readers with a highlighted selection of museums and private organizations that preserve, restore, and fly classic military aircraft from every era since the dawn of fight. Some operate out of a home location, but many tour around the country to airshows—national and regional—bringing that glorious history to us. Some even offer rides in these exquisitely restored and preserved warbirds. This is by no means a comprehensive list—or even a ranking in the conventional sense. Rather, we’re offering a cross-section of some of the collections that maintain airworthy warbirds so that you can find a nearby location and experience these extraordinary machines in person.
FLIGHT TEAMS & ORGANIZATIONS
AMERICAN AIRPOWER MUSEUM
Farmingdale, NY | americanairpowermuseum.com
Located on the grounds of Republic Airport in the town of Farmingdale, New York, the American Airpower Museum might seem oddly situated by today’s standards, sitting as it does on Long Island, just a scant 30 miles from the heart of New York City. But during World War II the site was home to Republic Aviation, where more than 9,000 copies of the burly Republic P-47 Thunderbolt rolled off the assembly line and onto the very runways where the museum now stands. More than a dozen warbirds spanning WW II through the Vietnam era are on display in and around the museum's hangar. In addition, the museum offers a Flight Experience (ride) in some of its restored aircraft, including a T-6 Texan trainer, a WACO biplane, and a D-Day reenactment in its C-47 Skytrain.
CLASS OF '45
The Class of ’45 is unlike most of the other organizations on this list in that it is built around just two aircraft: the F4U-4 Corsair known as Korean War Hero, and a P-51D Mustang named Quick Silver. Both planes were built in 1945 (hence the name), and according to the founders, the idea for Class of ’45 came about when the pilots of the Corsair and Mustang (Jim Tobul and Scott Yoak, respectively) were watching practice flights at the 2013 Wings over North Georgia event. They had a stroke of inspiration—why not perform a formation flight together to honor the history of both the planes themselves and the Air Force and Navy personnel who originally flew and maintained them! Since then, the inspiration has expanded to formation demonstrations at more than a dozen events per season, where fans of these immaculately prepared warbirds can see them in all their glory.
COLLINGS FOUNDATION WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR
Hudson, MA | collingsfoundation.org
The mission statement of the Collings Foundation emphasizes the organization’s focus on promoting living history and direct participation as a means of learning and appreciating our nation’s history. It’s hard to imagine a more visceral form of living history than feeling the thrum of powerful engines as a beautifully restored warbird swoops past—unless it’s experiencing those same sensations from inside the aircraft during one of the flight experiences that are a centerpiece of the Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour! They offer flightline walking tours aboard the B-24 Liberator, and individual one-on-one instruction at the sticks of a dual-control P-51 Mustang. As 2020 progresses, the Collings Foundation will be adding more locations and flight opportunities.
COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE AIRPOWER HISTORY TOUR
Fort Worth, TX | airpowersquadron.org
Don’t have an aviation museum near you? No problem! In many areas the CAF will bring one to you and set it up on the runway of your local municipal airport. That’s the idea behind the AirPower History Tour, which includes an impressive squadron of vintage military aircraft to explore firsthand, and you can even take a ride in some of them. The lineup varies from event to event, but the fleet includes a PT-13 Stearman open biplane; a T-6 Texan; the famous P-51D Mustang, Gunfighter; and two rare and exceptional bombers: the B-24A Liberator known as Diamond Lil, and what the CAF bills as “the World's Most Famous Flying B-29 Superfortress,” known as Fifi. For 2020, the tour has more than a dozen stops at local airports and big air shows around the country, and when the bombers are not on tour they can also be visited at CAF’s home base, the Vintage Flying Museum, on the grounds of Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE TORA TORA TORA AIR SHOWS
Morton, IL | toratoratora.com
The CAF describes the Tora Tora Tora show as a living history lesson, as the group recreates Japan’s attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The show began in 1972 with six of the replicas used in the 1970 motion picture, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and has grown to include eight to ten aircraft in most appearances, comprised of Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters, Nakajima B5N “Kate” torpedo bombers, Aichi D3A "Val" bombers, and Curtiss P-36 Hawk fighters. Some select shows also include a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. CAF has been recruited to work on numerous documentaries, and in 2000 they returned to Hollywood feature film duty for Disney’s blockbuster, Pearl
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
YELLOW SCORPIONS - P-51 Mustangs rule the skies in China
Using Chinese airfields, the 311th Fighter Group was the first to take World War II to the Japanese. The 311th’s 530th Fighter Squadron, which became known as the “Yellow Scorpions,” was the first squadron based in China. During their combat tour, they flew A-36 dive bombers along with all versions of the P-51 (A, B, C and D). However, it was their expertise with P-51 B and C models that earned them the respect of Japanese pilots.
