Restoration {hardware} within the sky: Historic planes of the Yanks Air Museum


After I was a child, three fashions of fighter jet dominated the media. The enduring F-14 was immortalized in Prime Gun. Then there’s Iron Eagle and its F-16. Its three (!) sequels had been watchable in that “Blockbuster at 9:30 on a Friday night time pick-something or we’re leaving” manner. And so far as the F-15 goes, I hope everybody who wished one was in a position to have Starscream … or no less than Chief-1.

At present the F-14 is retired, however the F-15 and -16 are nonetheless broadly in service. Whereas many museums have some and even all of those plane of their collections, it is uncommon to see all of them subsequent to one another. The toys of my youth, full-size. 

I am exploring the Yanks Air Museum, in Chino, California. It features a full restoration store that rebuilds and restores basic plane. Most of the planes on the museum had been restored on web site. Much more superb, most of those plane are nonetheless flyable. Here is a go searching.

Plane of everybody’s youth

I’ve seen F-16s at different museums earlier than, however its two contemporaries put its diminutive measurement in sharp aid. To provide you a tough concept, the F-16 is sort of a compact automotive sitting subsequent to the Mack-truck-esque F-15 and even bigger F-14.

Earlier than you get to the jets, nonetheless, there’s the Legends hanger, the place propeller plane from the daybreak of flight by means of WWII sit in fantastically restored type. In one other uncommon pairing, there’s even an early P-51 Mustang subsequent to a late-model P-51 Mustang. It is superb to see how quickly the design progressed throughout the battle. As soon as you’ve got had your fill of biplanes and gyrocopters and medium-size bombers, you head to the Starfighter hanger, with myriad jets from the tip of WWII to the fashionable period. There’s just a few extra WWII plane in right here, together with an SBD Dauntless, a P-40, and even a Wildcat constructed by Common Motors.

Subsequent I proceed over to the Restoration hangar. A half dozen restorers are working diligently on a number of WWII-era plane. This can be a sluggish course of; one restored P-39 took 9 years to finish. Discovering items is at all times a problem, as you’d count on. Most of the plane they restore right here transcend stunning museum items. They get restored all the best way to being airworthy once more.

Out again is one other gem of this museum: a boneyard. Partially full plane sit within the solar, ready for his or her time to be restored to their former glory. It is one of many few boneyards you’ll be able to really stroll by means of unsupervised. We did an entire separate story on that, and took a bunch of images.

Protectors of the previous

Chino is not an extended drive from Los Angeles. Even higher, the drive will allow you to tour Yanks Air Museum, the boneyard and an entire different air museum on the alternative facet of the airport. That one’s known as the Planes of Fame, and we have a full tour of that coming quickly.

So far as Yanks goes, I like to recommend timing your go to throughout one among their particular occasions. A number of occasions a month they’re going to have issues like cockpit excursions of a few of their plane. Air museums are nice, however having the ability to see inside these stunning beasts is an entire different expertise.    

However for now, try the galleries above to see all of the arduous work the knowledgeable restoration staff has put into these basic and historic plane.


In addition to protecting TV and different show tech, Geoff does picture excursions of cool museums and areas all over the world together with nuclear submarines, large plane carriers, medieval castles, airplane graveyards and extra. 

You possibly can comply with his exploits on Instagram, Twitter, and on his journey weblog BaldNomad. He additionally wrote a bestselling sci-fi novel. 





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