2014 Event Review

Pacific Aviation Museum visit
Location: Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Admission: Adult: $25, Child: 4-12 $12, see website for additional details
Parking: Off-base, shuttles provided
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: N/A not an air show
 
the Commanding Officer
Douglas SBD Dauntless

The mission of the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is “to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on Ford Island that educates young and old alike, honors aviators and their support personnel who defended freedom in the Pacific Region and preserves Pacific aviation history.” One couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate location to house the museum than the hangars on Ford Island. The 441-acre island is located in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii and the hangars which house the museum’s collections are themselves veterans of the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor.

Because the museum is located on an active military base, visitors are transported by shuttle buses, which leave from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center every 15 minutes. The tour begins at Hangar 37, a former seaplane hangar, with a short movie that presents the history of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The rest of the building is filled with descriptive exhibits and life-sized dioramas fleshing out this history with authentic artifacts and period aircraft. The first such display is that of a Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Type 0 Zero as it would have appeared on the deck of the Japanese carrier Hiryu at dawn on December 7th. Hanging from the rafters is an Aeronca Model 65TC, just as it circled above Pearl Harbor on that fateful morning. Across the way is a Curtiss P-40E Warhawk, the aircraft type which George S. Welch and Kenneth Taylor, both second lieutenants in the U.S. Army Air Corps taking off from nearby Haleiwa Field, used to defend against the attackers. They were officially credited with downing seven enemy aircraft. The story of America’s slow but inexorable drive across the Pacific is told in a number of additional dioramas depicting Doolittle’s Raid on Tokyo (North American B-25B Mitchell), the Battle of Midway (Douglas SBD Dauntless) and the “Cactus Air Force” on Guadalcanal (Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat).

During World War II Hangar 79 was a maintenance and engine repair facility, filled with fighters, bombers and patrol aircraft. The hangar doors’ blue glass windows are still riddled with bullet holes left by the Japanese attack. Today, it showcases the jets and helicopters that represent the history of Pacific aviation since the end of the Second World War. Over two dozen aircraft are on display. Korean War adversaries, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot and the North American Aviation F-86E Sabrejet are paired up in a nice MiG Alley diorama. Elsewhere their Vietnam War counterparts, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed and the McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II, can be found. A new addition is an ex-Hawaii ANG McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle, since replaced at Hickam Field by the F-22 Raptor. The latest addition is a Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knight, retired just last year.

Although the exhibits are very well documented, it is worth every penny to sign up for the Aviator’s Tour. Veteran docents take you behind the scenes on an in-depth, personalized tour through the hangars and the restoration shop. Our guide, Ron Murashige, is a founding volunteer, and he did an exceptional job of pointing out noteworthy exhibits and answering all of our many aviation-related questions. Many thanks for the tour! Unfortunately the historic Ford Island Control Tower was closed for repairs. I look forward to returning to climb its stairs and look out over Pearl Harbor.

More information about the museum can be found at http://www.pacificaviationmuseum.org/

(Note: The visit was in 2014, while the images and event posting was in 2015)

Aircraft on display include:
Hangar 37
Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Type 0
Aeronca Model 65TC
Douglas SBD Dauntless
Boeing N2S-3 Stearman
North American B-25B Mitchell
Curtiss P-40E Warhawk
Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat
Hangar 79
Curtiss P-40E Warhawk
Douglas SBD Dauntless
Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter
Grumman F-14D Tomcat
McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle
McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II
General Dynamics F-111C Aardvark
North American Aviation F-86E Sabre
North American Aviation F-86L Sabre
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed
Convair F102A Delta Dagger
Lockheed F-104A Starfighter
North American F-100F Super Sabre
Lockheed T-33 (T-Bird) Shooting Star
North American T-6 Texan
Bell UH-1 Iroquois
Bell AH-1 Cobra
Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knight
Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk
Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King
Sikorsky CH-53 D Sea Stallion
Sikorsky HH-34J Choctaw
Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress “Swamp Ghost”
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Nose Section
Douglas A3D/NTA-3B Skywarrior
 
Report and photography by Norman A. Graf for The Aviation Magazine

Click on image to start a slide show

Douglas SBD Dauntless by The Aviation Magazine
 
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