WACO “Super Sport” S3HD - A Golden Age king
The WACO “Super Sport” S3HD is often referred to as the “King of the WACO biplanes.” Built as only one example, it is the stuff of legends.
SPITFIRE WITH A PUNCH - ROYAL AIR FORCE FIGHTER IN POLISH COLORS
Squadron Leader Clive Rowley, MBE RAF (Ret.), a former officer commanding the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, tells the story behind the latest color scheme for the Flight’s Spitfire Mk XVI TE311.
F-35B LIGHTNING II SEMPER FI
The JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) program is synonymous with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which ultimately won the competition against Boeing and its X-32. The JSF plan was to have a similar new fighter for the U.S. Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy and U.S. allies: Build a bunch and keep the price tag down. It has been a success story since then.
DEFENDER OF THE REICH WW II as seen by a Luftwaffe Ace
Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was in rare form, his eyes full of fire as he faced one of the better known of Germany’s aces, Oberst Walther Dahl. “Göring’s reply astonished even me,” Dahl remembered. “In the presence of pilots with heads, arms and legs in plaster, he yelled: ‘You cowards! Now I know why your Geschwader holds the record for parachute jumps: you jump so as not to fight.’
P-38 Legend Robin Olds
SOUTH PACIFIC WARRIOR
A rare combat Mustang
Supermarine Spitfire Elliptical Elegance
Showing off the flowing curves of a jaguar ready to pounce, a Spitfire snugs in close, its pilot a picture of concentration as he carefully places the airplane exactly where he wants. It’s a timeless image of a timeless design.
THE BEST WWII FIGHTERS
Which was number one?
By the time this limited-production high-performance version of Maj. Michael Jackson’s Teddy was photographed in early spring 1945 at Boxted, the 56th FG had been operating with Thunderbolts for almost three years. Initially constituted in November 1940 as the 56th Pursuit Group, with three Squadrons (61st, 62nd and 63rd) operating a mix of training aircraft and basing, they were posted in scattered locations in defense of New York City in early 1942. With the 63rd actually based at Republic’s Farmingdale factory, it was a natural for the 56th to be tapped to be the premier Thunderbolt unit in May 1942.
STATES ARE FINALLY REVOKING COPS' LICENSE TO STEAL
A RECENT FLURRY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY SUGGESTS WHY FORFEITURE REFORM SUCCEEDS—AND WHY IT FAILS.
IS THERE A POST-WORKOUT
ANABOLIC WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY?
AVIATION'S LIVING HISTORY
The museums and tours that are keeping warbirds alive and aloft!
FASHION STREET STYLE MAKING THE BLOGS!
You don’t have to tune in on Fashion TV to catch the most fashionable people strutting their style on the runway when all you have to do is simply go out and watch all the people who are making the streets their own fashion runway.
Cofee Lover o ¿por qué amamos el café?
Es casi un mantra escuchar a todo el mundo decir que un buen café es la energía para empezar el día. Sí, es fácil preferir lo y te decimos por qué.
Robots Out Of Work As Automated Businesses Close In Bay Area
It has been a bad week for robots in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Great Coffee Shouldn't Cost The Earth
Caffeine’s editor-at-large Tim Ridley explains how to lower the environmental impact of your coffee-drinking habit
The Future Of Decaf?
A US company claims its pouch extracts caffeine without harming flavour
While You’re Hanging Your Stockings By The Chimney With Care, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Are Criss-crossing The Country With Their Deluxe Yuletide-themed, Prog-rock Extravaganza. In This Exclusive Interview, Guitarists (And Musical Directors) Chris Caffery And Al Pitrelli Talk Tso And Touring Christmas Eve And Other Stories
30 años contra la estética del rock
Café Tacvba ha mostrado diferentes caras a lo largo de su vida, emociones que han alcanzado el éxito y otras que lo han llevado a la reflexión